It seems like before the Charlie Weis era in Gainesville could start, it was over. On December 8, 2011 Charlie Weis was introduced as the new Head Coach at the University of Kansas, replacing Turner Gill.
Weis, the four-time Super Bowl winning Offensive Coordinator of the New England Patriots and former Head Coach at Notre Dame, seemed like a great fit for the Gators and one that could restore the offensive fire power the Gators were once known for. However, in his first (and only) year with the Gators, Weis’ offense under John Brantley sputtered with poor offensive outputs, un-originality and poor development. Florida ranked 102 (out of 120) in total offensive yards, 102 in yards per game, and 72 in points per game. But Gators fans offered a pass for Weis in first year, as he switched the Gators offensive from a “Spread Style Offense” to a “Pro-Style Offense.” However, that one year is all they will get from Weis.
Head Coach of the Gators, Will Muschamp, in his Gator Bowl Press Conference that he was happy for Charlie Weis, but shocked. “We didn’t have exactly a great year offensively to promote that, but he’s got a great track record,” Muschamp said. He later went on to name (current Running Backs coach and interim Offensive Coordinator) Brian White and (former Gators Quarter Back and current Jacksonville University Head Coach) Kerwin Bell as possibilities to replace Weis. However, I believe those names are just a few of the many candidates Muschamp will consider. I have listed a few candidates that Muschamp may consider as possible replacements to Weis.
Kerwin Bell: Bell is currently the Head Coach of Jacksonville University. Bell played at the University of Florida from 1983-1987 and then went on the play in the NFL and CFL. Bell then became the Offensive Coordinator of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts before moving on to be Head Coach of Trinity Catholic High School (where he coached John Brantley). In 2007, Bell moved on to Jacksonville University as the Head Coach and was recognized in 2008 as Coach of the Year of the Pioneer Football Conference. Bell runs a Fun-N-Gun style offense at Jacksonville and could bring that over to the Gators. He does not have coordinator experience in the Football Bowl Subdivision nor NFL, but he could bring his love of the Gators and great offensive mind to the Gators at a relatively cheap price.
Brian White: White is the current interim Offensive Coordinator and Running Backs coach of the Florida Gators. White, a graduate of Harvard University, has a litany of experience on the offensive side of the ball. White worked at Fordham and Notre Dame as a graduate assistant before working at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Nevada. White then moved on to the University of Wisconsin where he worked as the Running Backs coach (1995-1998) to Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach (1999-2005). White then moved to Syracuse as the Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends coach from 2006-2007 before moving on to Washington to be Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach. White was then hired by Urban Meyer in 2009 to be Tight Ends coach and then moved by Muschamp in 2011 to Running Backs Coach. In 2004 at Wisconsin, White won the American Football Coaches Association Division I assistant of the year award. Moreover, White coached 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne and Michael Bennett, a first-round draft pick in the NFL, 2001 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Anthony Davis and 2006 Capital One Bowl Most Valuable Player Brian Calhoun. In 1999, White set a school record offensively and finished 10th nationally in scoring. Continuing, White coached a 1,000-yard rusher for eight straight years. White is also considered to be a great recruiter for the Gators and is very familiar with the Gators staff.
Jedd Fisch: Fisch is the current Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach of the Miami Hurricanes. Fisch did not play football, but graduated from the University of Florida in 1998 and served as a graduate assistant under Steve Spurrier from 1999-2000. Fisch joined the Houston Texans from 2001-2003 as an Offensive Assistant before moving on the Baltimore Ravens as the Assistant Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers coach. Fisch then moved on to the Denver Broncos as Wide Receivers coach, then to the University of Minnesota as Offensive Coordinator. Fisch then went back to the NFL as Quarterbacks coach in 2010 and led the Seahawks to the NFC West Divisional Championship before moving on to be the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Miami. While Fisch has no connections to Muschamp, you have to believe his NFL experience is eye-catching and he is a University of Florida graduate. For pedigree, besides Spurrier, Fisch worked for Pete Carroll, Brian Billick and Mike Shanahan, all considered great offensive minds. Miami ranked 72 in yards per game in 2011, but ranked 27 in yards per play.
Major Applewhite: Applewhite is current Co-Offensive Coordinator and Running Backs Coach at the University of Texas. Applewhite, a former Quarterback at the University of Texas, was rumored to be a leading candidate last year when Will Muschamp was hired. After graduation, Applewhite served as a graduate assistant at Texas and was hired as the Quarterbacks Coach at Syracuse in 2005. Applewhite sputtered at Syracuse going 1-10. Applewhite then moved onto Rice University in 2006 as Offensive Coordinator where he went 7-6. Applewhite then was hired as the Offensive Coordinator at Alabama in 2007. Applewhite improved the points per game and yards per game from 22.3 to 26.8 and 340.9 to 372.6, respectively. In 2008, Applewhite moved on to the University of Texas as Running Backs coach and in 2011 became the co-Offensive Coordinator. Applewhite and Muschamp served on the same staff and Texas and are apparently great friends. Would Applewhite leave his position at Texas for Florida is a question that we don’t yet know the answer to.
Chris Hatcher: Hatcher is currently the Head Coach at Murray State University. Hatcher played Quarterback at Valdosta State University from 1991-1994, where he was an All-American. Hatcher then moved on to be the graduate assistant at the University of Central Florida and University of Kentucky. Hatcher got his first coaching gig at the University of Kentucky as the Quarterback and Wide Receiver Coach. Hatcher then moved on to Valdosta State University in 2000. Current Gators Head Coach Will Muschamp was Hatcher’s first Defensive Coordinator before moving on to LSU. While at Valdosta State, Hatcher went 76-12 and ran the “Hatch Attack” offense. Valdosta State won one National Championship under Hatcher, in 2004. During his final year at Valdosta, Hatcher’s team was sixth nationally in passing offense, 12th in scoring and 19th in offense. Hatcher then became Head Coach of the Georgia Southern University in 2007, but was fired in 2009. After being fired, Hatcher became Head Coach at Murray State University. Hatcher is a darkhorse, but him and Muschamp have remained friends over the years.
David Lee: Lee was mostly recently the Offensive Coordinator at Ole Miss. David Lee played Quarterback at the Vanderbilt University from 1971-1975. Lee began his coaching career at the University of Tennessee-Martin, then moved on to Vanderbilt and Ole Miss before becoming the Offensive Coordinator at the University of New Mexico. After one year, he moved on to the University of Arkansas, serving as the Offensive Coordinator in 1988. He became Head Coach of the University of Texas-El Paso in 1989 until 1993. After leaving UTEP he became the Offensive Coordinator at Rice and then Quarterbacks coach at Arkansas. He later became Quarterbacks coach/Offensive Quality Control with the Dallas Cowboys, then Offensive Coordinator with Arkansas (again) and then Quarterbacks coach with the Miami Dolphins (where he installed the Wildcat Offense) in 2011 he moved on to be the Offensive Coordinator at Ole Miss. Lee is obviously well traveled with experience in the SEC and NFL. Moreover, he has a ton of experience working with Quarterbacks, something that will be vitally important with a new Offensive Coordinator.
Todd Monken: Monken is currently the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State University. Monken played Quarterback at Knox College before moving on to Grand Valley State and then Notre Dame for Graduate School. After graduation from Notre Dame, Monken served as Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach for Eastern Illinois University from 1993-1999. Monken then moved on to Louisiana Tech to be Wide Receivers/Runningbacks coach before Wide Receiver and Passing Game Coordinator at Oklahoma State University. In 2005, Monken became Wide Receiver and Passing Game Coordinator at Louisiana State University. In 2009, he moved on to be Quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Finally, in 2011, Monken replaced Dana Holgorsen as Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach. Monkin worked with Dwayne Bowe, Early Doucet, Kevin Walters, Brandon LaFell, Mike Thomas, Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt. Monken has the Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback development and NFL experience Muschamp is looking for. Would he leave Oklahoma State for Florida?
Daniel Thompson is a graduate of the University of Florida, majoring in Political Science and Economics. During his time as an Undergraduate, Thompson worked at the University of Florida Football Recruiting Office for three years. He can be found on Twitter @DK_Thompson.