With Meyer gone, Florida in flux, Dogs need to make move

Once certainty about next year's Georgia-Florida game: Mark Richt won't lose to Urban Meyer.

One certainty about next year's Georgia-Florida game: Mark Richt won't lose to Urban Meyer.

Urban Meyer says the Florida football program is “broken.”

He admits he did a poor job with the team last season and, in so many words, that the health scare of a year ago changed him: “Florida deserves the best. I’m not sure we gave them our best.”

So here’s the question: If the Gators are that far down, is this an an opening for Georgia?

This is not to suggest the Bulldogs project to be on the cusp of greatness. They just finished the regular season at 6-6 (3-5 in the SEC), which is worse than the “broken” Gators (7-5, 4-4). Nor is this to suggest that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley will make a bad hire (although it should be noted that when Steve Spurrier left for the NFL, Foley hired Ron Zook).

But hear me out: No matter who Florida hires, there is going to be a transition period. The coach who probably could best minimize that transition period is Dan Mullen, the former Gators’ offensive coordinator who has managed to turn Mississippi State into a competitive program. But that seemingly perfect fit isn’t a lock.

Foley may want to go in a different direction, possibly first going after TCU’s Gary Patterson, Boise State’s Chris Peterson or, yes, it has been suggested, Arkansas’s Bobby Petrino. There’s also two former Florida defensive coordinators, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Louisville’s Charlie Strong. As for Mullen, he may not want to be the guy who tries to fill Meyer’s shoes. Head football coaches are curious animals. They like new challenges and creating their own identity in a program. Mullen almost certainly isn’t long for Starkville, but he probably could wait a year and still have his pick of several jobs.

Regardless of who steps in at Florida, this year’s recruiting class will be down because of the change. Returning players will go through a transition period with the new coach. Further, the Gators are losing four starters on the offensive line, seven starters on defense and there are doubts about quarterback John Brantley that weren’t there a year ago.

If you had to handicap the SEC East right now, South Carolina — which returns Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery — has to be the favorite. But can the Gamecocks capture that magic two years in a row? Tennessee could be better but making the leap to division champion in Derek Dooley’s second year doesn’t seem likely. And Florida is weakened.

Enter Georgia. This an opening for Mark Richt and the Bulldogs. They’ll likely lose A.J. Green but they return quarterback Aaron Murray, who threw 24 touchdown passes with only six interceptions despite missing Green for four games. Murray will only be better next year.

Florida’s immediate future is less certain. Richt needs to take advantage of that.

– By Jeff Schultz


Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

343 comments Add your comment

cris

December 9th, 2010
10:15 am

UGANICK

December 9th, 2010
10:16 am

UGA has to take advantage in recruiting and on the field! Or we are in troulble!

First?

December 9th, 2010
10:21 am

Richt should definitely be able to sway recruiting in favor of georgia now that meyer is gone. Florida is obviously the biggest competitor in recruiting to UGA in the eastern division, and has been doing better because of their success. Hope he can get some of the dream team players we so desperately need. Especially Crowell and Drew. Those two are a must.

Al Dawg

December 9th, 2010
10:22 am

‘Dawgs will be back. G-E-O-R-G-I-A!

Pope J. Springer IV

December 9th, 2010
10:26 am

Tebow’s move to Denver denied Meyer of the consortion he can no longer expect from his forsaken wife. Lizard lips, took advice last summer from the Vatican’s AD: “the spoils of mentoring young men are not in the victories, but in the savory victuals of the dark confessional.”

swampthing719

December 9th, 2010
10:27 am

Anybody the Gators get will be better than Richt. Mediocrity has become acceptable in Athens. The Bulldogs MIGHT win in ‘11, but that will be it for several years after we bring in a top coach. The bulldogs job is no longer a top level job. GO GATORS!!!

TONE

December 9th, 2010
10:27 am

it should help recruiting but georgia should have won more than 6 games .the best way to help recruiting is to step up not get tired in the second half and win ten games . actually beating fla once in a while would help more than meyer leaving also.

PTC DAWG

December 9th, 2010
10:27 am

If one is going to be made, I say no doubt now is the time.

nope

December 9th, 2010
10:28 am

Won’t happen. Wait for “Next year” the uga motto

meh

December 9th, 2010
10:29 am

#1 Dawg

December 9th, 2010
10:29 am

Sad to say but I see Spurrier dominating the East for the next 2-3 years…with the returning personnel and the recruiting class they’ve put together its a reality.

Dr. Warren

December 9th, 2010
10:31 am

Go Falcons!!

T-Bone

December 9th, 2010
10:32 am

I’m for Petrino. Would love to see the Weasel terrorize the dogs every year!

Herschel Talker

December 9th, 2010
10:32 am

Schultzie:

“With Meyer gone, Florida in flux, Dogs need to make move”

You’re darn right they do. They need to FIRE MARK RICHT and bring in someone who can beat the Gators while they’re wounded. Go get Gary Patterson NOW.

HT

rxdawg79

December 9th, 2010
10:32 am

Wasn’t Garcia a tenth-year senior THIS year? Honestly, it seems like this guy has been there since Spurrier arrived.

LOL

December 9th, 2010
10:32 am

Georgia is going to be a mediocre team for the next few years. Next year: no bowl. Heard it here first.

LKB

December 9th, 2010
10:33 am

UGA needs a stud WR and D Line. If they get that they will be A OK.

WDE

December 9th, 2010
10:33 am

The East has fallen into your laps… doubt anything will come of it, though.

Go Gamecocks

SquillDog

December 9th, 2010
10:34 am

Closing the gap on Florida needs to be made by the Dogs improving, not Florida coming back to the pack. We need to concentrate on getting our own program better, not sitting around hoping everyone else gets worse.

Tom

December 9th, 2010
10:34 am

Isaiah Crowell comes to UGA = Better chance to win SEC
Crowell comes and Justin Houston stays = even better chance
Crowell, Houston, and AJ = Automatic SEC Champs

Worm

December 9th, 2010
10:34 am

Time to seize the moment and steal a couple of recruits..I agree that South carolina will be the east favorite..Chizik to Florida-he is a Florida grad!

Jeff ROCKS!

December 9th, 2010
10:35 am

MLH

December 9th, 2010
10:36 am

Florida has already made their coachgin hire. It will be made public soon.

STAB

inside info

December 9th, 2010
10:37 am

how’s this: since Urban Meyer will be spending more time on the GT campus watching his daughter play volleyball, he is going to assist GT in recruiting….hahahahahaha take that dog poos

Randy

December 9th, 2010
10:38 am

“Bulldogs” the eternal optimists maybe you guys should try winning a few games before you start pounding Florida. It is so amazing that just a few short weeks ago every single dawg fan was screaming for Richt to be fired. Now that Meyer has left Florida Richt is your savior? Come on and make up your minds, you want him to leave or stay? I don’t think you people have any idea what you want and before you go tooting your horn remember you still have not beaten Florida consistently and Florida has not made it’s hire yet. National signing day is not until February and the fact is you people know kids change their minds on a daily basis when being recruited. Let’s see who Florida gets before licking your chops.

john

December 9th, 2010
10:38 am

Yes we definalty need to take advantage of this situation but more important rather than worrying about someone else misfortune lets worry and focus about our own. First with securing this yrs recruits and coach’em up the right way and everything else will take care of itself. Go dawgs !!

GIVE ME A BREAK

December 9th, 2010
10:38 am

If all of the coaches in the SEC retired, would that make Richt the best coach in the conference?

DrDawg

December 9th, 2010
10:38 am

I’m afraid that no matter how well the Dawgs do next year, they will find a way to lose in Jacksonville.
It has become part of life.

Jacket1985

December 9th, 2010
10:39 am

Now is the time for UGA to act? And do what? Recruit better? UGA has had top recruiting classes for the past ten years and is doesn’t transition on the field except to win the final regular season game of the year. The time to act was several years ago before the program got out of hand. Don’t worry, FL will get a stellar coach and be right back in the thick of things before you know it.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC , Justin Wulf and Roy Harris, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: With #Meyer gone and #Gators in flux, #Dawgs need to make a move in SEC East. #UGA http://tinyurl.com/36ch4kd [...]

AlwaysAVol

December 9th, 2010
10:42 am

If Mullen returns, it’s a moot point.

MLH

December 9th, 2010
10:43 am

Colin Cowherd will be breaking the news on who the hire will be. He is just waiting on his sources to confirm

Will

December 9th, 2010
10:45 am

CMR has a chance here to hit the “reset” button again on this series. However, he is 0-2 on previous coaching changes at UF. He let Zook beat him a few times and he let Myer own him. Dan Mullen who we all know is going to be the next UF coach probably thinks he will win another 10 in a row against The Dawgs. He has confidence he can beat us and rightfully so. As far as next season is concerned it really won’t matter…… USCe will be the class of the SEC and beat UGA and UF badly I hate to say.

Silver Britches

December 9th, 2010
10:46 am

@Jacket1985 – and that final game of the year would be against whom?! *lol*

UGA Insider

December 9th, 2010
10:48 am

Dan Mullen insiders tell me is about to be named head coach at UF as soon as today! I thought next week but I stand corrected. Sorry for the misinformation guys. He wants to coach MSU in their bowl game. However he will begin recruiting immediately.

30 going on 31

December 9th, 2010
10:50 am

Perhaps Richt could throw his hat in the ring for this job. That would give him a shot at winning a game in Jacksonville.

dawgfacedboy

December 9th, 2010
10:50 am

Strong, Mullen, Patterson, Peterson, Stoops, all candidates and all would not be good for dawg fans. This is definitely a good year to put together this “dream team” class though. At this point we don’t have anyone to replace Green as an offensive threat and if Houston goes we will lose by far the best player on our D. Optimism is not really a word I would use in describing the future at UGA.

Your FaceBook Friend

December 9th, 2010
10:50 am

I am not sure CMR know what to do. He doesn’t have the killer instinct. I think the game may have passed him by.

producewiz

December 9th, 2010
10:51 am

I was happy for the ole ball coach, but let’s face it. the East side of the SEC collapsed.Georgia,Florida,Tennessee, all were terrible.Ain’t goin g to happen again no matter who coaches Florida.Perfect storms don’t come a long frequently.Also,Zook beat Georgia 2 our to 3 and was and still is a poor head coach.Proves the Peter principle still works.

Your FaceBook Friend

December 9th, 2010
10:52 am

Colin Cowherd confirms Pete Carroll as the next Uf coach.

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duh

December 9th, 2010
10:54 am

Could Wannstedt help the Dawgs in any capacity?

it doesn't matter

December 9th, 2010
10:55 am

It really doesn’t matter. UGA still can’t maintain any semblance of offensive rythym. UGA has a total of ZERO good/effective running backs. The receiving corps will be decimated with the loss of AJ and Durham. And to top it all off, UGA’s defense gives up conversions on 3rd and 9 like they’re 3rd and 1’s. I have no confidence in the “coaching” staff or in their schemes. We are the Colorado of the SEC, and I’m unfortunately starting to get used to it.

uga_fan39

December 9th, 2010
10:56 am

Please CMR take Meyer’s lead and resign with some dignity. Let a new fresh minded coach come in with the cupcake schedule we have next year and get his feet wet in the SEC..

Dawglasville

December 9th, 2010
10:57 am

Besting Florida on a regular basis and a national championship are the only two things Richt hasn’t done. Unfortunately, Richt has got his feet to the fire now. I don’t know if the Florida game will be a bullet placed in the chamber of the roulette gun Richt will be handed next year. Diddy mow! Sorry, my Vietnamese is a little off.

hugedawgfan

December 9th, 2010
10:59 am

PMC

December 9th, 2010
10:59 am

It’s about time Georgia hired a coach that everyone else hates for once.

azdawg

December 9th, 2010
11:00 am

Jeff. GA’s first move should be to fire Grantham and get a new DC. However, it doesn’t look like CMR will make any more coaching changes. Thus, the door is open w/Meyers departure to lure some top HS talent to UGA but thats not a gimme since he still has Grantham, the biggest obstacle in luring top D players to UGA. There wasn’t anything more obvious on this years D than the need for some beef on the D line CMR should have spent a few more scholarships on a D behemouth or two in previous recruiting classes. You win with defense in the SEC. The top teams in the league can score on anyone but in order to get to the SEC or NC you need D.

Meyers leaving FL may make them better if they get the right coach. I still think FL is ahead of UGA even w/him leaving. GA couldn’t stop them this year so don’t expect GA to stop them in 2011 either. We’ll have less talent on D and also Offense w/Green and other seniors departing.

Meyers leaving will have little impact on GA’s performance on the field. We may get lucky and snag a recruit or two but doubt they’ll be the saviors needed to beat them and have a good season.

Hairless Thompson

December 9th, 2010
11:01 am

Kirby Smart is going to Florida. You read it here.

Dostoveyskiy

December 9th, 2010
11:03 am

Just a gut feeling, but I believe UGa “as a name” is beginning to wear a little thin on recruits. “Too much about nothing”.