Links: Tracking the UF coaching search
Published on Tuesday, 11/18/14, at 12:22 p.m. Eastern.
Updated on Tuesday, 12/2/14, at 4:07 p.m. Eastern.
Editor’s note: Check back to this page over the next few weeks for all things related to Florida’s search for its next head football coach.
4:07 p.m. on Tuesday, 12/2/14, Day 17
–OnlyGators.com has reported that a plane owned by a UF booster is en route to Fort Collins, Co. So obviously, Foley is going to meet with McElwain.
–A face-to-face meeting doesn’t mean the hire is a given by any means. According to FootballScoop.com, Foley has hinted to some that there’s a possibility McElwain could retain a lot of Muschamp’s defensive staff, including d-coordinator D.J. Durkin. The website also noted that much of McElwain’s CSU staff is geared to recruiting Colorado.Therefore, McElwain isn’t going to be able bring his entire staff. I doubt that’s a sticking point because Foley wouldn’t be on a plane if that were the case.
–McDaniels had this to say in the last hour: “I really, honestly don’t have any idea about that rumor. I mean, I heard it, but I have nothing to add to it, and my focus is solely on the Chargers and getting our team ready to go this week on offense, and trying to do the best thing I can,” he said, during a teleconference with local writers. “You’re right, it’s a time of year that this happens quite a bit, and I’ve been through it before.”
Early Afternoon on Tuesday, 12/2/14, Day 17 of The Search.
–Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has agreed to an extension in the range of $4 million per season. An extra $400,000-$600,000 will be added to the pool of money that goes to his assistants.
–As I’ve noted several times in recent months, it wouldn’t have been Freeze’s style to bolt Oxford. His agent Jimmy Sexton obviously did a great job of earning him a raise and Saturday’s Egg Bowl win didn’t hurt Freeze’s cause, either.
–In today’s edition, the Denver Post confirmed Pat Forde’s report that Jeremy Foley spoke to Colorado St. coach Jim McElwain by phone on Saturday. The Post also noted that the CSU AD “declined further comment.”
–During an appearance on Jacksonville sports radio yesterday, Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun stated that the SB Nation report from late Sunday night was completely inaccurate. Dooley said that Freeze was never offered a contract by UF, just as the school expressed in a statement yesterday. In fact, Dooley said that Foley told him that he has never even met Freeze. Now that doesn’t mean Foley didn’t inquire about Freeze’s potential interest with Sexton, who likely fed the financial parameters to SB Nation.
–A report from CBS 3 in Philadelphia yesterday stated that Foley “will kick the tires” on Eagles coach Chip Kelly to see if he’s interested in the UF job. Like I chronicled in my original story on VI two weeks ago (link down below under Day 3 of The Search), this scenario is now implausible. With the Eagles in first place in the NFC East, their season appears destined to last into mid-January. My article stated that Kelly to Florida had to entail the Eagles losing three of their next four games. They are now 2-0 during that stretch. Therefore, Kelly and Freeze, two unlikely candidates to begin with, can be removed from consideration.
–At this point, if I had to name a favorite, it would be Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. With that said, I don’t think Foley is in any rush and don’t anticipate a hiring to be announced in the next 48-72 hours. Sure, McDaniels could start recruiting right now and he could come down to Gainesville and do a presser but, just like when Bill O’Brien left New England for Penn St., he’ll still be coaching the Pats for at least another five weeks.
–Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that CSU officials are “extremely nervous” that McElwain is a viable candidate for Florida. Not sure that does much for me, Edgar. If the Gators want McElwain, they’ll get him. Period. And the $7.5 million buyout can reportedly be negotiated. As a UF alum, I would pray that Foley does more digging for bigger names before settling on McElwain. And that’s not to imply that McElwain doesn’t know what he’s doing. His resume is excellent, but the UF job is a great one and I’m looking for a great resume.
–Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, who covers the NFL, has reported in the last hour that Kelly and McDaniels aren’t on Foley’s list of candidates. Again, we’ve covered why Kelly is no longer a possibility. I personally think the circumstances of a potential McDaniels hire are different. Cole states that Foley isn’t high on NFL guys because he’ll have to overpay, but I don’t buy that notion either. This is a crucial hire for Foley, who could pay for a poor hire with his job. The dude once gave Ron Zook well north of $1 million per year when Zooker was worth 200K tops as an assistant. Back to McDaniels, who could get a staff hired and be recruiting while still coaching the Pats into the playoffs. While making calls to recruits, it wouldn’t hurt Florida’s image to see him on the sidelines talking to Tom Brady during playoff games.
–That’s it for now — hopefully. If I see “breaking” in red on the ticker in the next 24 hours with McElwain’s name next, I won’t be a happy camper. But it won’t be anything compared to falling to my knees in anguish when Chris Fowler came on the screen in early January of 2002 with a picture of Zooker in the background. THAT was pure pain.
–Non-coaching UF notes: RB Matt Jones and OL Tyler Moore have announced that they will turn pro early. No biggie for the Gators, who have RBs Kelvin Taylor and Brandon Powell needing more touches anyway. As for Moore, he was a sometimes starter in two seasons after transferring from Nebraska. He was flagged for two costly holding penalties Saturday vs. FSU, although the second one was total bullshit and negated a huge gain from Treon Harris on 3rd and 13 that had UF nearly in the red zone with a fresh set of downs. The Gators would punt two plays later.
–Non-coaching opinion: Kudos to the ACC for its 4-0 record against the SEC on Saturday. BUT… weren’t three of those ACC teams home favorites of 6.5 points or more? Only two of those three covered, by the way. Also, those four teams were in the SEC East. In other words, Ga. Tech and Clemson should be offered props for this past weekend. However, the Yellow Jackets are still 2-12 against Mark Richt, while Dabo has lost five of the last six against SpurDog (and all five of those L’s came by double digits). FSU and Louisville were extremely fortunate to beat Florida and Kentucky, respectively, with the Gators and ‘Cats hooking up their betting backers. Jumbo Fisher is a total clown and his team is better than Texas A&M from out of the SEC West. On a neutral field, however, I’m not sure the ‘Noles would beat any other SEC West school this year.
Monday, 12/1/14, Day 16 of The Search.
–A Yahoo! Sports report from Pat Forde named Colorado St.’s Jim McElwain as a candidate Sunday night. Forde indicated that Jeremy Foley and McElwain spoke by phone on Saturday night. An SB Nation story stated that Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze already had an offer from Florida. I went over these details late last night at this link.
–UF released a statement Monday morning denying an offer to Freeze or anyone else. The report sounded inaccurate from the start, as it would not be Foley’s style to make an offer on Sunday without even meeting with Freeze in person. And any offer at this point seems premature. There’s no rush, nor are there any competitors. Nebraska’s job opened yesterday with Bo Pelini’s dismissal, but that’s not nearly as coveted a job as it used to be, especially when compared to the Florida gig.
–Scott Roussel of FootballScoop.com reported this morning that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is on Foley’s radar.
Tuesday, 11/18, Day 3 of The Search.
–The amount of class demonstrated by Will Muschamp in Gainesville yesterday was extraordinary. It won’t be lost on all ADs across America who consider him as a candidate the next time their head-coaching position opens, either.
—My column filed to VegasInsider.com yesterday.
—The latest from SI’s Andy Staples, who was on the scene in Gainesville on Monday.
–From the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi: This hire is a legacy maker or breaker for Jeremy Foley.
–According to a report from FootballScoop.com, Marshall’s Doc Holliday is a serious candidate for the UF job. In addition, per ESPN, Mike Shanahan is not interested in a college coaching job. Here’s the text of the report from Football Scoop below:
Sources tell us that Marshall head coach Doc Holliday is very much a candidate for the head coaching vacancy at Florida. Holliday has served as head coach at Marshall for the past five seasons. From 2005-2007 he was on Urban Meyer’s staff at Florida serving as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. Holliday went on to join the staff at West Virginia where he served two years as associate head coach before being named head coach at Marshall following the 2009 season. Holliday won 10 games at Marshall last season and currently has his team 10-0.
–Foley has always coveted great recruiters. Hell, that’s why he made the unfathomable decision to hire Ron Zook. Any interest in Holliday would be based on that premise. Throughout coaching circles, he’s known to be as wired into South Florida (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) as anyone in the business. Those South Fla. ties were huge components of Meyer’s success at UF and even moreso, the success Chuck Amato had early in his tenure at North Carolina St.
–For months, I’ve been saying I have zero interest in my alma mater hiring Dan Mullen or Rich Rodriguez. A report from ESPN yesterday indicated that neither will be a candidate for the UF job.
–From the Gainesville Sun — players react to Muschamp’s dismissal.
–I’ll be on the Paul Howard Show in Las Vegas to discuss the Florida coaching search today at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
—Bovada has updated its odds on who will be UF’s next coach. Mike Gundy was the 4/1 ‘chalk’ yesterday, but now Bob Stoops and Gundy are 9/2 co-favorites. Jim Tressel and Greg Schiano have been added to the list (because they want to take your money) at 15/1 and 20/1 odds, respectively.