Jim McElwain will not be the primary head coach to half methods together with his crew this season. However his departure qualifies as probably the most excessive profile, one which figures to set into movement a wild teaching carousel that might dramatically reshape school soccer and the SEC particularly.
In that convention alone, Ole Miss might be in search of a head coach. Butch Jones stays on shaky floor at Tennessee. So does Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M and Bret Bielema at Arkansas. If these three go, the SEC would have at the very least 5 head coach openings on the identical time.
The dominoes there’ll ripple throughout the nation, particularly as different colleges in different conferences begin making their very own choices about their futures. Although coaches like Jones, Sumlin and Bielema entered the season in far more precarious conditions, the final week in Gainesville turned so untenable that the Florida administration had no selection however to decide to search for its third head coach because the 2014 season.
There’s now plain strain on new athletic director Scott Stricklin to make the suitable choice as soon as and for all, to get Florida again within the enterprise of not simply profitable championships, however placing a crew on the sector that may really discover the top zone. Maybe that’s the reason Florida made the primary transfer, to leap forward of everybody else that’s sure to be in search of a change on the high.
This particularly is sensible if the Gators need to goal present UCF coach Scott Frost. As Nebraska struggles by way of one other mediocre season, the Huskers would do properly to go after Frost with every part they’ve, one thing they did not do after they employed Mike Riley earlier than the 2015 season. Frost, a former Nebraska QB who was then the offensive coordinator at Oregon, working with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, by no means acquired a cellphone name.
However this time, Frost figures to obtain a number of cellphone calls after what he has carried out in rather less than two seasons with the Knights. His unfold offense, with rules he discovered underneath Chip Kelly, ranks within the Prime 5 within the nation in whole offense, and No. 1 in scoring offense. UCF is the one undefeated Group of 5 crew remaining, and as Frost has risen, his identify has come up past simply Nebraska.
Florida completely has to rent a coach with an offensive background. Although the Gators did simply that after they introduced McElwain in for the 2015 season, he by no means may develop a quarterback the best way he was charged with doing. Florida stays an absolute mess on offense, and is about to hit the last decade mark with out one elite quarterback to play in a season from begin to end.
To place that into additional context, the final time Florida averaged over 400 yards on offense was in 2009 — Tim Tebow’s closing season. That, fairly frankly, is absurd at a program that produced its proudest moments round revolutionary quarterbacks and revolutionary offensive minds.
Steve Spurrier received a Heisman Trophy at Florida, then got here again together with his Enjoyable ‘N’ Gun offense, maximizing not solely leisure worth however his personal legacy as an innovator who did not actually care about operating up the rating all that a lot. However as he was guiding Florida to a nationwide championship and Danny Wuerffel to a Heisman, he additionally modified the expectation stage at a faculty that had been largely common till Spurrier arrived as head coach.
Not would it not be ok to win eight or 9 video games. Not would it not be ok to place the followers to sleep with extra conventional schemes and performs. The Spurrier legacy trampled Ron Zook till City Meyer introduced his personal revolutionary unfold offense, one other championship and Tebow to city. However it’s not Meyer that will get the comparisons in Gainesville. It is Spurrier, and that legacy trampled Will Muschamp earlier than it trampled McElwain, two head coaches who clearly lacked the offensive creativeness to maintain up.
In the meantime, two hours down the freeway in Orlando, Frost has carried out what Spurrier did within the early 1990s at Florida — reworking UCF into relevancy with an offense you’ll be able to’t cease watching.
Frost has taken McKenzie Milton from a two-star prospect into the No. 1 quarterback within the nation in pbading effectivity. This was no slam dunk, both. In the course of the spring, there was main uncertainty about whether or not Milton would win the beginning job. But he has outperformed even the expectations Frost had for him, an unfamiliar idea for many who have watched the Florida offense at any level since Tebow left.
Ought to Nebraska come open and ship Tom Osborne to recruit Frost, who now has recruiting inroads and ties into Florida, what would he do?
There are different causes Stricklin has to get this job proper. Kirby Good seems to be constructing a powerhouse in Georgia, and Florida can not afford to slide additional behind the Bulldogs — not solely within the win-loss column however on the recruiting path. Then there’s Tennessee, the crew Florida completely has to beat for the highest teaching rent within the convention.
On the entire, it could be vastly useful for therefore many head coaches to show over directly. The final time this many turned over directly was in 2012, when 4 new SEC head coaches got here into the combo: Jones, Bielema, Gus Malzahn and Mark Stoops. None have received a division title or come near difficult for convention supremacy.
It was round that point that the SEC started to see its standing as the most effective convention within the nation start to decrease. To make sure, that duty will not be positioned on the 4 head coaches who arrived in 2012. However one of many largest causes the SEC has misplaced the title as “finest convention” is as a result of it has fallen behind different conferences within the head teaching division.
Each the Large Ten and ACC have made much better head teaching strikes than the SEC has during the last 5 seasons, and that has allowed each these conferences to chip away on the league’s power. You would be onerous pressed to seek out anyone who would place the SEC forward of the Large Ten and ACC in head coach high quality from high to backside.
It is time the SEC stepped up its recreation in that division, to not solely badist the person applications however the convention as a complete. McElwain is simply the primary departure, however it will not come as any shock if there’s a seismic shift within the teaching ranks this season – from the SEC and past.