Can History Repeat Itself?
After this season’s 31-7 pounding at the hands of in-state wretch Florida State, Florida head coach Urban Meyer had this to say:
“I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way and do it right. Obviously we are down a little bit. I didn’t believe we’d be that far down, but we are. How do you build a program up? You build it up with tough players, tough coaches and you have got to play better.”
And, apparently, you build it up with a new head coach.
Yes, once again, for the second time in about 12 months, Urban Meyer is resigning as the Gators’ head coach and painting the Gainesville canvas with a bit of a head-spin motif.
My first reaction? Pure schadenfreude – I bask in the glow that all of Gainesville and it’s international surroundings are just sick over this. Perhaps the worst vertigo imaginable.
But, perhaps not all. The Tebow-less Gators, under the ‘leadership’ of a Meyer playing his tune in a slightly lower key slipped to below South Carolina this season. The road to seven-and-five was fun to watch, particularly near the end when Spurrier’s game birds came from behind to win down in The Cesspool, and especially when State enjoyed destroying their neighbor.
This resignation is probably different from last year’s version – the decision is not likely to be overturned by the Meyer family. Perhaps it took Urban to see what life is like with a whithered-up offense to make his decision more straightforward the second time around.
The problem from the Vol side of the fence is that the SEC East is arguably wide open for the next season or two. Who knows, another season or two under the present regime could have left Florida spewing out the same mediocre football. Now, they can wipe the slate clean, call this year “The Lost Season’, and cut their losses on the future recruiting trail by hiring a young, dynamic dynamo of a head coach. It’s their opportunity to get back on top very quickly, pending the right moves.
Dan Mullen seems to be everyone’s darling to fill the vacancy at the moment. He had been Meyer’s quarterbacks coach since his days at Bowling Green, and went to Mississippi State after Florida won the 2008 championship. Jim Harbaugh will be bringing his Stanford Cardinal to Miami in early January – perhaps he will be making an advance trip to scout a lucrative job prospect.
No doubt there are others on Jeremy Foley’s list.
Listen – this is Florida’s chance to close up the present wide-open landscape of the SEC East. They will be able to attract the attention of the brightest and the best of coaching candidates.
But let’s turn back the clock in the hope that the Gators repeat history.
In January 2002, the brightest coach of the day, Steve Spurrier, bolted from Gainesville into the arms of the NFL. The Gator brain trust hired Ron Zook, who won for three years, but at a rate far below the ravenous expectations of the Gator faithful who liked the taste of all their new-found wealth brought to them by Spurrier.
Those wearing orange, red-and-black, and garnet can only hope.