Jim McElwain has been out in Gainesville for only a few hours at this point but that hasn’t stopped rampant speculation as to who will replace him as the head coach of the Florida Gators. On Monday, ESPN’s Paul Finebaum joined the party in speaking with Jox 94.5 FM in Alabama and, while he mentioned a myriad of candidates including Scott Frost and Charlie Strong, much of the focus was on Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.
Mullen was famously an assistant at Florida before taking the job in Starkville and Finebaum notes the “relationship with Florida athletic director Scott Stricken” in outlining his thinking. Still, the headliner is likely that Finebaum believes Mullen is “ready for a change” from his current setting.
“Dan Mullen came up a lot the last time and some reported that there was a little bit of a rub between Jeremy Foley and Dan Mullen, but Scott Stricklin’s in a tough spot there. I don’t think he wants to be perceived as taking away Mullen from Mississippi State where he once worked and has many friends.
“But on the other hand — I’ve said this constantly and you guys have heard me, Dan Mullen is ready for a change. And every time I say that Mississippi State fans push back and say, ‘He doesn’t.’ But he’s been there a long time and this would be an opportunity. I think Dan Mullen would be on the shortlist at both Tennessee and Florida.”
Mullen was always going to be a candidate given his resume and ties to Gainesville, but Finebaum (rightly) notes that the Gators will be looking for “somebody that’s offensive minded” and a coach “who can develop a quarterback.” Both characteristics can be found in Dan Mullen and the rumor mill will churn as a result.
We might be a long way from Florida actually making a hire, but Mullen makes a ton of sense.