Stoops to Florida: Much more plausible than Notre Dame
Urban Meyer’s stunning resignation from Florida on Saturday set the Bob Stoops conjecture spinning again. Would Stoops go to Florida?
Here’s my quick reaction. It’s much more plausible than Stoops going to Notre Dame, but I still think it’s unlikely.
Florida is a much better job than Notre Dame and it’s south, not north. But Florida would be a relative lateral move for Stoops. Florida is a better job than Oklahoma, but not by much. Both are in the most elite tier of college football. So Stoops would consider Florida only if he’s looking for a new challenge, and what’s the evidence of that?
The more I study Stoops’ situation, the more I think he’s several years from leaving Norman, if at all. His kids are 10 and 13 and have never known a home other than Norman. A guy thinking about moving doesn’t start building a massive new home, which Stoops has under construction in northwest Norman.
Sure, Stoops loves the beach and wouldn’t mind having one just down a Florida highway. Of course, with Stoops’ salary, he can fly to the beach most any time he wants and get there in not too much longer time than it takes to drive over from Gainesville. So quality of life, I don’t think, is an issue. Family considerations favor Oklahoma.
So this would have to be a total football move. Either comes down to that new challenge stuff, or something wrong at OU. And nothing’s wrong in Soonerville, other than a bunch of injuries and tight losses in 2009. Those things tend to balance out the next year, which is why 2010 should be quite promising for OU.
Challenge? Why would the competitor in Stoops need a new challenge. He’s got quite the challenge staring him right in the face. He’s lost four of five games to Texas, which despite three straight OU Big 12 titles in 2006-08, has got to gnaw at him.
I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it again. Stoops strikes me as a guy who is a lot more likely to leave on top — Urban Meyer style — than when things are rotten.
Again, Florida is the most plausible of college jobs if Stoops does jump. He loved it there in 1996-98, working for Steve Spurrier. It’s down south with warm weather. You can win big there, and Stoops remains loved in Gator Nation.
But again, Gator Nation loves all kinds of guys, starting with Dan Mullen, offensive coordinator on the 2008 national title team. Mullen went to Mississippi State as head coach and did well, 5-7, in his maiden season at a school that hadn’t had a first down in four years. Mullen is a long-time Meyer guy and would keep Florida staff stable. I would rate Mullen the No. 1 likely replacement.
Others mentioned include:
* Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino (I don’t think Florida wants Petrino’s baggage of jumping ships);
* Boise State’s Chris Peterson (heck of a coach; I would hire him);
* Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh (seems a little risky for a job like Florida; Harbaugh’s resume’ isn’t that good yet);
* Utah’s Kyle Whittingham (going to Salt Lake City worked for the Gators last time);
* Mike Shanahan (I don’t see it; hiring a pro coach can be dicey. Shanahan hasn’t had to recruit in a quarter century, and besides, he’s going to get his pick of a variety of NFL jobs. Most coaches prefer the pros, especially those who have coached in both).
So there’s my prediction. To replace Urban Meyer, Florida goes after a popular, ex-Gator coordinator. But it’s not Bob Stoops. It’s Dan Mullen.
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