Pat Dooley, Sage of Gainesville, tweeted out the first substantial reports from local media on Florida's coaching search Tuesday morning:
Three more names to cross off Gator coaching search -- Brian Kelly, Bobby Stoops, Mike Gundy.— Pat Dooley (@pat_dooley) November 25, 2014
And get off the Chip Kelly bandwagon. He has a "show cause" until Christmas day. Florida is not hiring a coach with NCAA issues in his past.— Pat Dooley (@pat_dooley) November 25, 2014
Stoops and Gundy have been frequently mentioned by various reports (some more dubious than others) as possibilities for the job, and both Sooner State head men have been the betting favorites in Las Vegas to be hired in Gainesville at points in the last 10 days. But Stoops has been a candidate for Florida's head coaching job to some degree each of the last three times it has opened, all to no avail, and Gundy, an Oklahoma State alumnus, seems happy in Stillwater.
The two Kellys have been less frequently mentioned, Chip Kelly so infrequently mentioned that his candidacy seems to exist entirely in the idle thoughts of Florida fans. Chip Kelly's show-cause penalty for his role in Oregon's payments to shady handler Willie Lyles for "scouting services" doesn't expire until Christmas Day, as Dooley notes, which would make the job of recruiting — one Chip has never even feigned a passion for — difficult for him, and Florida's timeline seems likely to produce a coach prior to Christmas anyway.
Brian Kelly, briefly a hot candidate on message boards over the weekend, makes more sense on the field than off it. Kelly's responsible for Notre Dame's only full season of national title contention since the Lou Holtz era, and has kept the Irish generally relevant despite Everett Golson's up-and-down tenure in South Bend. But he's also potentially responsible in the death of student assistant Declan Sullivan, fiery in a way that exceeds even Will Muschamp, and brash to the extent that it would come off as haughty with the Florida beat.
And because this report comes from Dooley, still the longest-tenured member of the Florida beat, there's a greater chance that it comes from truly connected sources than there is that any other. But he's not infallible: Dooley was dead on when reporting Florida would hire Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator in January 2011, but erred last December, reporting that Florida wouldn't hire an offensive coordinator until January just three days before the Gators hired Kurt Roper and reporting that Charlie Strong, future Texas coach, had "no interest" in Texas.
For what it's worth, I think that Dooley reporting on names being crossed off a list is a pretty good indication that Florida's not considering those names. But we're all trying to figure out what to believe right now.