Keeping Mullen Makes Sense

Urban Meyer's first key decision after the win over Alabama is the right one. Allowing Dan Mullen to run the offense for the BCS Championship Game against Oklahoma makes perfect sense. Continuity is the best way to keep Florida's high powered offense executing at a high level.

And with Oklahoma's record-breaking attack on the horizon, Florida is going to need a big night offensively to win the national title for the third time.

Mullen and the Gator offense had a superb season, setting a UF record with 587 points and scoring at least 26 points in every game. That productivity was at its best after a week four loss to Ole Miss. In the last nine games the Gators have scored 445 points, an average of 49.4 a game.

The Gators have one of the nation's most balanced offenses, averaging 230 yards a game on the ground and 213 through the air. Florida scored 41 rushing touchdowns in 2008 and added another 31 in the passing game. Not only was the offense absurdly productive, it was also remarkably disciplined. The Gators turned it over just 11 times in 13 games.

So why mess with success?

Meyer Had Options

The Gator head man had his share of options with Mullen's impending departure. He could have turned the reins over to receivers coach Billy Gonzales who is the Vegas betting line favorite to eventually replace Mullen at the helm of the Florida attack. He could have gone with a group coordination of the scheme with his other offensive assistants receiving equal billing.

While either may have worked, neither gave Florida the best chance to win down in South Florida. Allowing the new coach at Mississippi State to remain with the team through the bowl game does. While Mullen will have his spare moments consumed with his new duties he'll be completely focused on this game. The truth is there's nothing he could do for Mississippi State in the next four weeks that would be anywhere near as valuable as the recognition he/they would get if Florida lights up the scoreboard and claims the ultimate prize. With Mullen in the booth, Mississippi State will get a ton of positive and free publicity on a night when every serious football fan is watching. You can't top that.

History Lessons

Both Mullen and Meyer have first hand experience at this double-duty type of transition. Mullen was Meyer's QB coach at Utah and managed to help the Utes rout Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl while also transitioning to his new job in Gainesville. Meyer himself had to manage the same balancing act. I suspect the key is to stay in the moment and compartmentalize things as effectively as possible.

Last year LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pellini accepted the head coaching job at Nebraska and managed to coordinate an LSU defense that throttled Ohio State in the BCS Title Game. Eight years ago it didn't turn out as well for Florida State. FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt accepted the Georgia job, but stayed with the Seminoles through their national title game with Oklahoma. Bob Stoops and the Sooners skunked the ‘Noles 14-2.

How ironic is it that once again an offensive coordinator from the state of Florida is attempting double-duty prior to facing Oklahoma and Bob Stoops with the national title on the line? Gator fans are hoping the results will be dramatically different.


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