GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we breakdown the hiring of Dan Mullen and what it means for the Florida Gators and how he fits the program.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown why we think Mullen can be successful at Florida, plus who he’s bringing with him on this staff.
Andrew and Nick also look at who he’s recruiting and who fits his program, plus we talk about the other coaching searches around the country.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we got a lot to talk about, my friend. New football coach in town. Things are rolling.
Nick: Yeah. Dan Mullen’s not wasting any time on the recruiting front. There’s about 20 days left, 21 days left, three weeks, till that early signing period, so no time to waste.
Andrew: No time to waste. Got in, and cleaned house. Randy Shannon, you’re fired. Best news of the day, Nick.
Nick: I’m not going to be celebrating anyone getting fired. Than can be your thing. I think Randy did a good job the last month that he was here.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, when you hear things about Randy, and I know some players are taking up for Randy, and that’s fine and dandy, whatever. Whatever he did. End of the discussion with Randy Shannon before we move on is this. He caused a lot of divide. He caused a lot of people to not like him. He caused terrible decisions in recruiting, him and his Randy specials, and him just straight up disrespecting people not from South Florida. It was old-school. Nick, I know you’re from South Florida, and maybe that’s the reason you like Randy Shannon. You’ve heard some of the stories I’ve told you about Randy Shannon. Straight up, he was disrespectful. He deserves what he’s got, and that’s it.
Dan Mullen’s the new chief in town, Nick. I’m going to tell you, straight up, I’m excited.
Nick: Let’s get into how this all happened.
Nick: Obviously, this wasn’t the old Jeremy Foley/Jim McElwain special where it was this is the only person we talked to, that nonsense where you know it’s not true. It better not be true, because you better not only talk to one person if you’re trying to hire a coach at the University of Florida. You better talk to as many people as you can and do your due diligence.
Nick: Obviously, they went up and talked to Chip. They beat around and inquired about Scott Frost. I think Scott Strickland and the people, he kept a very tight circle for this search, but I think they did their due diligence, and they asked aroun.
Andrew: Right. Here’s the thing, Scott Strickland was honest about things, Nick. That’s what I respect about Strickland. I know Chip Kelly’s out there saying he was never offered a contract by Florida. That’s bullshit. That’s bullshit. We both know he was offered a contract by Florida, whatever. He was offered a deal to come to Florida. It is what it is, but I’m very appreciative of the way Scott Strickland handled this deal. Listen, Nick, I know people are going to say that you and I are spinning this. I’ve told you stories in the past about why I like Dan Mullen. Granted, you’re my only witness to this, but I like the hiring of Dan Mullen.
Nick: The reason why I like it is, and I think it’s something that I wrote my story about it right after he was hired, Florida’s a tough job. It’s a place where you can win big. We say it all the time, Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia are probably the best states as far as recruiting. Not probably, those are. Florida’s got a lot of expectations, and there is nobody in the country, outside of the Meyer family and the Spurrier family, that understands that more than Mullen, because he was here for probably the most successful run in Florida history.
Listen, you and I were fans back then, and fans weren’t happy. We didn’t win enough. We didn’t win by enough this week. That became the expectation. What? You only beat Georgia by 20? That’s not acceptable. I mean, when things are going well, those are kind of the expectations. Dan Mullen knows that. Here’s the thing, he embraced it. He knew exactly what it was, and he embraced it. You can’t say that about any of the other candidates.
Andrew: Listen, Nick, you said it right. You and I were fans back then. I was taking recruits to Florida games when I was coaching high school football back then. It was fun. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Dan Mullen several times. I even showed you a little old-school picture of the younger Goat, Andrew Spivey, back in the day.
Anyway, here’s the thing for me, Nick. Whoever came to Florida needed to embrace the former players, needed to embrace the role of the Florida Gator’s head coach, needed to embrace the history. Dan Mullen did that. Dan Mullen did that hopping off the plane, when he started doing the Gator chomp. Listen, money talks. $6 million a year, or whatever it is, is going to make you happy, but he looked like a kid in a candy store. He was very excited when he got off that plane.
Listen, everybody has a great opening press conference. Everybody in America has a great opening press conference. Jim McElwain stole the show when he said his dog Clarabelle could win at quarterback. Didn’t happen, but everybody loved that. Everybody wins the opening press conference. They just do. Dan Mullen did something else though, Nick. He rallied a fanbase. He rallied the former players. That’s special.
Nick: There’s a lot of really good players that are from those teams that Dan was there for that will come back, and I think it’s still names that these recruits will recognize. Even back from ’08, you’re talking about Tebow, Spikes, Dunlap, Major Wright, Ahmad Black, Janoris Jenkins. You and I are getting old, but these are names that these kids still remember.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m going to name drop this one, and we’re seven minutes into this podcast, and I’m already name dropping it. Justin Fields. First time I ever talked to Justin Fields he brought up Tim Tebow and Dan Mullen. First time I ever talked to him up in Atlanta, when I met him and his father at his school. Talked about Tebow, watching Tebow and that kind of stuff. Listen, Tim Tebow is still a big, big name. Let’s face it, Nick, Tim Tebow wasn’t a supporter of the University of Florida under Will Muschamp and under Jim McElwain. Why? I don’t know.
Nick: He was always supportive of Florida.
Andrew: You know what I mean when I say not supportive of Florida. He wasn’t going out of his way to help the University of Florida. He’s going to go out of his way to help Dan Mullen. Him and Dan Mullen are very, very close. Dan Mullen told the stories during his opening press conference about him coming over to his house when they were in town for SEC Nation. I would argue that him and Dan Mullen are closer than him and Urban Meyer.
Nick: That was his offensive coordinator. That was his coach. Yeah.
Andrew: Exactly. We’ll see. There’s a lot of former players that have went on Twitter coming back for it, and current players are also very excited about it. So far, the positive traction on the recruiting trail has been there. Dan Mullen’s been good for it. He retained four coaches from the staff. He retained Tim Skipper, Ja’juan Seider, Chris Rumph, Brad Davis, and then he brought in former Gator coaches Billy Gonzales and John Hevesy. Those are two big ones that he brought in.
Nick: You think Percy Harvin’s going to come back?
Andrew: No. He still has a headache somewhere. Probably smoking weed. Anyway, still, that’s a solid, strong six, Nick. Solid, strong six that he has. I would say he picked the best four to stay.
Nick: I agree with that. It’ll be interesting to me to see who he gets for the coordinator spots. Obviously, I think Dan will be calling his own plays on offense, so you try to find somebody who’s going to be the offensive coordinator it’ll be what position are they coaching as well.
Andrew: It’s probably going to be Billy and John.
Nick: Yeah. Just to see what their roles will be, because they haven’t been officially named. Billy will be mostly likely receivers coach, and John mostly will be the offensive line coach. Do you split the offensive line up? As we talked before, is John Hevesy going to be coaching the interior line, with Brad Davis coaching tight ends and tackles? Just to see how that splits up.
Another interesting name is Todd Grantham. I’ve been told Dan Mullen would like to have him be the defensive coordinator, but Grantham’s got a son who’s in high school. That’s a tough age to uproot your child, when they’re in high school. I think, to me, that’s probably the one thing that Grantham is going back and forth about before he decides if he’s going to come to Florida or not. Do I want to uproot my son, who only has a couple more years left in high school before he’s going off to college?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, that’s a big one. It’ll be interesting to kind of see where that goes. Listen, I know everyone has something to say about Todd Grantham, but let’s just put facts where facts are. He’s a hell of a defensive coordinator. Nick, I don’t have this stat in front of me, so if I’m wrong, tell me. Went from in the one hundreds at Mississippi State to #9 in the country in total defense. Get out of here.
Nick: Yeah. He’s got some history with Florida, too. He was obviously at Georgia for a little while, so fans will remember him. He might be one of those guys that you like when he’s on your team, and you don’t when he’s not, like a Kevin Garnett.
Andrew: That’s exactly what it is. Here’s the thing though. Florida lost that fire on defense, maybe he brings it back.
Nick: What do you mean?
Andrew: Florida played with no fire on defense this year, and I don’t care what you say. They played with no fire. Todd Grantham’s a fiery guy. Like you said, he’s pissed a lot of people off, and he’s going to piss a lot of people off. Maybe he brings that fire back to the defense.
Nick: Maybe. I think the defense was so young. I expect the defense to be good again next year. They were just so young this year. You look at the guys that got experience. Shoot, Zach Carter, who I think is still a good player, didn’t even get that much experience. You look at Conliffe. You’re looking at all four of the defensive linemen. The secondary I think is set.
I think Florida’s got, it’s that last recruiting class, really the last one, the 2017 class, I think they kind of realized those first two classes we had to out of necessity go a little heavier on offense. It’s like I said when Jim McElwain first got here, you can’t ignore the defense, because Muschamp’s defenses were so good that those players are only going to be here for three years. If you spend your first recruiting class on mostly offense, you’re going to start seeing that dip off on defense. I think they had a really good class in 2017.
Andrew: Absolutely. Here’s the thing, too. They were hit by the injury bugs at positions like linebacker, and that’s a key. Then they weren’t coached up very well by Randy Shannon at safety. That’s a position they’re going to continue to grow at. Another thing is it’s a position they were young at, at safety. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
To the offensive side of the ball, Nick, and a look at Dan Mullen. You think about what he does. Florida has some of those pieces to do well. You think about Kadarius Toney, Dre Massey. You think about Kemore Gamble at tight end. You think about Perine and Malik Davis, and even Adarius Lemons. Those kind of all complement each other and are able to really run a Mullen offense. Just need a quarterback.
Nick: Yeah. Here’s the thing. I want to clarify, obviously I said early on, “He needs to get a quarterback, because when he’s been ultra successful, when he’s had his best seasons, he’s had a very particular kind of quarterback.” People, everybody, want to tell me, “Look at Chris Leak. That’s not Chris Leak.” I get that. Chris Leak didn’t do well his junior season, which was their first year with Mullen. Urban and Dan kind of changed the offense, started using a fullback more, asking Leak to do a bit less running before that Georgia game, and then you win four out of your last five there during your first season.
He doesn’t have a quarterback. Maybe people will look at Kyle Trask, because Trask is 6’4”, 6’5”, 230. Kyle Trask can run. You’re not going to ask Kyle Trask to run. He can get away from stuff if he needs to, but you’re not going to ask him to run like a Tim Tebow or a Zack Prescott, Alex Smith, Nick Fitzgerald. They’re not going to ask him to run in the way that you would ask those guys to run. That’s when I think Dan Mullen has his best offenses.
Has he shown the ability to mold the offense around players? Yes. But when he’s had those teams, the team at Mississippi State that was the first to be ranked #1 ever, when he won championships at Florida, he had that guy that he could run his offense through. I don’t think you have that. I don’t think that’s Matt Corral either. You and I, we’ve talked to Matt. We’ve had him on the podcast. I think he’s a great quarterback. I think Dan Mullen could figure something out, but he’s just not that guy. He’s not that type of quarterback.
Andrew: No. Here’s the thing. People’s asked me about Matt all the time. Listen, if Matt Corral signs with Florida, Dan Mullen’s going to figure out a way to be successful with Matt Corral.
Andrew: That’s that. Dan Mullen said it best. He said, “We adjust our offense around our quarterback.” That’s what any great offensive mind does. When he started naming things that he wants out of a quarterback, Nick, I couldn’t hit a checkbox on Feleipe Franks on any of those.
Andrew: That’s just what it is. That’s going to be a situation where we’ll see. I’ve went on ahead and said I think Florida needs to add two quarterbacks this year. If you can get a Matt Corral, and then go get a dual-threat guy, good. Good. Go do it. I think that’s something that Dan Mullen has to do this year.
Nick: Obviously, Justin Fields is the name, but who are some other names there?
Andrew: You had the quarterback Mayden out in Texas. That’s a name that is going to be continued to be talked about, because he was committed to Mullen at Mississippi State. Another one is Jarren Williams, the quarterback out of Georgia that was committed to Kentucky. Now is getting looks from Miami. Ohio State’s pushing for him. There’s a lot of schools pushing for him right now.
Here’s the thing that I think people need to remember, and that is Dan Mullen is known for his quarterbacks. Dan Mullen’s going to be able to get his quarterbacks. That’s not a question mark. Someone said, “Why didn’t Dan Mullen get Justin Fields to commit to Mississippi State?” Really? Justin Fields is the #1 player in the country. He’s not going to Mississippi State. He’s not.
Nick: That’s something that when people point out his record against Alabama, and people point out his record against LSU, I don’t want to make any excuse, but it’s Mississippi State. It’s one of the programs that has the least amount of funding, the least amount of history when it comes to football, and Dan Mullen was one of the most successful coaches there. You’re just not playing on the same field as Alabama, LSU when it comes to funds and being able to recruit those players.
Andrew: Listen, you’re not recruiting at the level those guys are. You’re recruiting a lot of Juco guys, not because you want to, but because out of necessity. You have to. I think people overlook that sometimes when they talk about it. They say, “That’s an excuse.” No, it’s not. It’s not an excuse at all. Look at James Franklin at Vandy. Look at him at Penn State. I mean, you look at these guys. I saw something, and I haven’t double checked this, but Dan Mullen is the first coach to leave on his own from Mississippi State, not to get fired. Think about things like that.
I just go back to my point of Dan Mullen’s going to be able to get quarterbacks, and that’s going to be a situation he’s going to fix, and I have no hesitation to say that. Everywhere he’s been, he’s had a quarterback. Nick Fitzgerald was a nobody until Dan Mullen got him. He wasn’t even a quarterback in high school. Look at him now.
Again, I don’t think you worry about that too much. I know people are saying, “You better not piss of Matt Corral to get Justin Fields.” Listen, Dan Mullen didn’t recruit Matt Corral. Here’s another thing, Florida fans, you want to be great? You want to win championships? You should want your coach to recruit who he thinks is the best. Agree or disagree?
Nick: I agree. I agree to the whole point that you should be thankful that Matt Corral has been around, and I get that, but it’s a tough part of recruiting. You are thankful to Matt Corral for committing over the summer, and for being faithful the entire year, but it’s a new coach. You can’t say, “Dan, we already have a quarterback, so don’t get one this year. Start looking next year.”
Andrew: Right. I think you try to find a way to get Matt in this class. He’s a good quarterback. Let’s not get away from the fact that he’s a good quarterback. He has done well to keep this class together. He’s stayed faithful. Try to get both of them in the class. Will it happen? I don’t know. We’ll see.
Nick: Yeah. To me, if Dan Mullen didn’t go after a Justin Fields, not just a Justin Fields. If he didn’t go after anybody, because he didn’t want to hurt feelings, to me, that’s not Dan Mullen, and he’s not doing his job then.
Andrew: Exactly. Let’s go back to his opening press conference real quick, Nick. Did Urban Meyer speak, or was that Dan Mullen?
Nick: That was Dan Mullen.
Andrew: You can confirm that.
Nick: I was in the room. Confirmed.
Andrew: Relentless effort. Strength and conditioning. That’s Urban Meyer. Nick, I know you’ve heard this. I mean, we talked about it. We were fans when this happened. 4-6 seconds. That was Urban Meyer’s key phrase. 4-6 seconds of hard work, of relentless effort. That’s all he wanted out of every play, 4-6 seconds. I remember he said something like if you count it up or something, you play like three minutes total in a game of relentless effort. To me, that’s what’s missing in this program and has been missing. Strength and conditioning sucked under Will Muschamp, and it sucked under Jim McElwain. The explosive, get off the ball, run around, have fun, kick the person in front of you’s ass, has been missing.
Nick: To me, the biggest thing that they kept bringing up was that strength and conditioning. It’s so important. We talk about it all the time. Whoever the strength and condition coach is is the guy that is with the team the most. When they get back from Christmas break in January, they’re with the strength and conditioning coach until spring ball. Then after spring ball they’re with the strength and conditioning coach until …
Andrew: They spend more time with the strength coach than do …
Nick: Anybody else.
Nick: You’ve got to have someone with a good program, someone that holds the kids accountable. I think the biggest thing with the Urban Meyer teams was, yeah, they wanted to be the fastest, but you look at some of those guys. Those are some big dudes as well. That’s going to be a huge emphasis for Dan Mullen. I know the strength and conditioning coach up at Mississippi State was Savage, and it will interesting to see who will be the coach there. It won’t be Mike Kent. It’ll be interesting to see who comes, and I hope we get a chance to talk to them, because I like working out. I like to see how these guys develop these programs, and what they change when they come in.
Andrew: I think it’s a change that’s needed. When he said they were going to work probably the hardest they’ve worked ever, since they’ve been there, was key. The Savage guy is a Mickey Marotti guy. I believe, Nick, and I need to go back and double check this, but I believe he’s only like 28?
Nick: Young guy. I’d much rather these guys were younger.
Andrew: I believe it was 28, and interned and stuff under Marotti. Listen, Florida hasn’t been good since Marotti left. Florida looks weak. I mean, Missouri, and I don’t mean this in a bad way towards Missouri, but Missouri just looked like Goliath compared to Florida in that game a couple weeks ago.
Nick: You can say that for a lot of the teams Florida played.
Andrew: I guess, what would you think if Savage came?
Nick: I’d have to see. I think a lot of people get stuck in they’re just happy about it and say great things about everybody when they’re new, when they first come in. I mean, we were saying nice things about Corey Bell and all these other guys who were only here for a year. I’d have to see. That’s what I said before. I want to see what kind of programs they’re in, because Jeff Dillman’s was different. His was a lot of Olympic lifting and stuff like that, explosiveness. That changed with Kent. I’m not really sure what Kent’s philosophy was. We never really got a chance to talk to him.
Andrew: Did Kent know?
Nick: Maybe. Maybe not.
Andrew: Here’s another thing, Nick. I want to be very clear when I say this, because I don’t want it to come off the wrong way.
Nick: Good luck.
Andrew: Yeah. Good luck. Try to help me here a little bit, because you know me. I get a little sidetracked. I know everyone wants to blame Kent and his staff for the injuries. It’s not fully on Kent, but you do have to put some blame on Kent. I say this from some personal time. One year when I was coaching we had eight ACL injuries in a 10-month period. Had someone come in, do some looking and stuff like that, and it was the workouts we were putting our guys through. It was they weren’t focusing on building the leg muscles and stuff like that up, and then there was other parts of the body that was getting built up too much to where it was putting a lot of strain on the knees.
Florida didn’t have a ton of ACLs this year, but they had other injuries. It is some on the strength staff. It is some on just bad luck. Yes, it is some on the strength. I would say Florida looked very stiff in a lot of areas. That does cause that stuff. I don’t want to say it was on the strength staff fully, but you do have to give them some blame for it. It’s also just bad luck and the game of football.
A guy like Savage coming in, that’s something he has to look at, and that’s something he has to do is he has to get back to working on the cores of your body. Nick, you know that more than anyone. You work out a ton. You can overwork certain parts of the body, cause that to be weak, and then there’s parts of the body you can not work enough and cause it to be weak.
Nick: Yeah. Football, listen, it’s a violent game. You’re going to have injuries. I think when you start getting into blaming the strength staff is when you have the soft tissue injuries, when you start getting a bunch of hamstrings, a bunch of pulls and strains, even some tears. Somebody like a Nick Washington or Jeawon Taylor, who have had a history of shoulder injuries, and shoulder dislocations. Basically, whenever you dislocate your shoulder, you’re going to tear something, especially if you’re a safety coming down, and you’re running 15 miles an hour and colliding with somebody. That kind of separating your shoulder, you’re probably going to tear something.
That’s not really something that you can put on the strength and conditioning coach. That’s a previous thing, and those are some of the things that are just going to happen when you’re playing football. Listen, I work out a lot and have done a lot of research on working out and stuff like that, and really enjoy it, but that’s even above my head and above my paygrade, as to how you devise a program to minimize injuries in what’s probably the most violent game in the world.
Andrew: You know what I’m saying.
Nick: Yeah. I know what you’re saying. I’m saying it’s above my head. Apparently, it was above the last strength coach’s head as well. That’s why I would like to talk to the new strength coach, to kind of see what their plan is and their philosophy, I guess.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying.
Nick: You and I have been here through two different strength coaches now?
Andrew: Right. Exactly. Really three, because Marotti stayed on a little bit.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s what I was saying. You can’t blame it fully on either one of those guys, and I’m not trying to say that at all. What I’m trying to say …
Nick: Listen, Luke Del Rio gets tackled, and his collarbone shatters, there’s nothing Mike Kent can do about that. There’s no program or nothing else that Kent or Del Rio could have done. A bone breaks, a bone breaks. It’s when you start getting …
Andrew: Tyrie getting his ankle rolled up. That’s something that’s just going to happen.
Nick: Happens. An offensive linemen getting their ankle rolled up, or getting rolled up from behind, that stuff is going to happen. It’s when you get a lot of those, and I think it happened more with Dillman, seven guys. It happened a bunch with Kent, CJ McWilliams this year. When you start getting guys with hamstring injuries a bunch. It’s the soft tissue injuries, the muscles, the stuff like that, that you’re wondering could you do something different to not have eight guys with a hamstring injury.
Andrew: Right. I mean, I do say the ACL injuries and the knee injuries. That’s something that you’re going to have them.
Nick: I think strength coaches around the country are trying to figure that out. Guys are just so big right now, and are moving faster.
Andrew: The muscles are so tight.
Nick: Yeah. Stuff like that, a lot of that stuff almost seems like a freak thing, but I agree. If there’s something as a strength coach you can do to make that better, find that guy. Hire him.
Andrew: Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. You can’t blame Kent and those guys for that. I’m just saying some of that stuff is out there, and that’s what you’ve got to do. Listen, Florida’s just got to be stronger. They got to be bigger. My guy is Kadarius Toney, Nick, and you know I’m a big Kadarius guy. He’s a Mobile guy. Kadarius didn’t gain weight from the time he enrolled in January until then, and it showed. That shouldn’t be the case. Kadarius Toney should have been jacked by the time season started. He was a little guy that had tons of ability to gain mass, muscle mass, and didn’t.
Nick: I remember back in the Mickey days, the Marotti days. Guys would come in as a freshman, and you’d say, “He needs to gain weight.” Then all of a sudden, you’d see that guy in fall camp, and it’s, “Whoa.” Didn’t really see that with this past staff. Hiring the strength coach is probably, and some people might not agree with this, you might agree with me here, I would say hiring the strength coach is more important that who you’re hiring, if you’re Dan Mullen, as the offensive line coach, the tight end coach, or anything like that.
Andrew: Agree. Outside of the head coach, the strength coach is the biggest guy. That is the most important hire, and it’s a hire that I think you and I both are excited to see, and are looking forward to seeing. You just want to see that stuff. You want to see kind of where Florida’s going to go in that role of getting bigger, getting stronger. Mullen doesn’t want his linemen being 350 pounds and not being able to move, but he wants them to be able to run and still be big. That’s why the strength hire is huge. You got to go out and get the guy that Mullen is comfortable with. That’s why I think a guy like Savage is very intriguing, because he has worked with Mullen. Listen, Mullen’s offensive line was really good this past year. Some would even argue it might have been the best in the SEC. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.
Nick: Obviously, you only have a couple guys, but Billy’s a great recruiter. Dan Mullen’s out there hooping on Tuesday.
Andrew: In his Jordans.
Nick: Yeah. In some fourteens. Got to work on those pleated pants. No reason in the year 2017 to wear pants with pleats.
Andrew: It’s just such a contrast between him and Mac. Listen, I’m a Mac guy. I love Jim McElwain. I think Jim McElwain’s a fine person and everything else, but we went from no shoes and his boater shoes to Dan Mullen wearing khakis and Jordans.
Nick: Wearing socks too.
Andrew: And socks. He probably got a huge upgrade. He was the Yeezys to the Jordans, so he was probably like, “Hallelujah, I get to wear Nikes.”
Nick: Man, you’re out of touch. Yeezys are good shoes. It’s that ultra-boost technology.
Andrew: Oh, brother.
Nick: I’m telling you, once this hits, Twitter’s going to tell you that you are out of touch.
Andrew: I probably am out of touch, but I think I’d rather wear …
Nick: There’s also people who are just die hard Jordan.
Andrew: I would rather wear Nikes than Adidas. I don’t like Adidas.
Nick: I need to try the boost technology. I’m in the market for some new shoes.
Andrew: Holler at Dan. He has an extra pair.
Nick: He’s got a ton of Adidas. I need to holler at Dan, because he’s got probably a damn closet full of Yeezys that he can’t wear anymore.
Andrew: Yeah. Nick, let’s move on real quick. We talked about all that, talked about the recruiting aspect. Let’s talk about some things around the country. What’s going on in Knoxville?
Nick: Nobody knows.
Andrew: They think they get Schiano.
Nick: First off, those morons thought they were getting Jon Gruden.
Nick: Jon Gruden makes $6.5 million to sit in the a booth and talk about 16 football games a year. They actually thought they were going to pay him …
Andrew: Less money.
Nick: Yeah, pay him whatever. Say they wanted to pay him $10 million a year. Cool. To deal with that ludicrous looney bin fanbase, to go sit and have his job security depend on what 16, 17, 18-year-old recruits he can get to come to his school, and sit in living rooms and do all that, recruit 366 days a year, or just get paid $6.5 million to sit in a booth and hope you don’t trip over your words? They keep doing this to themselves over and over and over. Jon Gruden’s never coaching at the University of Tennessee. Probably never coaching college football.
Andrew: Probably never coaching football again.
Nick: Shoot. Give me $6.5 million to go up in a booth and talk about a game. Absolutely.
Andrew: Then they go out and hire Schiano. He accepts the job. The fanbase tells Currie they don’t want him, and guess what? They don’t take him. After they signed a contract, so they’re going to have to pay him more money to get out of that contract, because they had signed it. They look like a total dumpster fire.
Nick: I don’t think, first off, listen, there’s no moral high ground here with what happened. This was not a Greg Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State.
Andrew: That’s bullshit, Nick.
Nick: The University of Tennessee, Clay Travis, everyone that incited that whole Twitter mob and mob on campus, they used something that’s unsubstantiated, was never investigated. It was a claim that came up in a deposition, and there was not enough ground that it stood on in reality for it to even be investigated, about Greg Schiano and his time when he was young at Penn State. They latched onto it, because child molestation is probably one of the most heinous acts that you can commit, and to cover it up in the same heinous breath. They used that.
They used that, because they didn’t think he’s a good football coach, because they remember him, not what he did at Rutgers and really not turning around the program, really just building a program that he was there. They remember that he was a disaster at his last stop. They think, “He gave up 55 points to Iowa this year at Ohio State. That’s unacceptable. He’s a bad football coach.” They found something that was vile enough, if true, which it isn’t, to stick. They dragged probably a good man’s name through the mud.
I remember Greg Schiano not for his time at Tampa Bay. I remember him when Eric Legrand was paralyzed, and how Greg Schiano was out on the field, and how that affected him, and how good he was to Eric Legrand. I remember him being a good coach at Rutgers, and I think what Tennessee fans and Clay Travis did to drag his name through the mud, just because they didn’t want him to be a football coach, is pretty disgusting.
Andrew: Exactly. Here’s my thing. First of all, Clay Travis, what a moron. Anybody that listens to that idiot is stupid in the first place. Back to that, it’s frustrating, Nick, because as you said, child molestation and sexual misconduct right now is a hot topic, and it’s disgusting. I mean, I think you and I both can agree neither one of us, if it’s true, think he should ever coach again. I personally think it’s disgusting. Everything has been shown, not proven, because only him and the good Lord and Sandusky knows what happened. Everything we know and have been told is that’s not true. To drag him through the mud is retarded.
For Currie to allow that to happen, and that to allow his decision, what kind of man does that make him be? He is appointed and paid to be the athletic director, the guy who’s making the decisions. He didn’t. What an idiot. What an idiot. Then he goes and tries to hire Gundy, gets turned down by Gundy. Now it looks like he’s been turned down by Brohm. Whoever comes to that and is going to be the head coach there is going to be like the twentieth choice. Will he be accepted?
Nick: Let Clay Travis coach them.
Andrew: Let that moron coach them. I don’t know. I just think that Butch Jones bringing out the dumpster this year really showed what program it was, a dumpster fire.
Nick: Yeah. They’re a disaster. My sincere, and I know you’ll back me up here, my sincerest apologies to everyone that does our job up there in Knoxville, including our good friend, Vince, because coaching searches are not fun. Florida has not only a competent AD, but a good AD, and Tennessee doesn’t even look like they have competence going on up there with their AD and with this whole search.
Andrew: First of all, here’s another thing too, and that is Greg Schiano should not have been the coach at the University of Tennessee anyway. That was going to be a bad hire, in my opinion. Good grief.
Now, let’s go to Tallahassee, where it looks like Jimbo is out the door, and now it looks like Willie Taggart may be getting a contract extension from Oregon. Where do they go?
Nick: What’s your opinion, do you think this is the year finally?
Nick: That Jimbo just says, “I’m done with this nonsense. I’m out.”
Andrew: I think, here’s the thing, I was reading some things with Bud Elliott. Bud and I disagree on a lot of things. He swears up and down Florida State is one of the best jobs in America, and I couldn’t disagree more. He said that Jimbo keeps coming back to the well asking and asking and asking. It’s kind of like Mac did. Yeah, I do. I think this is the year that he does. Listen, also Florida State’s not committed to their football program. They’re not committed to giving Jimbo what he wants. You and I both know.
Nick: Shoot, man. Texas A&M is.
Andrew: They’ll give him an oil field and let him start drilling, if that’s what he wants.
Nick: They’ll drill for him.
Andrew: Yeah. I guess, let me turn it around. Do you think it is?
Nick: Could be. I think it certainly could be. Listen, you’re signing up to play Nick Saban every year.
Nick: You will have, Texas A&M has got one of the biggest alumni fields in the country. I think one of their fans I was talking to when they were in town said it’s like top three. He thought they were the biggest, as far as boosters and things like that. It’s tough. That’s a tough job as well, kind of like Florida, where they’re going to give you the resources, but eight wins, nine wins. Eight wins, unacceptable. Even some nine win seasons are unacceptable. I think that’s another thing where, I looked at Dan Mullen, and I said, he wanted to be here, because you win eight games at Mississippi State, “Good job, Coach.”
Andrew: Let me ask you this.
Nick: Real quick. I think Bowden and Fisher have changed that culture at FSU where maybe he says, “Now is the time to go. I’ve got ties back to Texas. I’ll go back into Texas, and it’s not more of an expectation, because I’m now expected to win that way where I am, and I’ll get more of a commitment from the university.”
Andrew: Right. Let me ask you this. What’s a better job?
Nick: I would say Florida State.
Andrew: See, we disagree. I’ve talked to some people. I’m not saying you’re wrong.
Nick: I hadn’t thought about it at all, so that was my first initial gut reaction.
Andrew: I’m not saying you’re wrong, because there’s no way to prove it. I was talking to some people around the country about this, talking to some buddies out in Cali and was talking to some other assistant coaches, and they said, “A&M is a sleeping giant.” First of all, they have the whole state of Texas to recruit. They’ve got all the money in the world to spend, and nobody’s recruiting the West Coast like they can, because they’re closer. They’re in the SEC. Yes, they have to beat Alabama and stuff, but they have all the tools to win. I thought about it for a little bit, and I said, “You know what? Probably right.” They could do a lot of things.
Nick: Yeah. I think you got the whole state of Florida to recruit at Florida State.
Andrew: You got a lot more competition.
Nick: You have a ton of competition. Gary Patterson. Tom Herman, if he’s going to get that thing turned around there. There’s a ton of competition in the state of Texas as well.
Andrew: That’s true.
Nick: Then you throw in Nick Saban going in there.
Andrew: Everybody recruits Texas.
Andrew: Just like everybody recruits Florida. You got a good point.
Nick: I think what Kevin Sumlin did, and it coincided with the end of the Mack Brown era there, but I think what Kevin Sumlin did was kids are born in Texas, and they bleed burnt orange. They’re not going to Texas A&M. I only want to go to Texas. Kids grow up, and that’s the state university, University of Texas, and kids grow up dreaming of playing there. I think what Kevin Sumlin did is he made coming to Texas A&M cool. He changed that narrative, and he’s probably made it easier to recruit at Texas A&M than it was before he got there.
Andrew: Right. That’s a good point. I think it’s one of those things where Jimbo goes out there and is able to bring a little bit of more notoriety out there to it, because of that. We’ll see. Some of the people that our good friend, Bud, talks about possibly taking the Florida State job, brings up James Franklin, Gary Patterson. Get out of here.
Nick: Gary Patterson just signed an extension.
Andrew: James Franklin’s not leaving that gold mine he has at Penn State right now.
Nick: No. I would not think so. At this point, Florida State’s getting down there where people are signing extensions and signing new deals. Might want to hurry up. Might want to hurry up with your Jimbo decision. Is he staying? Is he going? If he’s going, we got to figure something out quick.
Andrew: How bad does it look now that that game’s being played?
Nick: Oh, God.
Andrew: Exactly. Lordy.
Nick: Have fun. Instead of getting into post-season and figuring it all out, you’re going to probably beat Louisiana Monroe Saturday, and then you’re going to go to the St. Petersburg Bowl or some toilet bowl.
Andrew: Play with an interim coach.
Nick: Still have this hanging over your head.
Andrew: And have an interim coach. Yeah. Nick, we’ve had a lot of new members on our site, and I think I feel comfortable in saying that you and I were ahead of the curve here with a lot of the news on Mullen. Not on breaking the Mullen contract, that was Yahoo and those guys. Up to the minute updates. If you want to come check us out, we still got a little coupon code going, our little Black Friday special. We’ll continue to run that. I’ll give that code out to some people if they hit us up. It was a good deal.
Nick, why don’t you tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out, and we’ll plan on Friday podcast. If not Friday, we’ll definitely be make on normal schedule next week.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Podcast is also on iTunes. Check us out there. Subscribe. Never miss an episode. Leave a little five-star rating and a comment. You can find us on social media as well. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Come check us out. We appreciate it, and we’ll see everyone next time. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we got a lot to talk about, my friend. New football coach in town. Things are rolling.