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Coaches who could replace Urban Meyer at Florida

Who replaces Meyer?

DAN MULLEN, 37, MISS. STATE: He was Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator at UF until this season, having followed him from Utah and Bowling Green. Mullen received much credit from QB Tim Tebow for UF's offensive success during their time together. His familiarity, being only a season removed, is a plus. And he had a good first season with the Bulldogs, upsetting LSU and putting a major scare into Florida.

Gary Patterson, 49, TCU: The defensive-minded coach is hot right now, putting the Horned Frogs (currently ranked No. 3) in the final Top 25 five times in eight years and a BCS bowl this season. He has led TCU to at least 10 wins in six of the past eight years.

BOBBY PETRINO, 48, ARKANSAS: Has there ever been a prominent opening where his name hasn't come up? He has only been with the Razorbacks since 2008, after abruptly leaving the NFL's Atlanta Falcons after one season in 2007, which came after he abruptly left Louisville after signing a 10-year contract extension in 2006. But his offensive wizardry has followed him at seemingly every stop.

MIKE SHANAHAN, 57: Many have the two-time-winning Super Bowl coach headed to the Redskins once Jim Zorn is likely fired at season's end. The onetime UF offensive coordinator (1980-83) was a popular pick in 2001 (when Steve Spurrier left) and 2004 (when Ron Zook was fired) to come back to Gainesville, but it has been more than 25 years since he has had to recruit. At this point in his life, does he want to go that route?

BOB STOOPS, 49, OKLAHOMA: The defensive coordinator on UF's first national championship team in 1996 said no thanks to being a head-coaching candidate for the Gators in 2001 and 2004. This year, Stoops was again one of the most popular names being tossed around to replace Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. Once again, Stoops said not interested. Will the Gators come calling a third time?

CHARLIE STRONG, 49, LOUISVILLE (almost): UF's current defensive coordinator had one of the longest tenures on any Gator coaching staff in recent history: four stints, 15 seasons. But this month he got his first head-coaching gig with the Cardinals, whom he'll take over after the Sugar Bowl. But could he (would he) call an audible? Louisville said Strong has signed a term sheet with the school but not a formal contract.

KYLE WITTINGHAM, 50, UTAH: The Gators struck gold once with the Utes in Meyer in 2005, so maybe they can do it again. Wittingham has a defensive background, serving as Utah's defensive coordinator for 10 seasons before taking over as head coach. He is 47-17 in five seasons and was named coach of the year in 2008.

THE REST? For those who like to have fun — or send Gator fans screaming — how does Charlie Weis grab you? Or maybe the Head Ball Coach returning? And to go completely insane, which is where head-coach speculation often ends up, there's a legend in Tallahassee who will have some time on his hands after Friday.

Compiled by Times staff writer Anthony Perez with information from Times wires.

Coaches who could replace Urban Meyer at Florida 12/26/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 27, 2009 12:32am]
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