The Florida Gators have appeared to have found a new head coach to lead the football program and they stayed in the SEC to do it.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is reportedly going to be the man for the job.
ESPN broke news of the potential hire Sunday afternoon:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 26, 2017
Then, as things progressed, the sticking point of Mullen’s buyout in Starkeville became a discussion.
Source: Dan Mullen’s lawyer is in Mississippi State AD John Cohen’s office currently negotiating his buyout. Mullen to #Gators is happening. Announcement expected today.
— Ryan Bass (@Ry_Bass) November 26, 2017
According to ESPN, the Gators apparently turned to Mullen after UCF coach Scott Frost allegedly turned down the job . New Florida AD Scott Stricklin was also the AD at Mississippi State with Mullen.
Mullen though is no ordinary back up option for the Gators. From 2005-2008 he served as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach where he coached Gator great Tim Tebow.
He also worked as a quarterback coach at Utah where he coached number 1 overall pick, Alex Smith.
At Mississippi State, he has turned the program around and took them to new heights.
Since coming into the fold in Starkville Mullen has had only two losing seasons including his first season. In 2014 he had the Bulldogs up to the number 1 spot in the AP poll behind his coaching and the QB play of Dak Prescott.
Mullen will look to bring to Gainesville what it’s been missing since his departure, stable quarterback play.
The Gators have desperately needed improvement at the position for years and hope the fresh face can come back and create some of the same magic he has had in the past. They thought they were getting that with previous coach Jim McElwain, but he was never able to a. recruit a big time QB to lead the offense and then b. they continued to flounder until McElwain was fired earlier this season.
After suffering only their second losing season since 1979, expect Mullen to come in and hit the ground running for Florida to change that.
Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday
The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.
The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:
Coast to coast❗
🐻 at 🐊 2026
🐊 at 🐻 2027#GoGators
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 7, 2020
A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.
With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.
As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.
Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.
It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.
Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.
Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools
National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.
The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of former DB C.J. Henderson.
Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.
The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.
Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?
Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.
The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.
Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.
Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.