Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Your Florida Gators coaching search weekend guide

While message boards and Twitter were running rampant all week about the possibility of Florida hiring Chip Kelly, an announcement on the Gators’ next coach is not imminent.

It might not come today. Or Monday. Or next week.

So take a break from staring at the video feed of the Gainesville Airport to see if a high-profile agent will step out. If you actually want to watch football this weekend — and aren’t excited about UF’s home game against UAB — here are some things to look for with some of the Gators’ three most likely targets:

CHIP KELLY

Where you can watch him: All day in studio on ESPN2

What to watch for: Kelly has received positive reviews in his first season as an analyst. He’s great with the telestrator, just as he was when he broke down plays for the Eagles’ website when he was coaching in Philadelphia. He should be; no one questions his Xs and Os acumen.

What’s more interesting here is his personality. Kelly isn’t outgoing. He’s more Urban Meyer than Steve Spurrier. How he interacts with Chris Cotter and Jonathan Vilma might give a small glimpse at how he might fare away from the field, in the booster stops and speaking engagements that accompany a job like UF. Has the time away from coaching and in front of the camera softened him up?

DAN MULLEN

Where you can watch him: Noon on CBS, coaching No. 17 Mississippi State at Arkansas

What to watch for: Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. He’s not a great passer — he ranks outside the top 70 in completion percentage, rating and yards per attempt — but Mullen uses him effectively as a runner. As a sophomore, he set an SEC quarterback record with eight 100-yard rushing games, and his 1,375 yards were the third most ever among SEC quarterbacks. This year, his 13th rushing touchdowns are No. 11 nationally (among all players), and only five quarterbacks have rushed for more than his 867 yards. If Mullen can get that much success out of a two-star recruit, what could he do with a four-star athlete like Feleipe Franks?

Keep an eye, too, on the Bulldogs’ effort, especially early. They suffered a heartbreaker last week against Alabama; it’s Mullen’s job to make sure that the players aren’t stuck in an emotional hangover against the faltering Razorbacks.

SCOTT FROST

Where you can watch him: Noon on ESPNU, coaching No. 14 UCF at Temple

What to watch for: Offense. The Knights have the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense and have put up at least 31 points in every game. They do it with an option-based spread system predicated on speed that seems like a great fit for the kind of athletes UF should recruit. Saturday could give a slight glimpse of whether it’d work in the SEC; Temple is led by former Gators defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said he wants the Gators to be fun again, so see if this UCF offense looks like fun (even if it’s quite different from the Fun ‘N’ Gun).

Like with Mullen’s Bulldogs, note the consistency, too. Are the Knights looking past Temple and toward next week’s rivalry game against USF?

Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

 
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