It is hard to believe, but we have another college football season in the books and, boy, was it interesting. While we look toward another football off-season full of hot takes, the NFL draft, and boredom, for Florida it means new coaches, a new regime, a new playbook, and a new hope. You have to applaud Coach Jim McElwain’s ability to secure a coaching staff that is attracting recruits, revitalizing a fan base, and on paper, looks stronger than any staff Will Muschamp put together. It is a mixture of experience, recruiting prowess, and familiarity with each other that is important for any staff.
Now, with just a few weeks to go before National Signing Day, this staff must, must, must, close on a few of the bigger names in the country, and fill the class with as many quality players as possible, but they must also realize that they don’t need to completely fill the class with space holders because that only hinders the quality 2016, 2017, and 2018 class, but they still need folks that can be solid practice bodies and most importantly, potentially play. It is an interesting recruiting class and much different than Zook, Meyer, or Muschamp’s first class – primarily because all three of those folks had solid foundations and a dead period that was about two weeks shorter.
Rumors were a flutter over the past few days that the Gators would hire Oregon wide receiver coach Matt Lubick for the same position at Florida. Many reported the hire as nearly factual and used their sources to back it up. So far, we are unsure if that will actually happen, but here a few opinions on the concept of hiring.
For those of you that don’t know, I am a head hunter in real life in the technology sector in Tampa, Fla. My daily life consists of interviewing folks, extending offers, countering offers, accepting offers, discussing counter offers, and transitioning into and out of offers. So I know the hiring business pretty well. Ergo, when we heard that Lubick would be signing a deal there was a lot that got us there. First, we have to assume mutual interest, then an interview, then an offer, then acceptance, then Lubick telling Oregon he would be leaving, then Lubick following through, all the while, preparing for the National Championship game versus Ohio State. Many sources, including a few of my own, said that Lubick would be hired, then Lubick said after the game that he would not be going to Florida, and then the wheels (for now) have kind of fallen off. While many people are quick to point fingers, guess what, it happens all the time!
While very few people know the entire situation, Lubick could have accepted and reneged; Lubick could have not accepted an offer on the table; Lubick could have never been offered the job; or Lubick could have never been considered for the job. Based on our sources, the first two are the most likely scenarios and things spiraled out of control quicker than they should have, but like I said, things could have changed quickly and an offer could have been accepted and turned down after the game or after thinking about it. Perhaps it was family, perhaps it was nervousness, perhaps it was unfinished business, perhaps it was never going to happen – we may never know.
It is a tough environment reporters work in. They are asked to report facts quickly, and while they need to be true facts, speed is an important part of that. There were sources very, very close to program reporting this to be fact and something has obviously changed. I don’t blame reporters because hiring is a very tough business and it is the most emotional part of college football coaching because you are moving jobs (which is considered one of the top-5 most stressful life events), moving a family, and risking your career – and things can change in an instant.
The Gators will hire a wide receiver coach – maybe Lubick, maybe not – but it will happen soon.
Gerald Willis Thoughts
On Tuesday, Kassidy Hill broke the news that Gerald Willis would be staying at UF academically and would appeal the athletic suspension. Obviously the good news is that he is still in school. However, the bad news is that he is still suspended and has had two chances. We will learn quite a bit about Coach Jim McElwain during this process because he was technically the one that let him go after an altercation with a teammate. McElwain will show what type of coach he is (and I understand it is not as simple as this): Urban Meyer, who allowed multiple chances for players, or Will Muschamp, who quickly showed that he would not allow multiple chances, e.g. Janoris Jenkins.
Ultimately, I believe Willis would be a good candidate to keep on campus, see how he performs on campus in his classes and how he does on his own workout plan and assess how well he is taking responsibility. Because at the end of the day, Gerald Willis has a personal responsibility problem and he needs to address it, meaning the best way he can make his way back on to the playing field is by earning his way on to the football team.
Gerald Willis would be a very important asset to the Florida football defensive line next season, but it should not be without him earning his spot.
Last week, Steve Spurrier said, “Some day we’re all going to have big, fancy beautiful facilities, and guess what? Somebody is still going to lose.”
That is the most perfect statement ever because at the end of the day, fancy indoor practice facilities, waterfalls, and coaches offices can only do so much.
We often discuss and debate arms races and spending tons of money to compete and often forget that there is a point that spending countless millions on facilities is not worth the investment and not the best use of space on University campuses because there are always going to be teams that have beautiful, new facilities and losing records and teams with older, lesser facilities winning games.
Profound, Mr. Spurrier, profound.
Must Read Articles of the Week
- Elizabeth Svoboda | The Power of Story
- Kim-mai Cutler | East of Palo Alto’s Eden
- Andrew O’Hagan | Ghosting: Confessions of a WikiLeaks Ghostwriter
- Wells Tower | Who Wants To Shoot An Elephant?
Song of the Week
Last week, I went to Nashville for a work trip. On that trip, our company hosted a private party and featured singer/songwriter Chris Janson as the main entertainer. I have listen to Janson for the past two years, but I never realized how good of a performer he was — until last Thursday. He is great on the guitar, killer on the harmonica, and an incredible singer.
Check him out.