12 Early Coaching Candidates at Florida

Urban Meyer's sudden departure has now created the biggest void in all of college football at the moment. With two national championships in the last four years, the Florida program is still one of the best in all of America and will undoubtedly attract top names to the program. Here is an early list of candidates for the job.

Larry Fedora, Head Coach at Southern Mississippi

Bio: Left Florida after the 2004 season and had the number one offense in the conference as the coordinator. Went on to Oklahoma State as the offensive coordinator where he enjoyed a couple of successful seasons and has been the head coach at USM for three seasons and third straight bowl appearance

Pros: Fedora brings a balanced offense that uses spread concepts and likes to get the ball to several different play makers. Not an option guy, Fedora tends to lean on the passing game and power running with play action passing to do his thing. He is very meticulous and someone that we here Jeremy Foley has the utmost respect for. His offense currently ranks 15th in the NCAA.

Cons: While he has continued to prove himself, he is coaching at a smaller conference and has only been a head coach for three years.


Jon Gruden, working in television

Bio: Highly sought after former NFL world champion coach that is not likely to get into the college coaching game. Gruden is one of the more highly sought after coaching candidates in the business and certainly someone Florida has to consider in its search.

Pros: Quarterback guru and offensive mastermind that can flash a Super Bowl ring and certainly knows how to manage an organization. Gruden would be able to draw top assistants to coach under him.

Cons: never been a head coach in the college ranks and one has to wonder if recruiting would be his cup of tea and if the limited hours of coaching collegiate athletes would be something that he could deal with.


Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach at Stanford

Bio: Harbaugh has had a meteoric rise in the coaches' ranks since arriving at Stanford four seasons ago. He has been a coach for seven years and has led Stanford to two straight bowl games including the Orange Bowl this season. Harbaugh is an offensive minded coach whose teams play hard, yet are wide open.

Pros: Has been able to overcome definite talent deficiencies to field big time competitive teams. That would not be a problem at Florida. His offense currently ranks 14th in the NCAA and with much less talent than his competition.

Cons: Recruiting at Florida is a lot different than recruiting at Stanford. Also, will there ever be that day that he wants to "go home" to Michigan.


Chip Kelly, Head Coach at Oregon

Bio: Kelly is another young coach (47) and is an offensive minded coach who also runs a spread option style offensive system that Florida runs. Kelly is playing for a national title in just his second season as a head coach and is one of the brightest stars in the business.

Pros: High octane spread option offense could fit right in with most of the players that Florida has brought in and would be able to salvage the recruiting class that was being assembled.

Cons: will he be able to be pulled from the high money that Oregon will pony up if they have to.


Dan Mullen Head Coach at Mississippi State

Bio: Mullen left Florida after the national championship year in 2008 and assumed a head coaching job at MSU for the first time. Mullen led the Bulldogs to the Gator Bowl in this, just his second year, on the job. MSU defeated Florida in The Swamp this year.

Pros: Offers a smooth transition to the team as most of the offense knows him. He could take over the play calling which seems to have been a huge issue since his departure and still keep most of the staff that has been around for championships.

Cons: Only two years of experience will be a hard one to overcome as Jeremy Foley looks to replace Meyer.


Gary Patterson, Head Coach at Texas Christian University

Bio: Patterson, more of a defensive minded coach, has been the head coach at TCU for 11 years. In those 11 years he has taken the Horned Frogs to 10 bowl games including the last two years in a BCS bowl game.

Pros: Has been able to recruit elite players to a smaller school and would be able to recruit that many more to a school like Florida. He brings it when it comes to defense.

Cons: Not sure what he would do on the offensive side of the ball.


Chris Peterson, Head Coach at Boise State

Bio: In his five years at Boise State his Broncos have been in two BCS Bowl games (both wins) and at the top of everyone's lists for a few years. He is innovative on offense and has been able to get his teams to overcome the issues of being a smaller program.

Pros: Fun and innovative offensive mind that would have fans, players, and prospects excited about Saturdays. He has been able to do a lot without much.

Cons: It all goes back to recruiting. Can the guy do it at Florida, we don't know.


Bobby Petrino Head Coach at Arkansas

Bio: Petrino is as wide open as you can get on the offensive side of the ball. He has Arkansas in the Sugar bowl in just his second year . He spent four years coaching Louisville before a short season in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. In seven years in college, he has taken his teams to six bowl games with two BCS bids.

Pros: Big time offensive guy would come to a state where it would be easy for him to recruit speed to throw it down field. Petrino has proven himself a winner at each of his college stops and against programs that are considered much better.

Cons: His moves to different programs and their timing have been scrutinized, but I have heard that Florida is one of the places he wants to coach.


Bob Stoops, Head Coach at Oklahoma

Bio: Stoops left the defensive coordinator job at Florida to become the head coach bat Oklahoma following the Gators' 1998 season. Since his arrival at a floundering Sooner program, Stoops has led the team to 12 consecutive bowl games, seven BCS game appearances, and a national championship game. Stoops will always have a special spot in Gators' fans hearts as the coordinator for the 1996 national championship team.

Pros: Always the first call for Jeremy Foley, Stoops has all the intangibles. He is a proven winner, a great defensive mind, and he likes a wide open offense that can score him points. His background at Florida would make for a very easy transition from another national power program.

Cons: Just what would it take to lure him from Norman? A lot.


Charlie Strong, head Coach at Louisville

Bio: Strong is in his first year at Louisville and has them redirected into a bowl game in just his first season as a head coach. A big part of two national championships at Florida in 206 and 2008 where he directed the defense, Strong will always be a name that is on any coaching search for the Gators.

Pros: Strong has had more stops at Florida in his overall coaching career than any other coach in America. This is his home away from home when he is somewhere else. His defenses under Meyer were absolutely some of the best in the country and is an outstanding recruiter. His players love to play for him.

Cons: One year in the coaching ranks isn't going to be enough in my opinion to land him the Florida job.


Jeff Tedford, Head Coach at the University of California, Berkley

Bio: Tedford just completed his ninth season as a head coach in college football and directed the Golden Bears to bowl games in six of the last seven years. He has a high octane offense and has been able to field successful teams despite the issues of coaching a program that has never been a big deal on the national scene.

Pros: Another great teacher of quarterbacks. Tedford seems to do more with less, at least on offense and would have a high octane offense.

Cons: Can he recruit Florida athletes after the kids he is drawing to Cal? Big question.


Kyle Whittingham, Head Coach at Utah

Bio: Was hired at Utah when Urban Meyer left to come to Florida. Whittingham was the defensive coordinator under Meyer . He has directed the Utes to bowl games in all six years including the 2008 dismantling of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. He would likely maintain the spread option offense that the Utes currently run and continued to run since Meyer left.

Pros: it would be a smooth transition in philosophies from Urban Meyer. Defensively I think Whittingham could step it up a notch at Florida. He has done well for six years and that says a lot.

Cons: His offense is usually dynamic but a slip to 42nd this year could be a reason for concern. I think Foley wants more of an offensively minded coach.

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