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Week: December 2 – December 8

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Written by Daniel Thompson, December 9, 2014, 7 Comments,
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Finally.

After weeks of endless speculation, rumors, and “sources”, the Florida Gators finally have their head coach – Jim McElwain.

McElwain has been lauded by numerous people in the business as a great leader, talented motivator, bright, creative, tenacious recruiter, sarcastic, dry, and one of the top up-and-coming names in all of college football.

The McElwain era has started in Gainesville.

Jeremy Foley Deserves Respect

//steps on soapbox

*clears throat* Ahem.

Last Wednesday was a day of shock for me reading the message boards. I normally enjoy reading through your threads — making comments when necessary – but on Wednesday I could barely contain myself. I was reading thread after thread about how Jeremy Foley had failed, how he should be fired, how he was hosed by the Colorado State President, how he was a terrible negotiator, and how we looked terrible to the rest of the country because Florida couldn’t convince a coach from Colorado State to come to UF.

Foley is considered, if not the best, one of the best, Athletic Directors in the country, but the amount of disrespect I read about him is just a bit overboard.

Nobody, except for about seven people, were involved in the negotiations on Wednesday and Thursday, and I am willing to bet none of them were posting on Twitter or message boards. The endless speculation about how Jeremy Foley failed was frustrating to me, because I know a lot about the industry (more below), and how quick people were to judge Foley and call him a failure caused me to close the old Internet browser and Twitter machine for the night and catch a movie.

In the end, Foley proved just about everyone wrong. Foley ended up getting a great deal on a very hard-lined $7.5 million buyout and got the coach they had been targeting from the beginning.

Put your self in Foley’s shoes for a second. Do you know how difficult it is to negotiate a $7.5 million buy-out with a school that you are taking their head coach? Not easy. How did it work out for Foley? $3 million payment over time, a home game that you had to schedule in the future, and had McElwain put skin in the game. Incredible work.

I think this is a good lesson in life, temper thoughts and stop speaking in absolutes, unless you are absolutely sure something happened a particular way.

// steps off soapbox.

 

A Note on Coaching Searches

As many of you know, although some may not, I work in the executive head hunting space for a living (and write for Gator Country). That role allows me access to the world of recruiting, offers, counter-offers, and accepting/declining offers.

So as a note about coaching searches, agents are much more likely to throw names out there than any inside program source. How much was it worth for Jimmy Sexton to throw Hugh Freeze’s name around? Probably about $50,000 for his company, or more, per year on top of what he was making from him already.

If Florida was indeed talking to Jim McElwain, or about him, for numerous weeks, at least one of those calls was going to his agent before reaching out to him last Sunday. Guess who McElwain’s agent is? Jimmy Sexton.

Ergo, when rumors were running rampant about Hugh Freeze last Wednesday – Friday, you have to believe Sexton had talked about McElwain with Foley or Florida representatives. Sexton is not stupid. Pimp his guy’s name out there and talk about his other guy low-key, knowing that he just got a new deal a few months ago. It’s perfect and he gets richer, while getting his guy a job at the program he wants.

Hugh Freeze never had an offer from UF. Neither did Bob Stoops. Or anyone other than Jim McElwain.

 

Statistical Analysis from Colorado State

It is widely known that Jim McElwain went 22-16 as Head Coach at Colorado State – inheriting a team that had three straight 3-9 seasons and one winning season in the previous eight years. After a 4-8 record his first season, McElwain improved to 8-6 in the second year, with a win against Mike Leach and Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl, and then went 10-2 before heading to Florida.

In his first season at Colorado State, the team struggled on both offense and defense, but I don’t blame McElwain – talent was weak and his system takes a little bit of time to instill. His team had the 102nd ranked offense (Florida was 104th) and 70th ranked defense. But he was focused on 2013.

In 2013, we saw a big improvement. They won eight games, lost six, but of those six losses, five of them were by 14 points or less. His offense climbed up to 24th in the country in total offense, but his defense slipped to 81st, but that drop was only a difference in about eight yards per game. But other things improved. His turnover margin went from 91st to 52nd; time of possession went from 106th to 42nd; long scrimmage plays (10+ yards) grew from 107th to 29th; and first downs per game went from 104th to 39th. In 2013, Colorado State was one of only six teams to finish in the top-30 nationally in rushing and passing per game (Baylor, FSU, Indiana, Marshall, and Oregon, were the others).

In year three, McElwain’s team really hit their stride. Quarterback Garrett Grayson became one of the prolific passers in the FBS, ranking sixth in the country in passing yards per game. Alabama transfer Dee Hart ranked 31st in the country with 104.5 rushing yards per game. And, wide receiver Rashard Higgins ranked first in the country with 149.10 yards per game receiving, while also leading the country in touchdown receptions. Their total offense rose to 12th in the country and were ranked fourth in the country in yards per play. Colorado State’s 3,915 yards passing ranked ninth in the country. (A fun fact: It wasn’t until Will Muschamp’s 22nd game that UF combined for more than 3,915 yards passing yards.)

More coming in further weeks.

 

Must Read Articles of the Week

Song of the Week

One of my favorite artists is Jamey Johnson, someone that you won’t hear much of on the radio. He has an incredible voice, is in the outlaw country space, and is the exact opposite of just about anything you hear on the radio — in terms of attitude, performance, and lyrics.

Here are two awesome performances.

Daniel Thompson

About Daniel Thompson

Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan works as an Executive Head Hunter for a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, gin, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan has previously covered the Gators extensively on BourbonMeyer.com; on Twitter @DK_Thompson; and as the administrator of TheGatorsDaily.com.

  1. ctreshDecember 9, 2014, 9:28 am

    Daniel, thanks for the comments about Foley. A lot of people get worked up about things on here, including myself sometimes, before they come to fruition. Foley is by far the best AD in the country, just look at how dominant our other sports are.

    Also, thanks for throwing in some outlaw country this week. I haven’t heard Jamey Johnson before, but I look forward to listening to some of his songs soon.

  2. gator_n_scDecember 9, 2014, 9:49 am

    Good stuff! For anybody who took a quick minute to do some research on coach mac knows this was a great, well thought out hire. The guy simply works magic and turns programs around. We seen the start of bama’s dominance in ’08 when they fell just short to us. That just so happens to be coach mac’s 1st year there, and followed that season by winning 2 of the next 3 titles. And bama got a third the year after with mac’s recruits and the OC he recommended.

    He turned around csu as we all know. This guy is just what the doctor ordered and Foley negotiated this beautifully by essentially bot having to pay the buyout by mac paying 2 mil himself and Foley saved .5 million by getting mac at only 3.5 a year over 6 years. In this market of coaches, McElwain would easily gotten 4 mil a year next year by somebody.

    • snowprintDecember 9, 2014, 6:55 pm

      Where do think McElwain is getting the money? Don’t hand me this nonsense about what a great deal Foley made. CSU wanted 7.5 and got 7 million. The net is .5 million CSU came down. To save face Foley payed McElwain more than his market value. If you think McElwain was worth 3.5 million a year i don’t think you’re paying attention. It doesn’t matter, if that’s who Foley wanted, it’s worth it is Foley is right about McElwain. Foley did look stupid when he balked at paying what he knew was the price before he ever left Gainesville. That McElwain was willing to help him save face is great, but it’s silly to think McElwain is paying anything to come to Florida.
      I think Foley is an egotistical clown, but I hope he chose wisely this time. No one cares about the other sports. FSU just won a title in women’s soccer, who gives a rat’s ass?

    • snowprint80December 10, 2014, 4:32 pm

      In other words (for those not sure what I just tried to do there) – GUYS I WAS NOT WRONG!! I AM NOT WRONG ABOUT THIS SITUATION!! EVERYTHING I SAID LAST WEEK WHEN I CALLED FOLEY AND IDIOT. CLAIMED COACH MAC WAS NOT COMING. THAT FOLEY SCREWED THE POOCH. THAT FLORIDA WOULD END UP PAYING THE ENTIRE BUYOUT. ALL OF THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!!!! PLEASE LISTEN TO ME HERE. I ATTACKED A POSTER BECAUSE I THINK THAT YOU’RE ALL THINKING I MESSED UP AND PUT MY FOOT IN MY MOUTH, BUT I DID NOT DO THAT!!! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG, I TELL YA!!!

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyDecember 11, 2014, 12:46 pm

      Foley didn’t pay the whole buyout

  3. scooterpDecember 10, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Snowflake is still a clown. …couldn’t help himself

  4. peteralexhillDecember 11, 2014, 3:28 pm

    SNOWPRINT LOVES THE NOLES

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/USATSI_8253387_166229722_lowres-150x150.jpg Daniel Thompson FeatureFootballThe Latest ,,
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Finally.

After weeks of endless speculation, rumors, and “sources”, the Florida Gators finally have their head coach – Jim McElwain.

McElwain has been lauded by numerous people in the business as a great leader, talented motivator, bright, creative, tenacious recruiter, sarcastic, dry, and one of the top up-and-coming names in all of college football.

The McElwain era has started in Gainesville.

Jeremy Foley Deserves Respect

//steps on soapbox

*clears throat* Ahem.

Last Wednesday was a day of shock for me reading the message boards. I normally enjoy reading through your threads — making comments when necessary – but on Wednesday I could barely contain myself. I was reading thread after thread about how Jeremy Foley had failed, how he should be fired, how he was hosed by the Colorado State President, how he was a terrible negotiator, and how we looked terrible to the rest of the country because Florida couldn’t convince a coach from Colorado State to come to UF.

Foley is considered, if not the best, one of the best, Athletic Directors in the country, but the amount of disrespect I read about him is just a bit overboard.

Nobody, except for about seven people, were involved in the negotiations on Wednesday and Thursday, and I am willing to bet none of them were posting on Twitter or message boards. The endless speculation about how Jeremy Foley failed was frustrating to me, because I know a lot about the industry (more below), and how quick people were to judge Foley and call him a failure caused me to close the old Internet browser and Twitter machine for the night and catch a movie.

In the end, Foley proved just about everyone wrong. Foley ended up getting a great deal on a very hard-lined $7.5 million buyout and got the coach they had been targeting from the beginning.

Put your self in Foley’s shoes for a second. Do you know how difficult it is to negotiate a $7.5 million buy-out with a school that you are taking their head coach? Not easy. How did it work out for Foley? $3 million payment over time, a home game that you had to schedule in the future, and had McElwain put skin in the game. Incredible work.

I think this is a good lesson in life, temper thoughts and stop speaking in absolutes, unless you are absolutely sure something happened a particular way.

// steps off soapbox.

 

A Note on Coaching Searches

As many of you know, although some may not, I work in the executive head hunting space for a living (and write for Gator Country). That role allows me access to the world of recruiting, offers, counter-offers, and accepting/declining offers.

So as a note about coaching searches, agents are much more likely to throw names out there than any inside program source. How much was it worth for Jimmy Sexton to throw Hugh Freeze’s name around? Probably about $50,000 for his company, or more, per year on top of what he was making from him already.

If Florida was indeed talking to Jim McElwain, or about him, for numerous weeks, at least one of those calls was going to his agent before reaching out to him last Sunday. Guess who McElwain’s agent is? Jimmy Sexton.

Ergo, when rumors were running rampant about Hugh Freeze last Wednesday – Friday, you have to believe Sexton had talked about McElwain with Foley or Florida representatives. Sexton is not stupid. Pimp his guy’s name out there and talk about his other guy low-key, knowing that he just got a new deal a few months ago. It’s perfect and he gets richer, while getting his guy a job at the program he wants.

Hugh Freeze never had an offer from UF. Neither did Bob Stoops. Or anyone other than Jim McElwain.

 

Statistical Analysis from Colorado State

It is widely known that Jim McElwain went 22-16 as Head Coach at Colorado State – inheriting a team that had three straight 3-9 seasons and one winning season in the previous eight years. After a 4-8 record his first season, McElwain improved to 8-6 in the second year, with a win against Mike Leach and Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl, and then went 10-2 before heading to Florida.

In his first season at Colorado State, the team struggled on both offense and defense, but I don’t blame McElwain – talent was weak and his system takes a little bit of time to instill. His team had the 102nd ranked offense (Florida was 104th) and 70th ranked defense. But he was focused on 2013.

In 2013, we saw a big improvement. They won eight games, lost six, but of those six losses, five of them were by 14 points or less. His offense climbed up to 24th in the country in total offense, but his defense slipped to 81st, but that drop was only a difference in about eight yards per game. But other things improved. His turnover margin went from 91st to 52nd; time of possession went from 106th to 42nd; long scrimmage plays (10+ yards) grew from 107th to 29th; and first downs per game went from 104th to 39th. In 2013, Colorado State was one of only six teams to finish in the top-30 nationally in rushing and passing per game (Baylor, FSU, Indiana, Marshall, and Oregon, were the others).

In year three, McElwain’s team really hit their stride. Quarterback Garrett Grayson became one of the prolific passers in the FBS, ranking sixth in the country in passing yards per game. Alabama transfer Dee Hart ranked 31st in the country with 104.5 rushing yards per game. And, wide receiver Rashard Higgins ranked first in the country with 149.10 yards per game receiving, while also leading the country in touchdown receptions. Their total offense rose to 12th in the country and were ranked fourth in the country in yards per play. Colorado State’s 3,915 yards passing ranked ninth in the country. (A fun fact: It wasn’t until Will Muschamp’s 22nd game that UF combined for more than 3,915 yards passing yards.)

More coming in further weeks.

 

Must Read Articles of the Week

Song of the Week

One of my favorite artists is Jamey Johnson, someone that you won’t hear much of on the radio. He has an incredible voice, is in the outlaw country space, and is the exact opposite of just about anything you hear on the radio — in terms of attitude, performance, and lyrics.

Here are two awesome performances.

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