Earlier today my boss, Jason McIntyre, posted that Florida’s now vacant head coaching position should go to Scott Frost. He also gave his reasons why both Chip Kelly and Dan Mullen shouldn’t get the job. So, because I’m a genius, I’m here to publicly argue with my boss. Always a smart move. I’m going to rebut that article and offer a counterpoint because I’m dead certain the school’s search should zero in on just two names: Kelly and Mullen.
Kelly is out of coaching this year after two unsuccessful stints as a head man in the NFL. While he’s currently getting paid not to coach, you know he wants back in. Florida would be the perfect spot to resurrect his career.
Given Florida’s fertile recruiting grounds and the litany of outstanding athletes the school’s football program attracts, Kelly would be in heaven there. His offense is almost always noted solely for its speed and high tempo, but it also relies heavily on getting athletes into space and having them win one-on-one battles. That’s a perfect fit for what Florida’s recruiting pipelines can offer. He dominated the Pac-12 while the head coach at Oregon — imagine what he could do at Florida.
Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin should cobble together as much money as possible and throw a crazy package at Kelly. Get him a top-flight defensive coordinator and let Kelly focus on building a devastating offense and the wins will come pouring in.
As Jason pointed out, Kelly does not like the spotlight and prefers to remain anonymous when not coaching. But at this point, no matter where he goes, fans will recognize him. Gainesville is a small town, but there are ways to avoid being constantly recognized. It’s an absolute perfect fit on the field, and that should be both Florida and Kelly’s priority right now.
If Stricklin can’t reel in Kelly, we all know where he should turn next. He was previously the athletic director at Mississippi State, and his head coach there was Dan Mullen. Mullen was Urban Meyer’s quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green and Utah before taking over as his offensive coordinator at Florida. From there he took the Mississippi State job in 2009.
With the Bulldogs, Mullen has gone 67-44 and won five bowl games, while also reaching the Orange Bowl during the 2014 season. Reminder: he has done that at Mississippi State. They should be building statues of him all over campus and naming buildings after him. Imagine what he could do back at Florida with the resources that athletic department will put at his disposal.
Stricklin was hired in 2016 and part of his mandate was to get the football program back on a championship level. After wildly unsuccessful stints from coaches moving up — Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain — it’s time to go with someone established. Kelly and Mullen have track records of success that prove they could handle the job. Stricklin should look nowhere else and move quickly.