University of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is expected to go from the research mode to the early pursuit phase of finding his next head coach. As Foley goes about his business, the early favorite to be the Gators next head coach with one Las Vegas book is looking to practice his team late Sunday afternoon and then hit the recruiting trail on Monday, the first day coaches can visit recruits in homes.
Gundy is expected to make two or three homes on Monday as the rest of the staff will hit the road too. Gundy is not even listed by most sources anymore as a candidate for the UF job, and with other jobs opening such Nebraska (fired Bo Pelini on Sunday) and possibly Michigan, Gundy is not showing up on radar screens.
As for the early visits on Monday, it would be advisable to hit McKinney (North), Texas running back Ronald Jones II either Monday night or be at his next playoff game against Tyler John Tyler at 7 p.m. Friday in Apogee Stadium on the North Texas campus in Denton.
Jones II did not have a huge yardage game in Saturday's 56-42 win over Lake Ridge, but he carried 33 times for 92 yards and scored three touchdowns to help the Bulldogs advance. On the season, Jones now has 1,821 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on 220 carries for 11-2 McKinney North.
The recruiting on Monday will be important as the Cowboys will likely not hit the road recruiting until after they play Oklahoma on Saturday and then hold their senior football banquet on Sunday evening. Coaches will scatter after that event.
Gundy has not made it a point to preach that he is not a candidate for the Florida job or any other coaching position that opens up, but he has shown it with his actions as he has been heavily involved in recruiting and practice with his team last week before cutting the players and staff loose for the Thanksgiving holiday following a Wednesday early afternoon practice. Still, rumors abound and cross my cell phone in the form of text messages on a close to hourly basis.
By the way, the latest and hottest candidates for the Florida job as listed by sites and reporters I trust include a lot of SEC coaches. Hey, if you are looking for a coach to succeed in the SEC why not hire one that has already proven himself? Mississippi's Hugh Freeze had to start denying almost immediately on the field after Ole Miss upset rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl game. Auburn's Gus Malzahn is still getting heavy mention as are Todd Graham at Arizona State, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, and Jim Mora Jr., at UCLA.
The Nebraska opening will be quite interesting although Oregon offensive coordinator and former Nebraska quarterback and assistant Scott Frost is considered an early favorite. Michigan is another stellar job in the traditional sense but in a league where new and solid competition is now there and developed along with Michigan State's program being the best it has ever been.
Gundy, hopefully, keeps his nose where it has been on the recruiting trail and in the offices and on the practice field trying to improve his football team. The negative vibes that originate from OSU fans and the media like columnist Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman and his negative column Sunday morning on Gundy being more divisive than uniting in his own program would take on a different and a decisive tenor if the Cowboys found a way this week to win Bedlam. That is a good avenue to apply the focus.