Now that we've come down slightly off the meth-high-binge of Muschamp's press conference, the office of offensive coordinator at Florida sits empty, boarded-up as it has been for two years after the departure of Dan Mullen to Mississippi State. Something happened after he left. The program's offense was placed in the hands of a charming chimney sweep. Oh, how he merrily trod the streets of Gainesville, chanting "'ELLO, DIVE DOWN THE CHIMNEY FOR NAUGHT BUT A TUPPENCE!" Oh, how his songs resounded through the air.
Ol' Dusty Steve will dust away
The fire-smoke of yesterday
A chimney fire's no laughing matter
Spend less with Steve, leave the wallet fatter!
Oh, what merry song he sang, but what tragedy resulted. Already poor because Gainesville is warm and needs no fireplaces, the ill-advised hire began selling his plays for sponsorship, but was only able to find a dive shop to take over playcalling. This predictable pattern combined with his complete lack of understanding of the passing game doomed him to failure once his best talent left, and Chimneysweep Steve slowly sank into the mire with the rest of the team into a bog of mediocrity, sadness, and Molly's Dive Shop of Boca Raton stickers.
There was some upside: his chimneysweep business benefitted from the additional publicity. 37 people died from chimney fires as a result. Steve's Clean-Sweeping is now out of business, and is in court pending several wrongful death and liability claims totalling in the tens of millions of dollars. (Theme music.)
Now to the business of replacing Chimneysweep Steve and his legacy of chimney fires and misery. The following candidates are guesswork. Some are connected through Muschamp's prior work, and some are outright speculation, and some are strictly wish list. The one prevailing guideline is Muschamp's requirement that the coordinator have both NFL and college experience, and run something like pro-style. We assume pro-style here means the grab-bag of multi-formation, non-option based systems that fall outside of the realm of the Five Families of College-Only offenses: Air Raid, Spread Option, I-Form Triple-Option, Run 'N Shoot, and the Flexbone.*
The nominees are:
NECESSARY QUALIFICATIONS MET HERE IS AN APPLICATION HAVE A SEAT
Garrick McGee, Arkansas QB Coach. Ripe for the picking since he already took a demotion of sorts to coach at Arkansas. Former Northwestern offensive coordinator (first in the Big Ten in 2007 under his guidance) and the QB wrangler for the school-record-setting Arkansas offenses of 2009 and 2010. Boasts pro experience in a few years with Jacksonville as an offensive assistant, a good thing thanks to his limited exposure to the dreaded NFLAIDS syndrome. Would balance a good understanding of the spread's core principles with pro sets and a dedication to the run game, and would hopefully follow Bobby Petrino's pattern of collegiate aggression with pro scheming. He and his wife are also expecting their first son in the summer of 2010, too, and AWWWW CUTE GATOR BABY CLOTHES YOU KNOW YOU WANT THEM.
Paul Petrino, Illinois. If blood do tell, he can certainly be pried way from Illinois for the right price and quickly so. His work with Nathan Scheelhaase and vastly improved Illini offense explains why [NAME REDACTED] has job security this year, but the crown jewel to his resume are the jaw-dropping numbers his Louisville offenses (aided and abetted by his brother, of course) put up from 2003-2006: 41.1 points a game total. Has pro experience and knows how to pack a suitcase quickly as a result. He also loves the single most beautiful play in all of offensive football: the play action post, which when thrown correctly and with precise timing is tear-jerking in its majesty. Bonus fact: almost got into a fight with Miami players during an on-field fracas in 2006. (As his current boss would say: likin' it.)
Kerwin Bell, Jacksonville University. Well, hello sexy.
Gator fans still reminisce fondly from the long and glorious mustache ride the Gator Nation took on Bell's quarterbacking in the 1980s, but the recent chatter surrounding his association with the open offensive coordinator system comes from his work as head coach at Jacksonville University. Bell runs an offense keyed off the passing game but still wedded to balance, and can claim a league title. It's the Pioneer Football League, but there you go all over again, peeing on the things we want and love irrationally. Jeremy Foley allegedly wants Bell to be more involved with the football program, and this would certainly be a way to do that, but it would be nice to find a method for doing that not involving taking a PFL coach and plugging him into the heart of Florida's most dysfunctional widget. Then again, Oregon took New Hampshire's offensive coordinator once out of the blue once, and they play for a national title this January. Crazier things have happened.
FUN BONUS: likes setting things on fire just like Spurrier (always a bonus for Florida fans.)
Steve Logan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The role of the crafty veteran will be played here by Steve Logan, victim of one of the worst firings in recent college football when East Carolina canned a consistent winner in 2002 in favor of inept Florida defensive coordinator John Thompson. (Fired after two miserable years at ECU. Bra.Vo.) Logan's last and recent best work came at Boston College, where he groomed Matt Ryan for NFL dollars, but prior to that he manufactured productive offenses from little in the way of actual talent at East Carolina. Has just the slight amount of pro experience we deem ideal for the requirements, and also endeared himself to us by being the former offensive coordinator of the Rhein Fire. He's not sexy, but he has four NFL draft quarterbacks to his name and has been a hard luck case undeserving of such rude jostling by football's karma wheel. BONUS: he's in-state in Tampa already, so yay to cheap U-Haul rentals.
DID YOU READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION?
Bryan Harsin, Boise State. Lacks pro experience. Gaudy numbers at Boise State, but in an offense that is admittedly Chris Petersen's machine, is he a mechanic or an architect? Has only been a Boise coach since a brief stint at Eastern Oregon, whose mascot is the Mountaineer. See, you learned two things today.
Al Borges, San Diego State: No pro experience, and if you plan to get rid of him in a year or two, fine. The declining returns on Borges mirror Gary Crowton's job trajectory: take job, get instant production, and then a long slide into muddledom.
Mike Leach. You know we want this to happen, and we want this to happen, and everyone in the world wants this to happen, but a former head coach isn't going to take the demotion unless the ESPN suit has blackballed him to a previously unknown and unthinkable extent. Muschamp would have to muzzle him as well, and though a kind of forced imprisonment would be ironic, it would certainly not make for good politics.