The report came early Monday: Oregon wide receivers coach Matt Lubick was expected to be hired to the same position on Florida's staff.
IAKOW has learned through multiple sources that Jim McElwain is expected to hire Oregon WR coach Matt Lubick to same position with Florida.— Brody (@Brody_IAKOW) January 12, 2015
This was later "confirmed" ...
...and put on a website. And then it got confirmed by another insider. Then someone was "confirming additional smoke." And then a site that does aggregation and no reporting put up the news in a way that got people thinking the report was confirmed.
Then the more "legitimate" outlets chimed in: Scout's Bob Redman confirmed that Lubick was expected to join Florida's staff as receivers coach, Gator Country's Nick de la Torre confirmed that "Jim McElwain has completed his staff with the hire of Matt Lubick as the new Florida Gators receivers coach," and 247Sports's Oregon site "reported" that Lubick was headed to Florida — but with no reporting, just citation of "reports" on the Internet.
It should also be noted that none of those reports, or the earlier ones, predated a post on the Inside the Gators message board ($) calling Lubick to Florida "a done deal."
But then the really interesting thing happened: After Oregon's loss to Ohio State in The National Championship Presented by A Corporate Sponsor on Monday, Lubick was asked about his future. And he denied Florida was part of it.
Reports are that WR coach Matt Lubick has accepted the same position at Florida. Lubick said tonight after the game that isn’t true.— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) January 13, 2015
Redman noted the denial publicly:
For the record, Oregon receiver coach Matt Lubick said after game he wasn't headed to Florida to coach and would coach at Oregon next year— Bob Redman (@BobRedman_Scout) January 13, 2015
And that Duck Territory post? It changed significantly, and now begins like this:
Oregon wide receivers coach Matt Lubick denied reports he will accept the same position at Florida, amidst multiple reports Tuesday night indicating he's headed to Gainesville.
When asked about reports he could be headed to Florida, Lubick said, "No, nothing to that."
When asked if he planned to coach at Oregon next year, Lubick replied with a simple, "yes."
And so we got backtracking:
I think Matt Lubick is definitely weighing his options today. But I can guarantee you that an offer is on the table from McElwain. #Gators— Brody (@Brody_IAKOW) January 13, 2015
Look: In college football, things are fluid. There are so many sources of legitimate and illegitimate information — and legitimate sources of disinformation, sometimes — that stories will be reported and then unraveled dozens of times in 2015, and maybe dozens of times in the three weeks between now and National Signing Day.
Redman acknowledged this much in his follow-up Tuesday morning:
We have no reason to disbelieve Lubick when asked straight up, nor do we disbelieve our sources, but something changed or something isn't set in stone just yet. This is also something we alluded to in the previous story that could happen.
So, we will continue to monitor the situation and we do believe that the new receiver coach at Florida will be hired very soon. Until then, we will keep reporting what we hear and believe.
And there's a decent chance that everyone's right. It's possible, yeah, that seven different Florida reporters/insiders/Twitter users are all getting this same information from the same wrong source (or each other), but the likelihood of that, especially given the mix of different circles involved here, is small. And that makes it unlikely, in my estimation, that no one is right; it's far more likely, especially given that substances of these reports are so similar, that if one is right, all of them are.
I believe, personally, in reporting things when I know them to be true. I trust my own sources, and I have a sense of what they would and would not know; I know what I can and can't reach out to confirm, and know what I should and shouldn't reach out to confirm. Because of this, I end up doing a lot more triangulation of other reporting and crediting of other reporters. And I'm fine with that, really: I value not being wrong and misleading you, the reader, more than I do being first.
That's why I'm more hesitant with clearly fluid situations like this one, and roll my eyes at people demanding information: Things change with alarming alacrity in this field, and what was "true" and reportable 10 minutes ago might be false — and unreportable — now. You think the eggs are done, and then they're on your face.
Given all of the various reports I've seen on Lubick, I think that he was at least leaning toward leaving Florida as of yesterday, but that a move from Oregon to Florida was probably less certain and "done" than some characterized it as. I think there's mutual interest in Lubick coming to Florida. I think Lubick probably gave the answer to questioning that was easiest and least objectionable to his current employer last night, moments after his employer failed to meet a goal in spectacularly public fashion. I think Lubick would be an excellent hire, given his sterling reputations as both teacher and recruiter. And I think there's still a decent chance that Lubick does ultimately come to Florida.
But that's all what I think.
What I know is that Lubick's hiring would be seen, maybe rightly, as a massive coup for McElwain. Pulling a Montana-born, mostly Western-based coach back to the South (where he has spent just five years of a 20-year coaching career) and the SEC (where he has spent two), despite that coach being in line to move up to the golden chair of Oregon offensive coordinator if and when current OC Scott Frost departs? That would be a testament to Florida's gravity, and/or McElwain's, and/or the value McElwain's succession of longtime Colorado State head coach Sonny Lubick — Matt's father.
And I know that employers hate it when information about the best possible candidates for open positions becomes public, because that damages leverage.
I think we'll see Florida hire a wide receivers coach very soon. I think Lubick is the front-runner for the position. I know I'll be reporting — or passing on the news of — a hiring when it becomes official.
And I thank you for sitting through this Journalism 101 lecture disguised as a blog post.