Updated on Saturday at 5 p.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:
Interim head coach / offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – USC
Updated on Tuesday at 11 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.
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.
Unemployed – former head coach at Wyoming
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.
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.
Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach – Arizona State
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
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.