What does Urban Meyer’s departure mean for UGA?

Mark Richt probably won't miss his annual Jacksonville meetings with Urban Meyer, but is the Florida coach quitting really good for UGA? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt probably won't miss his annual Jacksonville meetings with Urban Meyer, but is the Florida coach quitting really good for UGA? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As word spread Wednesday afternoon of Urban Meyer’s resignation and speculation began centering around Dan Mullen heading the list of potential replacements, I noted on Twitter and Facebook that I was unsure whether this turn of events was good for UGA or not.

The feedback I got from fellow Bulldogs fans pretty much ran along the lines of this being possibly good for Mark Richt’s program in the short-run, but not good long-term.

Here’s the thinking: No matter who takes over at Florida, there’ll be at least a year of transition, even if it’s Mullen, who has only been gone from the program a couple of years and is considered by many to have been the genius behind Meyer’s phenomenal success there as well as at Bowling Green and Utah, where he also worked was Meyer’s key assistant. Some recruits might get jittery and if FSU doesn’t scoop ’em all up, the Dogs could benefit there.

And with Richt facing what appears to be a make-or-break season in 2011, any rebooting on the part of the Gators, however shortlived, tends to look like a good thing. Pair that with Gus Malzahn’s likely promotion to the head coaching ranks somewhere and Auburn, also likely to lose Cam Newton, looks like another rival returning to beatable status.

But as Meyer noted, “Florida will always be Florida,” and this is likely to be just a hiccup for the Gator program, particularly if Mullen is the new hire. I mean, the guy managed to win in Starkville. Imagine what he can do with all the resources and recruiting advantages he’ll have at the U of F.

Under Meyer, the Gators were likely to have continued slipping slightly since after last December’s brief retirement he obviously no longer had the fire in the belly, and without Mullen and Tim Tebow he looked much less like a coaching genius. As one fan noted, now with a new coach they get new energy, new optimism and no more Steve Addazio as O-ccordinator. So, going forward, Georgia fans might end up missing Meyer more than you’d think.

As for Mullen, you’ve got to figure he’d jump at the chance to coach at Florida. Why stay in Starkville when you can have possibly the best coaching job in America? Yes, expectations are very high in Gainesville, where as Steve Spurrier has noted 10 wins are probably no longer enough to satisfy the fan base. But Mullen seems like a pretty confident guy and isn’t likely to be fazed by that.

Now, of course, Mullen might not be Jeremy Foley’s first choice. There’s been speculation he might take another run at Bob Stoops, though that would seem quite a longshot. And other names floated include another former Meyer assistant, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, along with Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino. Some lists throw Boise State’s Chris Petersen and former NFL coach Jon Gruden into the mix as well.

But you’ve got to figure Mullen tops the list because, in addition to his Florida connections and looking like a perfect fit for the job, it also would remove him from the bank of potential rival coaches. The chances of him staying for the long haul in Starkville seem pretty slim. And if the top job were to come open in Athens after next season and Mullen hadn’t yet made a move from Mississippi State, he’d likely top Greg McGarity’s search list.

Personally, I’m hoping Richt turns things around and it doesn’t come to that. I like him as a person and as a coach, and I really don’t want the program to have to go through a coaching change.

But I’ve got to agree with those who say a re-energized Florida program minus a coach who’d lost his mojo doesn’t bode well for UGA’s prospects in Jacksonville and the SEC East. What do you think?

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216 comments Add your comment

wesleywhatwhat

December 9th, 2010
10:52 am

it means that FLA will continue to whip uga’s *ss with a new coach.

kbink9

December 9th, 2010
10:55 am

42-34 - Dawgs STILL Run This State

December 9th, 2010
10:58 am

Won’t be surprised to see CUM end up in Denver with his long-distance teary-eyed loverboy.

Bryan

December 9th, 2010
10:58 am

We are going to have an incredible recruiting class this year…We will re-claim our spot at the top of the SEC food chain! Go Dawgs!!

46-40

December 9th, 2010
11:00 am

I think UGA had a hard time beating FLA when Zook was there. Dreadfully, I don’t think it matters who’s the coach at FLA.

mmgtfan

December 9th, 2010
11:01 am

The biggest winner in all of this though is no doubt FSU. They are going to be LOADED for a while and Jimbo Fisher has done an outstanding job. But it will be a UGA-SC battle next year for the East.

Vladdy

December 9th, 2010
11:03 am

Meyer’s departure means nothing to UGA…if we couldn’t beat them this year, it ain’t going to happen until Richt is gone. Bryan….incredible recruiting class? Last I saw it was rated #15 (current) and many prospective signees don’t have UGA as their top school. Wish in one hand, poop in the other….oh well, you know the rest!

Elvis--"It's now or never.."

December 9th, 2010
11:06 am

Meyer’s departure is a huge opportunity for CMR and the Bulldawgs. This is reminiscent of the “Zook” era when CMR did NOT take advantage of passing by the Gators when the timing was right. Back then, UGA was climbing upward, and Florida was in disarray with a mediocre coach (Zook). We didn’t capitalize on or off the field, UF held on, hired Meyer and the chance to surpass the Gators was lost, sometimes seemingly forever. Richt has to now go for the jugular with recruiting and on the field starting in the bowl game, ironically against a Florida team (UCF). If he doesn’t do it NOW with the recruits and on the field in 2011, it’s bye-bye Markie and the entire football program will suffer greatly. This situation is either win big or lose big, and the question remains does CMR have the aggressiveness to seize the day.

wesleywhatwhat

December 9th, 2010
11:06 am

to add to the point made by “46-40″, ron zook went 2-1 against the bulldogs.

RON ZOOK!

yeah the same ron zook that has a lifetime record of 50-59.

let me repeat that – RON ZOOK has a lifetime winning percentage of .666% against uga.

so whoever coaches at florida doesn’t matter. but expect lots of beatdowns at the hands of dan mullen, who won 2 national titles at florida while the offensive coordinator.

Bremen Dawg

December 9th, 2010
11:07 am

We should have never lost to Florida this year. If we do have another 6-6 year, then I would like to see Mullen come to Athens.

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
11:08 am

It means UGA needs to go into the state of Florida NOW and rack up recruits.

Florida and Miami not having a coach, means all these boys are on the fence of UGA and Florida State.

Either way… sucks for Tech!!!!

(((((42-34)))))

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
11:12 am

LOVING the Tech trolls vicariously living through Florida.

UGA is 2-5 in the last 7 WLOCPs

Tech is 1-9 in the last COFHs

Makes you re-think “ownage”, doesn’t it Nerds??

Really?

December 9th, 2010
11:13 am

Vladdy, shows how much you know. The recruiting experts are projecting UGA will have a top 5 class. And the only reason UGA is #15 right now is because everyone in front of them has more players committed at this time. If you look at the average star rating UGA is near the top 5. But if you knew anything about recruiting you would know this already.

46-40

December 9th, 2010
11:14 am

wesleywhatwhat , Hopefully UGA will turn things around before I have to change my bolg name to 46-46.

Andy

December 9th, 2010
11:14 am

It’s too bad we couldn’t send Meyer out with a loss to UGA. I think the talk that Mullen was the real brains behind Meyer’s success is unfounded–the difference this year for UF was that Meyer wasn’t as committed and their quarterback wasn’t as good. We should always expect UF to be good and well coached, and plan to compete against that. If we can’t do that, then we need to make changes, not hope that UF screws up to our advantage.

46-40

December 9th, 2010
11:16 am

42-34
73-72
9-1
TECH sux

What it means for UGA

December 9th, 2010
11:16 am

Urban’s depaarture from U of F will offer ONE this result for UGA:

IF UGA faces either Miami or FSU in the coming two or three bowl seasons, UGA will have a far tougher chance of winning now.

UGA man, class of 71 & 73.

Florida Dawg

December 9th, 2010
11:16 am

Meyer leaving Florida doesn’t mean anything to us….Florida beat us when 5 other teams beat Florida and we still lost…same old…same old.

JB

December 9th, 2010
11:18 am

Dawgs will be going through this next year… I hate it, but Mark will be fired the weekend after beating Tech with a 7-5 record.Auburn is looking better even Camless. SC will be a load next year. Florida is loaded with 5 star guys and will be out of reach. Tenn. will be a tougher challenge in Knoxsville. Don’t forget Boise in the Dome opening day. Unless we have 6 or 7 true freshman DIFFERENCE MAKERS, we limp to 6 or 7 wins next year. Somebody who has studied this roster and staff tell me different, not just someone hoping.

Otto

December 9th, 2010
11:21 am

If UF hires Mullen or Strong, UF wins the east next year.

Frank Lane

December 9th, 2010
11:21 am

We should control our own destiny and not worry about who is coaching elsewhere.

46-40

December 9th, 2010
11:22 am

Andy, I totally diagree w/ you. Mullen was w/ Meyer at BG, Utah & FL. Meyer was hired at FL based on his offense, but you’ll notice that when Mullen left FL, the offense fell WAY off –even with Tebow there last yr. Meyer knew this which is why he quit after scoring 13 points in in the SEC Chmpnshp game last yr. He gave it another shot with Mullen & Tebow this time, & he went 7-5 –one of those losses coming at home against who?? Dan Mullen. Since when has MissSt out-recruited FL?? Mullen brought a bunch of no-names & beat Meyer in his own yard.
The proof is writen on the wall (and floor,ceiling,etc)

What we need

December 9th, 2010
11:28 am

We need Knowshon back!!! Just anything to spark this team. I’m hoping if we do get Crowell he can be that spark.

heyberto

December 9th, 2010
11:28 am

Mullen may be good for Florida, but it’s not as if he can replace the magic of the Meyer hey-day singlehandedly. Just as a head coach, even Meyer couldn’t maintain the intensity he had made so much a part of the job he did at Florida. They still don’t have Charlie Strong back as DC, and as good as the offense was at UF, his defenses were the difference maker. The big advantage with Mullen is that he can plug right in to the players and system that are already in place, and not miss much of a beat. With Mullen, I don’t buy that he’ll need a year to get settled.

JB

December 9th, 2010
11:28 am

Frank Lane…………..Key phase…………….Control our on Destiny……………….We need to learn from Arthur Blank…………..We need to hire professionals to run this team…..look at trends from this staff in athens….start with wins and loses….Then move to points allowed, red zone scoring, turnovers, penalties, time of possession etc…..All trending bad the last four years. Hell, even Miami of the ACC , who is not really on the map anymore fired their coach. I hoping for a better 2011, but study next years starters and you will see nothing other than 6 or 7 wins……….Murray IS the bright spot…..We will give up tons of points next year and score LESS IMO.

Bo

December 9th, 2010
11:29 am

I think that we need to look after our own house and not worry about Florida or any other team. If we take care of our business, it won’t matter how good or bad Florida’s coach is. Having said that, it would be nice to grab a couple of recruits who are on the fence.

UGA needs better line play on both sides of the ball. If the O-linemen can run block, this team is an offensive juggernaught. If the d-linemen can stop the run, UGA doesn’t lose to MSU, CO or SC. Maybe the strength coaching change will do it (along with a JUCO NT). I’d like to see Garner just be a recruiter and Grantham bring in a d-line coach who describes himself as a line coach first and foremost.

Observation

December 9th, 2010
11:30 am

All it means is that a new UF coach will whip Richt’s sorry underachieving butt. Heck, Richt even had a losing record to the Zooker, which is a disgrace. I still can’t believe that there are so many Richt apologists out there that continue to make excuses for his inexcusable underachievement and overall bad coaching.

guy

December 9th, 2010
11:37 am

fun fact: florida will have had more head coaches since 1990 than uga has wins in athens.

azdawg

December 9th, 2010
11:41 am

BK. With Meyers departure, 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 including GA 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 in 2011 to beat FL and have a good season.

guy

December 9th, 2010
11:41 am

*jacksonville rather

Bippitty Boppitty Boo

December 9th, 2010
11:49 am

Too bad UGA has to rely on a coach deciding to leave a program or a team having a down year before UGA can beat them. UGA is still in trouble and missed an opportunity to get rid of Richt and nab Mullen. Here’s food for thought …. I bet NOBODY on UGA’s coaching staff will be considered in coming to Florida or any other program for that matter. BTW the mentioning of Richt being considered a canidate for the Colorado job is like Tommy Bowden being considered for the Arkansas job a few years ago which was a joke. UGA is a joke right now…….

Macclenny_man

December 9th, 2010
11:50 am

Well looks like Florida will beat us again. They get Mullen who we would have went after had Richt been fired!!! They get a new coach to bring in some new ideas and FIRE!!! We get stuck with Richt laid back same ole approach that hasn’t worked since he quit calling plays!!! Boy that gets me SO EXCITED AS WELL AS THE RECRUITS!!! The reason Meyer even came back this year was because Jeremy Foley begged him because he had just lost his possible replacements due to them BOTH being hired by new teams!!! RICHT HAS TO FIRE BOBO NOW TO GET BACK SOME EXCITEMENT!!! HIRE A NEW SPECIAL TEAM COACH WHO WILL USE OUR SPECIAL TEAMS THE WAY THEY SHOULD!!!! 1 MORE SEASON RICHT SEC CHAMPIONSHIP OR HIT THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE!!!

Supes

December 9th, 2010
11:52 am

FLA needs an offensive minded coach, that much is sure.

Dan Mullen would be a good fit for them, if Petrino comes (fraking turncoat) then look for Brantley to actually excel at playing QB…but their team would be going through a “transition phase”…their players they have recruited aren’t suited for the pro style set right now.

I don’t think Bob S. is leaving Oklahoma…why leave now that the big 12 has been “weakened” and he’ll only have to win one game (against TX who is on the down slightly) to get that automatic BCS birth…it’ll be a tougher task in the SEC, money will be about the same and he’s already established the Sooners back to national power status, (even though they keep on chocking in their bowl games)

Charlie Strong is a defensive guy,,,not sure if that’s what FLA needs now except it’ll depend on who they bring in as their OC if that’s the case. He could be a good hire…he’s done OK at L’ville.

Peterson isn’t leaving BOISE…at least not yet. He likes playing in a mickey mouse conference where he can win 11-12 games per season.

Whittingham is an interesting name….he’s maintained Utah’s level of play after Meyer left there….I think that would be a good fit for sure.

Patterson isn’t leaving TCU….he’s not a young guy an they’ll be in the big east soon enough to contend for the BCS.

At the end of the day UGA has to worry about our own problems….Richt has issues (many) to correct….if not he will be holding a “retirement” conference real soon in Athens.

Bippitty Boppitty Boo

December 9th, 2010
11:54 am

guy

December 9th, 2010
11:54 am

Bippitty Boppitty Boo

December 9th, 2010
11:55 am

Ed (The Original)

December 9th, 2010
11:56 am

Georgia under Mark Richt was 1-2 against Ron Zook’s 5-loss Florida teams, so I’m not sure it really matters who coaches Florida as long as Richt is UGA’s coach.

If he didn’t beat them this year when Florida was down and Georgia had an obvious quarterback advantage, then when?

Bo

December 9th, 2010
11:57 am

azdawg, So which D-line recruits did Richt pass on? I can assure you that UGA went after every quality D-lineman that was eligible.

As for firing Grantham, the man has had only 1 year in Athens. Monte Kiffin is the only coach that I can think of that successfuly transitioned to the 3-4 in year 1. I think that UGA fans will be happy that he is here in years 2 and 3. We just need a NT and the defense gets light years better.

Ed (The Original)

December 9th, 2010
11:57 am

Supes

December 9th, 2010
12:02 pm

I know that Jon Gruden has an excellent relationship with Meyer and FLA, but I highly doubt he takes on a college football job…ever.

He is an NFL coach period, and a complete control freak…he wouldn’t want the hassle that comes with being a college head coach (having to answer for players, etc).

I’d be shocked if he comes to FLA to be their next head coach.

Time for a Change

December 9th, 2010
12:11 pm

As long as Richt is the head coach it won’t matter who is coaching at UF. He’s has proven on a consistent basis that he can’t beat them. So I’m hoping Coach Mullen doesn’t take the UF job and next year when Richt flops for a 3rd season in a row he will be around to take the UGA job. Richt needs to go and he needs to take Bobo with him!!

MURPHY

December 9th, 2010
12:14 pm

I dont see this effecting UGA in a big way.Maybe we get a couple extra recruits but it is and always will be Florida.What I mean by this is: I dont see Urban leaving will all of sudden make UGA a better program.I see us still struggling with them

MURPHY

December 9th, 2010
12:18 pm

Supes,

It wont be a NFL guy that gets the job at UF.

RxDawg

December 9th, 2010
12:19 pm

I think it means they are going to get a very solid coach in Dan Mullen. So this Dawg ain’t celebrating.

joe

December 9th, 2010
12:23 pm

What a stupid question Bill…..the same thing it meant when Spurrier left and Zook left……until this group of coaches and players quit making every excuse in the world why its hard to play in JAX- we will never win this game. Funny….during Dooleys years we didnt have a problem beating UF nor playing in JAX…..

bass stringerfish

December 9th, 2010
12:24 pm

I am getting really tired of all the negative talk on all the UGA blogs. Are you people serious? Fire Richt? Give me a break. Not going to happen and it shouldn’t. Having a record like he has? Who will come in and be told…”Hey Pal, you need to win 90% of your games or you’re out just like Richt.” How stupid is that? Why is it that it seems everyone who writes or blogs about the coaching change at UF will say “there will be a transition no matter who comes in…” and why is it that most of you don’t give Grantham the same benefit? I have not seen but a few state that had the defense played a bit better this year, then we would have had 2-3 more wins. Scoring was NOT an issue in Athens this year…One would think with Samuel and Jarvis Jones coming in that the D will right itself…UF lost games BAD. UGA lost games because of one play here or there…a fumble, etc…we didn’t get beat and blown off the field until Auburn 2nd Half. There was a difference. Why we didn’t beat UF? I don’t know…and to the person who says we should follow Blank and hire professionals to run the program? Really? McGarrity and Richt are not professional?
You people need to relax. We do have better coaches now, we will have a solid defense, we will have the best kicking game in the nation and our offense will be fine…and recruiting…stay tuned, it will be excellent – AND the kids will be coached up…Meyer’s leaving only helps with a couple recruits (mainly – hopefully Ray Drew and Rome).
I for one am excited about the future of the Bulldogs.

And BTW, living up here in Utah…something is definately up with Whittingham…he was REALLY tight lipped when asked about the UF job, Urban, etc…even the sports commentators said “hmmmm…”

DawgByte

December 9th, 2010
12:25 pm

Urban leaving Florida helps Georgia in the short term… the long term is based on many factors we can’t forsee. If Florida had a brain fart and hired Sylvestor Crum we’d be in the driver seat for a while. I don’t think that’s going to happen.

We should not be focusing on Florida. We need to get our own ship turned around. I am confident Mark Richt can turn it around.

SNOOP DOG

December 9th, 2010
12:26 pm

dont really care who coaches UF.

Mooty Squarefinger

December 9th, 2010
12:27 pm

(((42-34)))
(((73-72)))
(((9-1)))
(((5-IARB @ Bobby Dodd)))

We own Tech. Life is good!

DawgNation

December 9th, 2010
12:28 pm

I hear Chan Gaily is available.