Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow, Charlie Strong, Riley Cooper, Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes are definitely gone. That’s Florida’s head coach, QB, defensive coordinator, leading wide receiver, defensive end, and middle linebacker. Ready for the bad news?
Meyer’s departure means Florida’s stacked junior class is almost certainly NFL-bound. So goodbye cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, tight end Aaron Hernandez, the Pouncey twins (two-fifths of the offensive line), and defensive backs Major Wright and Ahmad Black.
Unless the Gators can scoop up an established coach – say, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, or who knows, maybe USC’s Pete Carroll if the situation in SoCal continues to deteriorate, Florida fans may want to re-familiarize themselves with the concept of rebuilding for a couple years.
(Pat Forde noted that Strong has signed a “term sheet” with Louisville, but is not officially under contract, so the door seems to be slightly ajar for his return to Gainesville. Dan Mullen, who left Florida and quickly found success at Mississippi State, will probably be in the discussion as well.)
The 2010 schedule is soft out of conference (as usual), with South Florida being its most challenging opponent. But how many recruits from its 3rd-ranked 2010 class will the Gators lose in the coming weeks? And how many SEC opponents, having been pounded for the last few years by the Urban and Tebow machine, will be looking to exact revenge against what appears to be one of the weakest teams Florida has fielded this decade?