Now that Charlie Weis has left the Florida Gators and taken up the position as head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, the Gators are going to need to act fast to hire a new offensive coordinator if they want to keep the recruiting impact to a minimum. This time of year isn't really the best when it comes to the quality of candidates available, though, as most of the top-tier coaches have already committed elsewhere.
Florida's nearly $100 million athletic budget can definitely enter late in the game and be successful on the coaching carousel, though. Will Muschamp has said that Florida will run a pro-style offense after Weis, and hire someone that has a similar philosophy.
Even though the Gators struggled this season, and are losing a lot of players on offense to graduation, the Gators still have plenty of talent left. And barring a major impact on recruiting, the next offensive coordinator will have plenty of options to work with. But who are those candidates to become Florida's next offensive coordinator? After the jump, we'll explore some of the early names that have came up.
Jedd Fisch, Miami offensive coordinator
It's well known that Muschamp covets two things: A pro-style offense and NFL experience. Fisch, who is just 34 years old, brings both of those things to the table. Before heading down to Miami and coaching the offense there, Fisch was the quarterbacks coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
The Hurricanes finished the regular season as the 72nd ranked team in the country in terms of total offense, but don't forget that they were missing quite a few players at the beginning of the season. The situation down in Miami is without question worse than the one in Gainesville and this could provide Fisch a chance to leave Miami.
Additionally, Fisch is a Florida graduate, and was a graduate assistant in 1999-2000. Better tidbit from his bio: Fisch has daughters named Zaylee and Ashlee.
Kerwin Bell, Jacksonville head coach
It seems that anytime the Gators have an opening at the offensive coordinator position, Bell's name comes up. Bell, who is 46 years old, walked on to the Gators football program and eventually rose to become the starting quarterback under head coach Galen Hall.
While his, uh, greatest moment as a player might be this infamous video, there is no doubt that Bell knows Florida recruiting, the high schools in the state, and everything else it takes to recruit in the state of Florida. He also has a decent overall record with Dolphins at 36-21.
More importantly for some fans, Bell is a Steve Spurrier acolyte, having done his own bit of graduate assistant work under the Ol' Ball Coach. A potent passing game will always win over the Florida faithful.
Brian White, Florida running backs coach
Yes, I know that White, who is 47 years old, doesn't have any NFL experience, and thus lacks one of the two qualities that Muschamp likes in his assistant coaches. But that didn't stop Muschamp from keeping White on the staff after he was hired as head coach.
Also, White will be Florida's offensive coordinator for the upcoming Gator Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 2. And it is definitely worth noting that White is also the former offensive coordinator of the Wisconsin Badgers, so it isn't like he is unprepared for the demands of being an offensive coordinator.
Mike Sherman, former Texas A&M/Green Bay Packers head coach
At first, I wasn't quite sure about Sherman and thought the fact that his name coming up was a joke. But the more I think about it, it makes sense: Though he was fired at Texas A&M after the Aggies failed to live up to expectations this season, Sherman might be a logical hire if the Gators are going after a "name candidate."
Sherman's offenses are basically balanced when it comes to pass or run, but they are run out of pro-style formations. Doesn't that balance sound like what the Gators need? I'm not saying that Sherman is the right man for the job, I'm just saying that it wouldn't surprise me if he was at least offered.
Jason Phillips, Houston offensive coordinator
Phillips is a tricky one. With Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin on the market in a major way, it remains unclear if Phillips would either: A) Go with Sumlin, or B) Stay at Houston and become the head coach there. He is, after all, a graduate of the University of Houston, and guys like that are tough to pry away.
What he has done at Houston, though, cannot be denied. He is a guy that is going to get a lot of looks because of that, and his name will pop up on a lot of radars not only now, but in the future as well. Florida's radar may be one of his first pings.
Jarrett Anderson, TCU offensive coordinator
How does another Texas man sound? Anderson, who has been at TCU for nearly a decade and a half, wouldn't be what one would say an easy sell on moving to Florida. Just look at what it says in his official bio:
In both of Anderson's first two seasons as a coordinator, TCU set single-season school records for touchdowns, points scored and first downs while also ranking among the nation's most productive units.
That sounds incredibly nice, though I doubt Anderson could be pried away from TCU easily.
Again, I'm not saying the Gators are going to sign any of these guys as Weis' replacement, all I'm saying is that I wouldn't be surprised to hear these names mentioned as we go through the process of hiring a new offensive coordinator.