LAKE BUENA VISTA — Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen will be introduced today as the new coach at Mississippi State. Whether he will remain with the Gators for the BCS title game Jan. 8 is uncertain.
Mullen, 36, replaces Sylvester Croom, who resigned after five seasons. Mullen has been an assistant under Urban Meyer for nine years. He served as quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green and Utah, and was promoted to offensive coordinator when the two arrived in Gainesville four years ago.
Meyer said on Sunday night that Mullen was "having conversations" with Mississippi State, and hinted late in the season he knew Mullen might leave. Still, he was unprepared for the news.
"It complicates things a little bit," Meyer said at a bowl news conference in Hollywood, Fla., Wednesday. "Dan's going to be the head football coach at Mississippi State. That's just, like, fresh news as the plane landed in Fort Lauderdale. I know the questions are going to be the bowl and about this and about that and I don't know. I'm working on it."
Meyer, who has twice coached in a bowl game as a head coach after taking a new job, said he needs to evaluate what will give the Gators the best chance to win.
Meyer said he and junior quarterback Tim Tebow had a 90-minute conversation when news began to leak about Mullen.
Tebow said he's unsure how losing Mullen will figure into his decision to turn pro.
"I hadn't thought about that at all yet,'' he said. "That's hard to say. … I know he's a great coach and I wish him the best of luck. I know we're going to miss him. It'll be sad. I enjoyed playing for him."
Antonya English can be reached at English@sptimes.com.