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A Conundrum: Kerwin Bell, Will Muschamp, And The Future Of Florida's Offense

What does Will Muschamp see on the horizon?
What does Will Muschamp see on the horizon?

Let's talk about Kerwin Bell, shall we?

Jacksonville Times-Union columnist Hays Carlton reports that Bell has been offered the Florida quarterbacks coach position, but different sources tell him that Bell is a) wrestling with the decision or b) not going to leave unless it's for an offensive coordinator position. This makes sense from Bell's side..

Bell is the head coach at an FCS school that plays in the Pioneer Football League, one so small that it doesn't have scholarship players. He's a sharp football mind, by all accounts, and has gotten good, exciting offenses out of those players, but he's done what he's done at a level that really isn't that far removed from high school — not coincidentally, his only other level of coaching.

And he's smart, too, and so he's trying to leverage that local success and a profile that cannot possibly be higher at any school other than his alma mater into getting the keys to one of the five best offensive coordinator positions in college football. I don't blame him: If I had an in at a place that would probably pay me at least four times as much as I am currently making, and I thought I could use my results thus far to justify that hiring, I would probably deploy that leverage.

But Will Muschamp's no dummy, either.

Muschamp knows that Bell is a local legend, and knows that Florida fans will forever lionize their local heroes because the guy who won the Gators' first Heisman Trophy is also the guy who got the Gators their first national championship. He knows that his roots in Gainesville matter, because he's seen Florida use growing up in Gainesville to sell him to a fan base that thinks it can get whatever it wants. And Muschamp knows damn well, as Florida's first defensive coach since Ron Zook, that there's a fetishization of offense at Florida that few other schools share.

But I suspect Muschamp probably knows that Jeremy Foley hopes, and is not alone in hoping, that Florida's new, post-Urban Meyer era is a program that can be sustained for more than a few years. And Muschamp knows that the "Our program is a family that can get you to the NFL" pitch that Alabama and LSU and Auburn are using is a potent one, because he's seen it work on the recruiting trail here and at Texas. And he knows that running something like what Charlie Weis ran — optimally, obviously, a far more effective version of it — is appealing to recruits, and additionally is aware that these recruits barely know Bell.

And, to top it all off: Bell knows that Florida filling its offensive coordinator position with someone else who has success means that he immediately goes from being a perennial offensive coordinator candidate at a premier program in the SEC to being the guy some Sun Belt or Conference USA team takes a chance on down the line; Muschamp knows that Bell knows all that, because he knows it, too.

So I'm guessing Muschamp did offer Bell the quarterbacks coach position, and I'm assuming both he and Bell realize that Bell could do a lot worse than serving as tutor to Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett while trying to build a resume, and I think that Bell is evaluating whether a less obvious step up (FCS head coach to Florida offensive coordinator is a big leap, but FCS head coach to a subordinate offensive coach?) is worth the move.

And so we must wait.