Riding The Darkhorse

First off, I sincerely wish Will Muschamp the best. He’s a good guy and a good coach and he’ll get another opportunity somewhere to be a head coach and succeed. I always liked Will and was ecstatic when he was hired, but he never fit at Florida and had more bad luck than I’ve ever seen a coach have. His brand of football was never fun to watch. Even 2012 felt like watching a gruesome fight between two hobos out by the railroad tracks before ol’ Stinkeye Pete grabbed a sledgehammer and caved Boxcar Joe’s skull in with a few desperate swings. It wasn’t pretty, but I stood up for him even through last season. I gave him a mulligan for all the injuries. Then the Alabama game happened this September and it completely broke my spirit. I couldn’t defend him any longer. He had to go.


So, where does Florida go now? Jeremy Foley’s tendency across all sports has been to hire young, up-and-coming coaches: Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp, Billy Donovan, Kevin O’ Sullivan, etc. However, there are no Urban Meyers out there. There are no young coaches at mid-major programs who have dominated like Meyer did at Utah.

And I don’t feel like Foley can afford to hire another great, young coordinator without head coaching experience, like Chad Morris at Clemson or Pat Narduzzi at Michigan State. It’s Will Muschamp all over again. There are a lot of good candidates for the job, but there isn’t one guy that we can all point to and say, “He’s the guy.” If you asked a hundred Gators fans who Foley should hire, you would probably get a hundred different answers and goddammit, who said Greg Schiano without any irony? SHOW YOURSELF SO WE CAN POSITION YOU IN FRONT OF THE FIRING SQUAD!

When the news broke that Muschamp had been fired yesterday, I immediately sat down and started knocking out my list of candidates. I came up with four names and three of them were names you’ve all seen: Dan Mullen, Rich Rodriguez, and Mike Gundy. The reason for those three is because if I’m Jeremy Foley, I’m looking for someone who is a current college head coach who has been successful and is a bright offensive mind. All three fit that bill. But as I thought about it, I had a strong feeling that Rodriguez and Mullen would not be considered. This was confirmed this morning by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy who tweeted such. Rodriguez had a few run-ins with the NCAA at Michigan and there have been rumors that Foley just doesn’t like Mullen as a person.

As for Gundy, he was my first choice at the beginning of the season, but I’ve backed off on him a tad bit since then. Oklahoma State hasn’t had a great year and the offense has been pitiful by recent OSU standards. A lot of that has to do with their starter, JW Walsh, going down with an injury early in the season and they’ve had to roll with their backup, Daxx Garman. Seriously, that’s his name. Also, there was the Sports Illustrated article last year that brought negative attention to the OSU program. Foley may consider Gundy, but I think ultimately, that article may be enough to scare him away. Plus, OSU is Gundy’s alma mater and they can match any dollar amount Florida throws out there with super booster, T. Boone Pickens.

One name that was not on my original list was Gary Patterson because he’s a defensive guy, but after thinking about it a lot in the last 24 hours, I think he might be the best man for the job, especially if he brings his co-offensive coordinators, Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie with him. Patterson sacrificed some defense for offense this season and so far, it has paid off. It is my hope that whoever is hired, they will keep Brad Lawing, DJ Durkin, and Travaris Robinson on staff. So, would Patterson want to bring his guys or would he assimilate with the current staff? Regardless, I’m just not sure Patterson leaves TCU. So, this brings me back to the fourth candidate on my original list from yesterday.

I won’t name him yet. I will give you his credentials for the job and let you decide if this sounds like someone who would be a good hire. He’s a very under the radar hire. I’ve only seen him mentioned on a couple of candidate lists, so far. AND IT’S NOT KERWIN BELL! STOP SAYING HIS NAME!

He’s 46 years old and in his fourth season at his current FBS school and has posted a 9-4 record in each of his first three years with three bowl wins and is on his way to much of the same this year, sitting at 7-3. Prior to his current job, he was the receivers coach and passing game coordinator for two years at an SEC school. Prior to that, he was the head coach at a Division II school where he tallied a 66-21 record with two conference titles in seven seasons.

He’s an offensive guy who runs a version of the spread and is pretty balanced. His offenses have averaged between 30-35 ppg the last four years. Last season they averaged 204.5 rushing and 212.2 passing yards per game. This season they are running the ball a little more, averaging 231 yards rushing on 421 attempts and 196 yards passing on 286 attempts.

Any ideas who this is? If you said Louisiana-Lafayette head man, Mark Hudspeth, YOU’RE A WINNER!

If you need your memory refreshed as to who he is, you should remember his Ragin’ Cajuns nearly beating Florida two years ago in “The Swamp” and woulda gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown to end the game.

I like Hudspeth. In his fifteen losses at ULL, eight have been to schools from power conferences and he’s nearly pulled off a couple of upsets. He’s been very successful at two small schools with limited resources and not only has he been successful, he’s maintained that success over the duration of his tenure. Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn were both coaching high school football not too long ago and each spent a year at Arkansas State before becoming head coaches in the SEC. So making the jump from a small school to the SEC can be done.

If Hudspeth were hired, a lot of people that don’t know a damn about college football will laugh and point and say, “LOL, Florida couldn’t get a big name. No one wants to coach at Florida!” And my arm would fly off from making the handwanking gesture, but this would be a solid hire. I think he would do fine at Florida. That’s why I’m going all in for Hudspeth. Sure, I’d love to have Patterson, Gundy, Hugh Freeze, or several others, but if I have to choose one, I’m going to ride with the guy no one’s talking about. And if he is hired, then I’ll look like a genius and I can rub it in my parents’ faces! SCREW YOU MOM AND DAD! I MAY NOT KNOW HOW TO BUDGET MY MONEY OR PROPERLY INVEST FOR RETIREMENT OR HAVE A GIRLFRIEND OR HAVE A JOB I LOVE OR GENERALLY POSSESS ANY LIFE SKILLS, BUT I GOT FLORIDA’S COACH CORRECT! BOOM! IN YOUR FACE!

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5 Responses to Riding The Darkhorse

  1. Tim Niblett says:

    Absolutely great, enjoyable article!
    I feel it might have been right to let WM go bit sorry it happened.
    I feel a bit more time and random luck could have been the beginning/continuation of a beautiful relationship.
    All kinds of weather is great, all kinds of success even better!

  2. Miller says:

    Great call. What do you think about Bob Stoops? No joke. I know he’s turned us down many times, but if he’s interested nowI think he’d do well. Your thoughts?

  3. Miller says:

    Great call. I agree with you and hope that you’re right.

    What do you thinnk about Bob Stoops? No joke. I know he’turned us down several times, but if he is interested I think we should take him. Your thoughts?

  4. Tim Hopson says:

    Good article. Sounds promising. Hope Foley foes through the process a little more this time and doesn’t go with just a one call hire like Muschamp. Really hope it’s not Stoops, I think the game has passed him by maybe a little. Stuck in mediocrity like Richt. Don’t want that.

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