Seven coaches to watch this week, with an eye on hiring/firing season:
Florida’s Dan Mullen: The hot-seat speculation is fair after last week’s South Carolina loss. He needs his Gators to play hard and crush Samford to ease the tension for a few days.
Miami’s Manny Diaz: A three-game winning streak has cooled his seat, but pressure remains heading into Tallahassee. Losing this rivalry game is what cost Willie Taggart his dream job at FSU.
Penn State’s James Franklin: He’ll earn consideration for other jobs no matter what happens these last three games. But if he loses to Michigan and Michigan State to finish 7-5, does that damage his chances at landing a premier gig?
Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins: A home loss to Boston College would drop him to 9-23. If he’s fired, he’d be an attractive coordinator candidate at Florida; he spent four years as an assistant for Mullen at Mississippi State before making what Mullen infamously called a “lateral move” by joining Jim McElwain’s UF staff.
Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson: Beating No. 21 North Carolina State would be the latest big triumph for his No. 13 Demon Deacons and boost his standing for a bigger job (if he wants one).
Oregon’s Mario Cristobal: He has a great job but would be an excellent fit at USC or Florida/Miami (if they open). The timing of a College Football Playoff run, however, would make him impossible to poach.
Florida International’s Butch Davis: Since knocking off Miami in 2019, he has lost 14 consecutive games to Division I-A opponents. Middle Tennessee State presents him with a chance to stop that streak as his tenure nears its end.
What to expect at UF
Florida coach Dan Mullen said he does not know how his Gators will respond to the firings of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy. If he’s fortunate, they’ll respond like Ohio State.
The Buckeyes stripped play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs after the Oregon loss and gave them to secondary coach Matt Barnes. The results:
Under Coombs (two games)
Points per game allowed: 33
Yards per pass allowed: 7.4
Yards per rush allowed: 5.4
Sacks per game: 1
Under Barnes (seven games)
Points per game allowed: 15
Yards per pass allowed: 6.7
Yards per rush allowed: 2.1
Sacks per game: 4.4
“It’s not easy to tell someone it’s going to be a brighter day when it’s raining, but you’ve just got to have faith that the sun’s going to come back out.” — Gators running back Dameon Pierce
Stat of the week
As the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds notes, Tyler Van Dyke will be the sixth different quarterback to start for Miami against FSU in the last six seasons. The others, in order: Brad Kaaya, Malik Rosier, N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams and D’Eriq King.
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