Replacing Brent Pease as offensive coordinator

Updated on Dec. 23 at 10:00 a.m.

It was no surprise on Sunday afternoon when the Florida Gators fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease after his unit averaged just 18.8 points and 316.7 yards per game in 2013. But who head coach Will Muschamp will hire to replace Pease – and become Florida’s fifth offensive coordinator in a seven-year span – remains a huge unknown. OnlyGators.com has compiled a list of potential candidates:

Clay Helton
Interim head coach / offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – USC
Update II added on Dec. 23 at 10 a.m.

Hire him: Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com floated Helton’s name on Sunday because he fits with Muschamp’s core beliefs of “ball control and an emphasis on running the ball.” Helton also has a family coaching connection with current Western Kentucky offensive line coach Neil Callaway, who has been rumored to be Muschamp’s top choice to replace Tim Davis. Callaway, a 33-year coaching veteran and the former head coach at UAB, hired Clay’s father Kim Helton as his offensive coordinator in 2007. Kim was a Gators offensive lineman from 1967-69 and UF offensive line coach from 1973-78. Clay was born in Gainesville, FL.

Update: Helton has committed to remain at USC through its bowl game and serve as interim head coach following the departure of Ed Orgeron. Florida leaked Tuesday that it may not make a hire until after the bowl season.

Update II: Helton was retained as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. However, he has not officially signed a new contract and UF has not hired anyone just yet.

Hold up: There does not seem to be much of a solid connection specifically to Muschamp, and the hire would be curious because Florida’s head coach supposedly wants to go in a different direction with his offense. The Trojans may also retain Ed Orgeron as head coach, and Orgeron could certainly make an offer to Helton in hopes that he sticks around to help lead the offense for the foreseeable future. He would probably be the least-exciting hire, which probably makes him the most likely one.

Major Applewhite
Co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – Texas
Added on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.

Hire him: At just 35 years old, the former Longhorns quarterback has spent the last six years with his alma mater after stints at Syracuse, Rice and Alabama. On the same staff as Muschamp from 2008-10, the Gators’ head coach saw Applewhite co-coordinate an offense that finished 11th, 11th…and then 74th in total offense during his three years with the program. Things have not been better over the last few years with Applewhite’s unit finishing 50th, 37th and 64th, respectively, though Mack Brown has shouldered much of the blame for Texas’s problems. The familiarity is undoubtedly there.

Hold up: OnlyGators.com erroneously reported that Applewhite would be Florida’s offensive coordinator in 2011 after Muschamp was hired. A source close to the program explained that he was the top candidate on the new coach’s list at the time. Instead, out of nowhere, Charlie Weis was hired. One year later, after Weis left, Muschamp had a second chance to hire Applewhite away from Texas but instead linked up with Pease. He has now had two opportunities to bring him aboard but chosen not to do so. Why would it be different this time? Just because he could potentially lose his job due to a staff change?


Tim Beck
Offensive coordinator, Nebraska
Added on Dec. 20 at 1:15 p.m.

Hire him: A lifelong offensive assistant from the same hometown as Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin (Youngstown, OH), Beck could find himself unemployed if the Cornhuskers make a head coaching change. The Central Florida graduate is in the process of finishing his sixth season in Nebraska, third as offensive coordinator. The Huskers averaged nearly 30 points per game in his first season at the helm of the offense, 34.8 points per game in 2012 (28th nationally) and 32.6 points per game in 2013 (46th nationally). At Kansas in 2007, Beck served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator; the Jayhawks ranked 17th in passing (291.0 yards per game) and second in scoring offense (42.8 points per game).

Hold up: Beck is still employed and quite well paid after receiving a bump in salary to $700,000 in 2013. Though Bo Pelini’s future at Nebraska is certainly murky at best, if he is actually kept on as coach in 2014, Beck would likely be in the same position there as he would be at Florida under Muschamp. The difference, of course, being that the Huskers’ offense is already his while he’d be reworking the Gators’ offense from scratch. Beck was one of the highest paid assistants in college football last season and does not appear to have a direct connection to anyone on UF’s staff.

Noel Mazzone
Offensive coordinator – UCLA
Added on Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.

Hire him: Mazzone brings experience, talent and recruiting chops to the table as a coach with 33 years of coaching under his belt. He has spent nine years coaching in the SEC (all as an offensive coordinator) and most recently helped create and direct high-powered attacks at Arizona State (2010-11) and UCLA (2012-13). Mazzone gave Muschamp’s defense at LSU fits when the two squared off in 2004, and he also has some NFL coaching experience, which Muschamp values. With Jim Mora, the Bruins’ current head coach, a legitimate candidate for a possible move to Washington (where he played in college), Mazzone could be in play.

Update: Mora committed to return to UCLA, signing a new six-year contract. Though it was reported Tuesday that Muschamp had reached out to Mazzone, it would be a surprise if he did not stay alongside Mora. Then again, anything can happen, especially if UF offers a big payday.

Hold up: Though he has never served as a head coach, Mazzone is apparently being considered for a number of top jobs including the vacancy at Wake Forest. He also has no connection to Muschamp or the Florida program and has lived and coached on the West Coast most of his career (aside from his stints in the SEC).

Kurt Roper
Assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – Duke

Hire him: Muschamp likes to hire coaches with whom he is familiar, and he coached against Roper thrice from 2001-03 while Roper was offensive coordinator at Ole Miss and Muschamp (who won two of three close games) was defensive coordinator at LSU. Currently in his sixth year with the Blue Devils, Roper’s unit has been humming the last two seasons, ranking top-60 nationally in scoring and total offense each year. He has helped push Duke to the ACC Championship game for the first time in program history.

Hold up: Roper has family with him at his current position as his brother Zac is the Blue Devils’ tight ends coach, assistant special teams coach and recruiting coordinator, all positions currently filled on the Gators’ staff. And while his offense has undoubtedly been successful at Duke, it is not world-beating by any means.

Dave Christensen
Unemployed – former head coach at Wyoming
Updated on Dec. 20 at 1:15 p.m.

Hire him: A longtime offensive coordinator under Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel (he spent 19 years on his staffs at Toledo and Mizzou), Christensen was Wyoming’s head coach for the last five seasons before being fired on Sunday. His offenses are high-octane and would certainly be a welcome change at Florida.

Update: Christensen was hired to run Utah’s offense.

Hold up: Christensen has no known ties to the Gators, and his pass-first spread-style offense would be quite a departure from what UF has run under Muschamp over the last three seasons. Though a source close to the program told OnlyGators.com that Muschamp is interested in going with a more up-tempo style, Christensen may be too far out of his comfort zone…but maybe that is exactly what Florida needs. Also, this happened in October, though its doubtful Muschamp would shy away from someone with passion, intensity and anger…he may even go so far as to embrace it.

Mike Norvell
Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – Arizona State
Updated on Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Hire him: A young up-and-comer in his second season leading ASU’s offense, Norvell prides himself on running a balanced yet explosive offense. The Sun Devils will likely finish the season ranked top 15 in scoring offense and top 25 in total offense for the second-straight year. Also a quarterback coach, his quick-strike style has already resulted in numerous school records being set

Update: Norvell has been promoted to deputy head coach.

Hold up: Norvell has had great success under Todd Graham at Tulsa, Pittsburgh and now Arizona State for the last seven seasons and may not necessarily be ready to move on. He also has no known connections to the Florida program and would be one of the youngest members of the coaching staff.

Jake Spavital
Co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – Texas A&M
Added on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.
Updated on Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Hire him: Considered a top up-and-coming assistant, Spavital has worked his way up from quality control coach at Tulsa in 2008 to graduate assistant at Houston (2009) and Oklahoma State (2010), quarterback coach at West Virginia (2011-12) and his current position at Texas A&M. Though he has only been coaching for six years and is just 28 years old, Spavital has learned from some of the brightest offensive minds in the game including Gus Malzahn, Todd Graham, Kevin Sumlin, Mike Gundy and Dana Holgorsen. The Orlando Sentinel also points out that he has also coached names like Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden, Geno Smith and Johnny Manziel.

Update: Spavital has been promoted to play caller at Texas A&M.

Hold up: There are plenty of reasons to get excited about Spavital, but his lack of experience as a playcaller and age are obvious concerns. The Sentinel notes that former Florida offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan was also 28 when he became Florida’s offensive coordinator…but that was 1980 and this is 2013. The SEC is a different animal these days. That’s not to say Spavital is not capable or a legitimate candidate. It would, however, be a gutsy move for Muschamp to hire such a young and inexperienced coach to coordinate the offense of one of the top programs in the nation on his own when he’s never done it by himself before.

Blake Anderson
Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – North Carolina
Updated on Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Hire him: A disciple of Larry Fedora – and his current offensive coordinator – Anderson is in just his second year at UNC but helped turn the program around in a major way last season. According to the school’s website, the Tar Heels offense “established more than 35 school records” under Anderson in 2012. This season, North Carolina is ranked in the top 50 of scoring offense and total offense despite recruiting players nowhere near the caliber of those at Florida. Anderson has no ties to the Gators or Muschamp, but radio host Frank Frangie of 1010 XL out of Jacksonville, FL, reported Friday that he has been “contacted,” has interest and would “want to bring” offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic with him. UF is also in the need of a new coach for that position group.

Update: Anderson was hired as the head coach at Arkansas State.

Hold up: When it comes to pedigree and top-level experience, Anderson simply does not have it. Teams he has coached include Baylor and Sam Houston State in the 1980s; Eastern New Mexico, Howard and Trinity Valley Community College in the 1990s; and New Mexico, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Mississippi and now North Carolina over the last 13 years. The know-how is obviously there but would Anderson really be the choice with more exciting candidates potentially available?

Dameyune Craig
Co-offensive coordinator – Auburn

Hire him: He’s coached under Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Gus Malzahan and even holds an American football record for registering 611 passing yards in a single game while playing in NFL Europe for the Scottish Claymores. Craig coached with Muschamp at LSU in 2004 (as a graduate assistant) and Miami in 2005 (as a special teams assistant) but leapt up the coaching ranks starting in 2010 when Fisher hired him as his quarterbacks coach. Malzahn picked him up for the 2013 season, and he has done nothing but help Auburn’s offense run smooth all year long.

Hold up: Though he is undoubtedly helping with the game plans and playbooks, Craig is not really calling the plays for the Tigers (that is a responsibility Malzahn keeps for himself). He has also never served as an offensive coordinator before this year, which means he is a bit wet behind the ears as far as being tasked with running a big-time offense is concerned.

Mike Mularkey
Unemployed – former head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Hire him: A tight end at Florida from 1980-82, Mularkey has been out of work this season and would be able to step in immediately if hired. He has been coaching in the NFL since 1994, serving as an offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-03) Dolphins (2006) and Atlanta Falcons (2008-11). He did not cross paths with Muschamp in Miami but did work under Saban for a year. Mularkey is a creative offensive play caller but believes in having a physically punishing offense, which undoubtedly fits one of Muschamp’s ideals. He really hit his stride with Atlanta, which earned him the Jacksonville head coaching job in 2012.

Hold up: Mularkey has never truly coached or recruited in college, serving just one year as an offensive and defensive line coach at Concordia University in 1993. His ties to Florida and Saban give his candidacy legitimacy, but Muschamp would have to wonder if he is committed to coaching on the college level or just trying to earn some stripes for another NFL opportunity.

Derek Dooley
Wide receivers coach – Dallas Cowboys

Hire him: A former member of Nick Saban’s staff at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, Dooley’s ties to Muschamp go way back and make him a legitimate contender for the position. He flamed out of his head coaching gig at Tennessee, which many will argue he did not deserve in the first place, but has proven to be a solid assistant on both levels. He would also be someone who Muschamp trusts and would likely be on the same page with, a trait that may not have been the case the last two years.

Hold up: Dooley has actually never served as an offensive coordinator before despite having coached nearly every position on that side of the ball except quarterback. He went from being the Dolphins’ tight ends coach to head coach of Louisiana Tech and skipped a step on the coaching ladder. The opportunity to get back into the college game would be attractive to Dooley but would Muschamp, with his job on the line, take that kind of risk even for a presumed friend?

Lane Kiffin
Unemployed – former head coach at USC

Hire him: Scoff if you want, but Kiffin was a part of a record-setting offense when he was an assistant with the Trojans and improved Tennessee’s offensive output by 60 percent during the one season he was head coach of and play caller for the Volunteers. His USC offenses – after he returned as head coach – were top-25 in 2010 and 2011 and top-40 in 2012. He is also a hell of a recruiter, even if some of his methods may irk rival fans and turn off some recruits.

Hold up: Kiffin publicly trashed the Gators and then-head coach Urban Meyer, though he later claimed that was just competitive recruiting. Florida fans would be enraged at first, which is not the type of response the athletic department wants to elicit from a hire that is supposed to be a program-saver. He would also not have much benefit of the doubt overall and is not necessarily the type of person you want to bring in for the long haul as his eyes are always on the next opportunity.

Kerwin Bell
Head coach – Jacksonville
Updated on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.

Hire him: Bell possesses a lot of the attributes Muschamp is looking for in an offensive coordinator. He’s obviously talented, runs a pro-style set and has professional experience as a NFL and CFL player. He is also an alumnus who played quarterback for the Gators from 1983-87. His JU team features a strong down-field passing attack balanced with a solid running game, and he is one of very few true Steve Spurrier disciples in the game today. OnlyGators.com has reported previously that Bell would jump at the chance to run UF’s offense.

Update: Numerous reports came out during the week noting that Bell is not in contention for the job. A source close to Bell confirmed to OnlyGators.com that he has not bee contacted yet in the Gators’ search.

Hold up: Despite all of his success, Bell has never coached in the FBS and would certainly require complete control of the offense in order to run it without interference. Though he was interviewed by Muschamp two years ago before he eventually hired Pease, Bell was not a top candidate for the position. It seems unlikely that he will get a chance to run Florida’s offense while Muschamp is in charge even though the two get along perfectly fine, a source tells OnlyGators.com.

Joker Phillips and Brian White
Wide receivers coach and running backs coach – Florida Gators

Hire (one of) them: Two of the most experienced coaches on the staff, both Phillips and White are former offensive coordinators who have called plays at previous stops and done quite well in that charge. UF’s players are big fans of both men (as are incoming recruits). Phillips is relatively new to the program, but White has been around since 2009 and OnlyGators.com learned he was the runner-up to Pease when Muschamp hired a new offensive coordinator in 2012.

Hold up: Muschamp’s goal in hiring a new offensive coordinator is to inject some life into the Gators on that side of the ball. Though Phillips and White have their own ideas and offensive philosophies, players, recruits and fans would likely view the promotion of one of them as “much of the same.” That may not be fair to either of the men, but perception is sometimes reality. But if Florida strikes out while trying to bring in a hot name (whether due to Muschamp’s rocky start as a head coach or any number of other reasons), the Gators could do much worse than to fall back to one of these two options.

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71 Responses to “Replacing Brent Pease as offensive coordinator”

  1. Sjkoepp says:

    Brilliant write up Adam. Extremely useful while so much is up in the air.

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    Interestingly, the “best” candidate I see reading that list would be Bell. I didn’t realize he had a pro-style fun and gun, I thought he was doing a spread as well. For whatever reason, though, WM seems to be uninterested. Roper would seem like a good second choice in philosophy. Most of the others seem to have a lot of drawbacks or run the spread, and I can’t imagine WM is going to stand on his head and go back to the spread.

    • Tractorr says:

      I would guess it has to do with the no FBS experience. There is literally no telling how he would perform at a higher level.

  3. GatorGrad98 says:

    I concur, great article with tons of information. Kind of makes me excited for the future!!!

  4. Champ supporter says:

    Thanks Adam. Awesome job!

  5. Champ supporter says:

    Adam, do you know what kind of time table WM is looking at? I know after the game he said he didn’t have one, but he fired two coaches today. Also, do you have an opinion of who you think favorites would be out of this list?

  6. bdown15 says:

    I believe this coaching vacancy will tell us all we need to know about Coach Muschamp. If he fills with Joker or White we will be in the same old mess as he circles his own wagons. Dare to be bold Will and make a strong hire and then LET THEM COACH the offense and develop offensive players. Plenty of toys lined up for a new playcaller to mold and build a solid offense.

  7. Terri says:

    Where’s Dwayne Dixon? I’d love him as WR coach –do you think Joker is better?

    I’d love to see K Bell — it would put seats in the stadium and keep the ones that are there. They better be thinking of that also.

    Of course, I don’t know what’s best but I DO know the selection better be 100% correct — I’m sick of seeing our beloved program sink further down.

  8. Gator Forever says:

    I can’t believe Kiffin would even be considered. That’s just a laughing stock! Kerwin all the way baby!

    Great article.

  9. nugent1021 says:

    that rant from Christensen was pretty awesome.
    Maybe if UWV fires Dana Holgorsen….he went 4-8 this year too.
    Grier would be awesome under him…..

  10. Jville Johnny says:

    I vote for Bell, even though I doubt it will happen. I’ve seen his offense in person. It’s very similar to the fun n’ gun but maybe a little more conservative. Plus, it will definitely fire up the fan base.

  11. aziatic41 says:

    We need instant offense. And I think the best guy to do that is the number one guy on the list, Dave Christensen. He runs a high-octane spread offense and I think that style can more quickly employ life into an offense than any other style. Hell look what Urban did with the spread offense here.

    @Adam,

    Would you say that Christensen is the early favorite for the OC job ? Any additional info on the bonafide favorites ?

    • Answered elsewhere in here.

    • Ziggy says:

      Christensen may give us a better chance at an “instant offense”, but the spread just isn’t sustainable in a league with great defenses in my opinion. I sound like a broken record but high profile receivers and QBs don’t want to play in a spread system. Teams with the ability to recruit top flight talent (aka Florida Gators) should be running a pro offense simply bc it’s harder for a defense to stop talent rather than a particular scheme, especially once they’ve had a few looks at the scheme.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        you mean players like Harvin and Tebow? There are tons of talented players that also realize, especially the skill players like receivers, that the spread can really showcase their talent because they will get more opportunities for spectacular plays. The QB is more difficult, but there are quality QBs out there that don’t mind the stats that the spread will provide.

        As for how sustainable it is, who knows? It hasn’t been tried for more than a couple of years. I would prefer someone with a Spurrier like mentality on offense, but the spread can provide instant offense since we have no offensive line to speak of to compete with the others. It may just be a quick fix for a couple of years to get more personnel, but it is better than sitting in a quagmire of sub-100 offense for another year or two

      • Seth Silvani says:

        you say the spread isn’t sustainable in the SEC…. Meyer sustained the spread offense through his entire tenure. Yea, the end was a screw up, but Brantley wasn’t a spread qb…. that was just trash. With florida’s talent level through the roof on defense, they’d get plenty of opportunities to tear through the SEC under Christensen’s watch.

  12. Todd says:

    Bell is my first choice too, but Norvell is intruiging as well.

  13. grant says:

    i may be in the minority, but kiffin doesn’t sound all that bad to me. i prefer christensen, but lane, much like wm is better served as a coordinator than a head coach. my only real worry about lane is him jumping ship quickly for a head coaching position.

  14. Ed says:

    Frankly, after watching this offense for the past three seasons, with Weis and Peace as OC, the whole offensive staff needs to be replaced, not just the OL Coach and the OC. I am not seeing any player development what-so-ever from these coaches. I read week after week that so and so should have been the game at RB, I see WR’s trying to catch the ball with their body and not their hands; I see terrible downfield blocking by the WR’s when they are supposed to block. Our TE’s are non-existent… The OL has been abysmal for the past three seasons and Driskel looked no better than last season before he was hurt.
    If Muschamp truly wants to be the head coach at Florida he needs to change every part of his philosophy and change out all of the offensive coaches.

  15. Andrew Monk says:

    Adam, any ideas for when interviews would start running? I’m assuming the sooner a hire is made the better so he can get recruiting?

  16. Joshua says:

    Novell would seem to be the best choice IMHO. Great up and coming coach and his offenses have been top notch.

    Muschamp would probably want some that has ran an offense for awhile now and I think Bell should be considered because he would handle the offense completely and let Muschamp focus on D and ST. I worry about Bell’s recruiting skills and some have questioned his work ethic.

    I am from MO and have lived in Columbia for awhile now and I know Mizzou fans were happy to see Christensen go.

  17. matt says:

    I think Kiffin is the only one that Foley would step in and say no way on. He knows what a jerk he is and saw it first hand with the garbage he pulled so you can scratch that one off the list IMO.

  18. Joshua says:

    Adam,

    Do you see any other coaching changes after the recruiting season? Ed makes a great point about player development.

    • I think there is definitely a possibility for that…maybe Derek Lewis at TE or some shifting of responsibilities. It depends on who is hired and how things shake out. I think the defensive staff is set unless Durkin leaves.

  19. Tguygator says:

    Totally agree with comments. That’s why I’m not sold on Joker.

  20. MrMarques2727 says:

    Awesome article Adam.

    Out of your two favorites, which one do you believe is better suited when you consider our current roster?

    • I don’t really have favorites.

      • Champ supporter says:

        Adam, I know I may be a pest, but will you have a list like this for a possible O-line replacement? Or would that position depend on the OC hire? I see Christensen was an Oline coach, but do you think he would do Oline and OC or would he work with QBs? I just remember being OC and Oline didn’t seem to go well for addazio. It just seems hard to be responsible for 5 guys and call plays as opposed to just the QB.

  21. GatorRack says:

    Anyone think that Jedd Fisch could be a possibility? He did wonders with UM’s program and is a UF Alumni and worked in the program under Spurrier. Could be hard to lure him away from Jacksonville but would be a heck of hire.

  22. matt says:

    Adam,

    Reading some other coments on line it seems WM is telling the recruits that he wants an up tempo offense. It makes sense because any good defensive coach knows that is what they hate to coach against because of lack of time to make adjustments and fatigue etc…. Do any of the guys you mentioned really run an offense that is up tempo. Maybe Oregon like?

    • A lot of them run up-tempo, but Pease was thought to do that as well and it never happened.

      Up-tempo can be many things. Doesn’t have to be a spread or have an option. Could be quick-strike.

    • David says:

      I am a Muschamp fan, but in what world does Muchamp live in that he think making a radical change in philosophy is going to fix things next year? I don’t see us having the personnel next year to be able to run an up tempo offense.

  23. SW FL Joe says:

    If it is Mularkey he wouldnt be coaching QBs so what then? What position would he coach and who would coach QB’s

  24. Mike says:

    Anybody talking about Shane Matthews joining the coaching staff? I know he’s probably too inexperienced to be considered for OC, but maybe a possible QB coach?

    • gatorboi352 says:

      I’d rather we keep Chris Leak in there and promote him up to QB coach.

      Keep in mind, we’re talking about Shane Matthews, the guy who refuses to acknowledge Tim Tebow as a quarterback.

  25. aziatic41 says:

    @David,

    We do have the personnel to run an uptempo offense. Our roster is filled with former 4 and 5 star wrs who have been unable to shine in an Will Muschamps ball-control run-based offense. Our OL wouldn’t have to hold up blocks as long. And I could definitely see Fred Taylor put up video game numbers in this type of offense. Quinton Dunbar, Ahmad Fulmwood, Demarcus Robinson, Kent Taylor, are all talented WRS. Taylor is a hybrid TE/WR

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Not sure about that. Fred Taylor is a bit old to be banging heads with these college kids, young enough to be his son!

  26. Joseph says:

    Hire this guy, hire that guy.
    Please just hire somebody who actually wants to teach these kids how to play the game and not have the coaches just rely on the players talents alone. Selfish coaching for a major paycheck has to go. DEVELOPING players should be the new OCs first priority!!! Go gators!!

  27. David says:

    Our OL has lacked depth the past few seasons. Hopefully that will be addressed this offseason but with a 4-7 record that could be problematic. The lack of depth at OL has probably contributed to all their injuries as they have to be in for more plays. While I really hope he can I’m not 100% sold on Kelvin Taylor (Fred used up all his eligibility a while ago) as our featured back. Going into the 2013 season I was most looking forward to seeing Matt Jones at RB as I believe his style and size matches up best playing against SEC teams. Robinson has issues according to Mushcamp and it will be interesting to see if he stays or transfers. I was really excited when we signed Kent Taylor and Colin T. but neither has stayed healthy enough to contribute on a regular basis. When they did compete they got beat out by Clay Burton, who IMO is a huge headache with all his juvenile penalties and missed assignments.

    What are you basing your claim that the “roster is filled with former 4 and 5 star wrs who have been unable to shine in an Will Muschamps ball-control run-based offense.” on? Under Muschamp for the first time since 2007 we had two receivers with 98+ yards in one game. This past years we lost 2 starting QBs, a RB, and several O-lineman among other injuries. Kind of hard to shine when no one can get you the ball! If you can prove that all those injuries are Muschamps fault then I will agree with you. Secondly our receiving corps has been in a state of rebuilding since Muschamp has arrived. We lost Coach Aubrey and only had a GA as coach which undoubtedly set the team back (an issue he has since addressed). This past year we added Robinson and Fulwood to the team and we have some talented WRs committed for the next class. To me the reason why they haven’t ‘shined’ is less to do with Muschamps offensive philosophy than to do with a number of other factors some of which I just addressed.

  28. aziatic41 says:

    @David,

    Sorry about the typo’s. I’m at work and was in a hurry. Kelvin Taylor can flourish in any system in my opinion. He’s a complete back and very gifted runner. Matt Jones has size but when he was on the field didn’t show us anything this year. If you think back to the Miami game when we had the majority of our players healthy we still looked awful. Driskel threw for 300+ that game but it was mainly in the 2nd half when we were trailing and off blown coverages by UM’s secondary.

    I do agree that our players haven’t been developed as we might expect. Before Driskel was injured he was the same player as last year if not worst. None of our players looked improved from last year before injuries piled up besides Dominique Easley and Soloman Patton.

    Also why isn’t our strength coach Jeff Dillman on the hot seat. None of our players look bigger from last season. And all of our guys seem to be very fragile and injury-prone. I mean who’s in charge of the player development aspect of the team ?

    • David says:

      Remember the 2011 and 2012 seasons? 2011 the Gators were dead by the 4th quarter and couldn’t finish games. Jeff Dillman comes in and installs a new system that focuses on power lifting- heavy weights low reps (as opposed to the previous system which focused on developing speed) and the Gators are able to make it through all 4 quarters. Many players said that the new weight program was responsible for their on-field success last year. I think because of this Dillman hasn’t been a target in light of all the injuries. My sister is a physical therapist, when I see her this week I am going to run down the list of player and injuries with her and see what her opinion is on the matter. I think some of the injuries would have happened regardless of conditioning. Then there are cases like Jones’ where he had that viral infection which caused him to lose weight and conditioning. Not much coach could have done about that given the time frame of when he cleared medical testing and when they put him on the field. Anyways considering the number of injuries we had this year I don’t blame anybody for wanting to point to the Strength and Conditioning coach as the problem. Something does seem suspect, but more likely its just that someone broke a mirror, walked past a black cat, walked under a ladder and we just had really bad luck this past season.

  29. Joker and White are retained for recruiting purposes. We have to hold on to the class on that side of the ball. Kiffin, Dooley will not happen, first of all Dooley has never called plays, probably not who you want to hire to help save your job.

    Best Choices:
    1. Norvell – Has had successful offenses year in and year out.
    2. Bell – Personal favorite
    3. Helton – Highly motivated guy

  30. Daniel M. says:

    Lets say hypothetically that Kiffin gets the OC job. Just imagine the vitriol if that guy were to be anything less than stellar. It would be unprecedented.

    Stay away.

    • Won’t happen. But he’s an unemployed OC so he’s on the list.

    • Ed W says:

      Prior to Pease accepting the OC at Florida he interviewed with Saban at Alabama. Kiffen is working with Saban at Alabama and it is possible recommended as OC at Florida. Saban gives his blessing to keep his protégé intact. This is a way Muschamp turns the program around, creates offensive football and survives getting fired next year. Muschamp does not have options. He hires a winning OC or moves down the food chain.

      Spurrier had antics, Bowden had antics, Meyer had antics. Antics only seem bad when they are from the opposing team. Higher profile teams hired Kiffen to lead their program. Sometime the learning process takes a few missteps. I hope he has learned some lessons because the Gators are dying quickly. Saban either gives his ok or we move on to an up and coming unknown.

  31. Uf_84 says:

    It really is a shame Bell will not be seriously considered. He would have been the one coach on this list who could have unified Gator nation and brought exciting offense back to the stadium formerly known as the Swamp. I’ll be very surprised if it’s anyone other than Helton.

  32. Gatoralum88 says:

    I’d say NOOOOOOO WAAAAAAAAY to Christensen. All you need to see is his f-bomb laced you-tube rant to figure that out. Holy cow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it coming from a (then) head coach! If you readers haven’t seen it you need to! He even lets out a Ric Flair-like “Woooooo” while he’s cursing out Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun and calling him a “Howdy-doody fly boy” The last thing we need is a second hot-head, classless, loose cannon coach. NO THANK YOU! Sadly, Adam, you’re probably right! Muschump will probably embrace that a**hole.

    • SpokaneGator says:

      I don’t know, maybe we need an OC with fire, we seriously lacked that this year. Muschamp’s attitude has our defense playing lights out, until the last half of the season. Then, it seems they gave up, knowing the offense did not have their backs. I don’t care if he drops f-bombs with every other word, I just want to win!

  33. WP says:

    Think Coach needs to let go control of the offense.

    • Oldflyer says:

      You have no basis for that statement other than internet chatter which is almost guaranteed to be based on ignorance.

      I know a bunch of folks would soil their britches but I would be happy with Blake Anderson. His years with Fedora means as much to me as any of the other backgrounds. But, but, but he isn’t a big name.

  34. Ken (CA) says:

    Well, With Sarkesian hire, looks like WM could get his man in Helton if he sticks to his old grind it out philosophy.

  35. JaxGator384 says:

    My pick would be Bobby Petrino. A proven play caller in the SEC who develops his Offensive skill players. Look at the QB’s, RB’s and WR’s he has sent to the NFL. If we have to stomach Muschamp remaining then please give him someone who has been successful running an Offense in the SEC. Remember Arkansas was challenging Alabama for SEC West supremacy prior to Petrino being dismissed. Go Gators!!!

  36. Seth Silvani says:

    Bottom line is, none of these guys will be successful at Florida as long as Muschamp demands the amount of control he is asking for on the offense. He’s a defensive guy, clearly not offensive. The longer he keeps a strangle hold on the offense, the longer is going to be as inept as it was this season. I feel like if he were to be more hands off, Florida has the talent to have a prolific, yet ball-control oriented offense. Personally, Christensen would by my favorite hire. I think he’s diverse enough to mix some pro-style with some creative spread plays. With the talent Florida is raking in through recruiting (namely will Grier), he’d be the perfect guy for the gig… I guess now we just sit around and wait for someone to realize it?

  37. aziatic41 says:

    Clay Helton would be a terrible hire in my opinion. I’m tired of seeing a ball-control UF team on Saturdays. That is almost like playing scared football. Playing “keep-away football” is not going to win you games conistently in the SEC. Bottom-line!

  38. traew says:

    Muschamp should do what George Costanza did. If every instinct has has ever had as a Gators coach has been a dismal failure…he should find the coach he wants to hire…and then do the COMPLETE OPPOSITE. That will work for sure.

  39. Ziggy says:

    Adam – Is Mazzone a spread guy? I read where Muschamp had interest but Mazzone was payed to stay put. I can’t imagine Muschamp would consider a spread offense when he is just now getting the QB and receiver position closer to where it needs to be.

  40. Joaqui says:

    I have seen some talk (UF players on twitter) referring to a future spread offense. Any news on this Adam?

  41. Matt says:

    Adam,

    Overall how do these compare to Pease style play and stats before his jump to Fla? I remember him being a pretty exciting haul for the program.

    • It was tough to evaluate Pease because how much of his success at Boise do you attribute to the “system” and Petersen? Also, he was able to operate a number of different offenses, apparently. It’s very difficult to compare coordinators apples to apples, IMO.

      • Matt says:

        Do you think there could be a dark horse candidate still in the lurk? I really liked the progress the team made conditioning wise in 2012 with Dillman and I’m really hesitant to point blame in one general direction but our player development on offense and the general conditioning of our athletes is a pretty strong sign for concern. Is Dillman retained after all the smoke clears? I think losing him would be a mistake more so than anybody else…

  42. gatorgrad82 says:

    My vote’s for Bell too. There are a lot of coaches that have done ‘this and that’ at their schools, but we need a coach that can implement an offense that uses the PLAYERS WE HAVE to the best of their ability. Tebow fit perfectly into Meyer’s spead and we saw the end results. Forcing players into an offense that they can’t run gives you what happened to Brantley and Murphy and anyone else.

    Muschamp wants a ‘run the ball downhill’ offense and Taylor will give him that but with Grier coming up, so much more can be done — we just need the right OC to do it.What’s that Mullen guy doing lately??? ‘)

  43. Justin says:

    Is there any chance it’s Dave Schramm from Fresno State? It would make sense with the rumors of a change to a spread/uptempo offense (moreso than Clay Helton), and since he’s coaching in a bowl game, it also makes sense that the hire hasn’t been made yet (unlike Dave Christensen, Mike Mularkey, or Lane Kiffin). Plus he’s a good recruiter (previously the Recruiting Coordinator at Utah), a QB coach, and has over 20 years of coaching experience at the college level.

    Based on what he’s done at Fresno State in two years (and with Derek Carr), I’d be all for Schramm. Is he even on Foley’s radar?

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