When you go to the national title game twice in three years, you can expect to see assistant coaches start looking around at other opportunities. Norm Chow and Lane Kiffin left USC for the NFL earlier in the decade, and Mark Mangino and Mike Stoops left Bob Stoops’ staff too. It comes with the territory, two guys on the staff are browsing at head coaching jobs.
It should come as no surprise that defensive line coach Dan McCarney is looking at the opening at New Mexico. He is the winningest coach in Iowa State history and took them to bowls with more regularity than anyone else has. It amazed me that they let him go, and they have done nothing but suffer under his successor. Apparently the AD at New Mexico hired Urban Meyer at Bowling Green and Meyer recommended that McCarney look at the job.
Dan Mullen was rumored to be in play at New Mexico State not that long ago, but that talk died down. He is now said to be a major player for the Mississippi State job, though he is not a confirmed finalist as had apparently been reported in some corners of the Internet. When you’re the offensive coordinator for the most dominant offense the SEC has seen in a long time, you’re going to get some interest, but I don’t know if that’s a good fit for him.
Tim Tebow, for his part, says that he once thought going to the national title game would affect his decision to go pro or not, but now he doesn’t think so. He says he wants to stay, but ” it also would be great and really fun to go to the next level and see how that goes, too.”
The fact that he used the word “want” with coming back to school and “see how that goes” when referring to the NFL makes me think he’s leaning towards coming back. It’s a weak quarterback class, but I think the scouts probably want to see him go back another year. Of all stats, the only one with a high correlation to NFL success is total collegiate starts, so they are probably right.
The other Gators I see potentially leaving early are Jermaine Cunningham, Percy Harvin, and Brandon Spikes. Spikes missed out on winning the Bronko Nagurski award, given annually to the nation’s best defensive lineman or linebacker, finishing behind Texas DE Brian Orakpo. It’s understandable because he’s an absolute beast and he helped cover for a woefully young UT secondary.
An interesting report from that ceremony is that Orakpo gave Spikes some advice on beating the Sooners. You know that Texas is the only team to beat Oklahoma, but did you know Orakpo had two sacks, four tackles for loss, and a forced fumble in the game? I’m sure whatever he had to say pales in comparison to what Florida’s film staff can tell him after a month of study, but there are certainly worse people to ask for help from.