Jeremy Foley

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RumorMill

The Rumor Mill Week 5: College Football’s Best Scoop

This week’s scoop…Can Brady Hoke survive at Michigan? David Shaw to the Raiders? And, NFL scouts don’t trust Jimbo Fisher.

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Zook-Muschamp

Will Muschamp Will Get Opportunity At Florida Ron Zook Didn’t

Barring an unforeseen disaster, Will Muschamp will be the head football coach at the University of Florida in 2015.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Nov. 13

Sources tell us that, while there’s still a chance that Minnesota’s Jerry Kill could opt not to return in 2014, it’s much more likely he will come back and give it another go if he can get his health issues under control.

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill could be in line for a raise. (Photo: AP)

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill could be in line for a raise. (Photo: AP)

According to the Pioneer Press, Kill is likely to receive a raise. Yes, Kill has health issues, but it’s hard to argue with the job he’s done. The Gophers have won eight games in ten tries in 2013.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has refused to address rumors linking him to the USC job.

There are rampant rumors of a rift with his A&M A.D. Eric Hyman, and Johnny Football and Mike Evans will be off the the NFL soon.

Sumlin’s career has taken him all over the country, including a stop at Washington State. He fits any everywhere.

We still think it’s more likely the Trojans end up with a coach with an NFL pedigree, but anything is possible.

Norm Chow isn’t not sure he likes being a head coach. He told CBS announcers, “I’m not sure if I am cut out for this head coaching thing.”

At 0-9, it’s certainly possible that Hawaii is looking for a new coach come December.

All signs point to Indiana’s Kevin Wilson being safe. The Hoosiers score points in bunches, but they’re 114th in points allowed. Wilson will likely get 2014 to get the defense fixed and get to a bowl.

IllinoisTim Beckman inherited a team that had won back to back bowls for the first time in program history, but he has yet to win a Big Ten game in nearly two full seasons.

A.D. Mike Thomas recently told the Chicago Sun-Times that the program is getting better (apparently 2-10 and 3-6 are better than 7-6), but refused to address Beckman’s future.

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals,” Thomas said. “You ask the question, ‘Is the program developing and getting better?’ I think it is. I’m looking forward to continuing progress in the program.”

We doubt Beckman gets fired in his second season, but if the Illini end the season with losses to Ohio State, Purdue and Northwestern, that might be enough to cut the cord.

Mississippi State is 4-5 with Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss remaining. If the Bulldogs get to 6-6, Dan Mullen is more than likely clear to return next season. Anything worse and things get dicey.

If the Bullies were to drop all three remaining games, it’s very possible Mullen could be shown the door.

We continue to hear Boise State’s Chris Petersen is open to a move.

Sources indicate that West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen will likely return in 2014. The Mountaineers are playing better and athletic director Oliver Luck didn’t get the Texas. With Luck still in Morgantown, Holgorsen is highly likely to get another year.

There’s a lot of chatter about Charlie Weis’ status at Kansas.

The Jayhawks fired Mark Mangino two seasons after we won 12 games and the Orange Bowl. He was 8-5 and 5-7 the following two seasons. Then, Turner Gill went 5-19 in his two seasons in Lawrence before being dismissed. Weis is 3-18 after 21 games.

It’s hard to see how Kansas makes another change after only two seasons. We think there’s a chance this job opens – but it’s more likely it doesn’t.

What about Mangino? He’s back at his alma mater loving life…

We’re hearing that UConn is in the market for an up-and-coming coordinator; head coaching experience is not a requirement. We also hear that they have money to spend to get the right guy.

At Florida, sources indicate that Will Muschamp is likely to survive, but look for major staff changes on the offensive side of the ball.

If the Gators finish 5-7, which is likely, it will be the first time Florida has had a losing record since 1979. Even with the mounting injuries, that’s hard to swallow.

Can A.D. Jeremy Foley handle the heat and keep Muschamp in place for 2014?

We’ll find out soon.

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Florida AD Jeremy Foley mum on Muschamp

Following Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt, finds itself quickly spiraling toward the school’s first losing season in 30 years.

Florida AD Jeremy Foley is mum on Will Muschamp's job security. (Photo: John Raoux, AP)Athletic director Jeremy Foley has reportedly supported coach Will Muschamp in private, but so far he’s said nothing publicly, pouring gasoline on the fire of speculation surrounding Muschamp’s job security.

The Miami Herald’s Jesse Simonton offered a sobering description of the situation:

They exited in droves. The boo-birds howled all afternoon.

In just a month’s time, the Gator Nation has experienced its own five stages of grief:

Denial. Bewilderment. Fury. Apathy. And, finally, bloodthirsty.

Florida — in the midst of an embarrassing four-game losing steak — suffered a catastrophic homecoming loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon, and dejected coach Will Muschamp seemed resigned to knowing his seat is hotter than a Red Savina habanero.

While Muschamp may ultimately survive the season, all of the Gators assistants aren’t likely to be so lucky.

Three weeks ago, Muschamp voiced strong support for offensive coordinator Brent Pease and the rest of the coaching staff. Now, his tune seems to have changed.

“We’ll find a way. We’ve got to keep going at it. What we’re doing so far is not working. Keep doing the same stuff, you’re going to get the same results,” Muschamp told reporters following the game.

“You evaluate everything at the end of the season. That’s what I certainly will do. I’ve done that my first two years, and I’ll do that again this year. I’m not worried about it.”

Photo: John Raoux, AP

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Ron Zook to Florida fans: Leave Will Muschamp alone

Ron Zook has been exactly where Florida coach Will Muschamp is right now, and based on his experience, he has a message for Gators fans.

Former Florida coach Ron Zook says that Gators fans should leave Will Muschamp alone. (Photo: Phil Coale, AP)“Leave him alone and let him do his job,” Zook told the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi.

“The noise in the system doesn’t help, It only compounds the problem. When there’s all this negativity, other programs start using it against you in recruiting and it makes it worse.

“Will Muschamp is a good football coach, and he’ll build a great program if they just give him time.”

Zook speaks from experience.

Two-and-a-half years into in their UF tenures, Muschamp and Zook have nearly identical records.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley says he stands behind Muschamp, but Zook knows from experience that Foley’s words can ring hollow. Foley told Zook on a Friday that his job was safe, but by Monday Zook was unemployed.

Two years later, the players Zook had recruited would win a national championship under Urban Meyer.

While both Zook and Muschamp took over from successful coaches, Steve Spurrier was beloved by Gators fans, making life miserable for Zook from day 1.

Meyer, on the other hand, didn’t exactly give the UF faithful warm and fuzzies. That, combined with the fact that Muschamp came in with the perception as hot up-and-comer with Texas‘ stamp of approval, made Florida fans awfully forgiving during Muschamp’s first season.

Though that honeymoon phase is long gone and the polish from once being Texas’ head coaching-in-waiting has officially worn off, Zook says that following a legend — well-liked or not — can make for a dangerous situation.

“Just because you succeed a great coach doesn’t mean the program is in great shape and the cupboard is full when you take over,” he said. “Will took over a program that wasn’t in the best of shape.

“There’s a reason coaches leave programs. Coach Spurrier didn’t just wake up one day in January (2001) and say, ‘I’m going to the Washington Redskins.’ He knew he didn’t have a lot coming back the following year. At least that’s my opinion.”

Today’s Vanderbilt game could be pivotal for Muschamp. Florida hasn’t had a losing season since 1979, and the Gators are 4-4 with the Commodores, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State left on the schedule.

A 5-7 or even a 6-6 finish could end Muschamp’s tenure in Gainesville.

Zook knows what it feels like to be in that situation, and he wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

“Heck yeah, I feel for Will. I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what I went through.”

Photo: Phil Coale, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 24

Steve Spurrier went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl in his third season at Florida. The HBC won 9 and 10 his first years.

Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp (Photo: Dave Martin, AP)Ron Zook went 7-4 and was fired in the middle of his third season. However, it was obvious that he had recruited great players and it’d only be a matter of time before they’d compete for championships. (Zook recruited 22 of 24 starters on Urban Meyer’s 2006 National Championship team.) Zook’s tenure ended as the Gators beat FSU in Tallahassee, something even Steve Spurrier never did.

Urban Meyer went 9-4 in his third season. That’s after winning 9 in his first and the national championship in his second.

Will Muschamp went 7-6 in his first season, 11-2 in his second and is currently 4-3 in the middle of his third. The Gators gave one away at Miami, didn’t play well at LSU and were blown out at Mizzou. With Georgia, Vandy, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and FSU remaining, it’s not out of the question that Florida could have it’s first losing season since 1979.

Sources inside the program tell us there’s a lot of division on the team and teammates beginning to point fingers. Florida AD Jeremy Foley gave Muschamp a vote of confidence earlier this week, saying his coach is “not going anywhere.” For what it’s worth, he told Ron Zook he was “in the circle” and on “on the same team” the Friday before he fired him. So, his public support for Muschamp should be taken with a grain of salt.

We talked with a number of coaches this week and they all told us the same thing. They don’t see a lot of “energy” on the sideline and they don’t see the kinds of playmakers Florida has had in the past.

Muschamp deserves another year to get it fixed — but expect staff changes if he does. The head coach gave offensive coordinator Brent Pease a half-hearted vote of confidence this week, saying “This is the same staff that came a game away from playing for national championship, OK.” Well, Greg Davis was fired at Texas four seasons after winning the national championship and one season after winning 13 games and playing for another.

Assuming Muschamp is around after this season, Foley will insist on staff changes and you can take that to the bank. Sources close to Foley tell us he has had thoughts that maybe he pulled the plug too soon on Zook — and that he seems determined to give Muschamp a longer leash.

However, if the Gators implode down the stretch, don’t be shocked to see Foley do what Foley does best: protect himself. Just ask Ron Zook.

There has been chatter around Central Florida coach George O’Leary for some time. He had a player die on his watch and the Knights landed on NCAA probation. That’s not to mention his prickly personality — he’s not exactly warm and fuzzy. But fast forward to the present and UCF could land in a BCS Bowl as winners of the new AAC.

Duke has never been to back to back bowls, but David Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils one win away from being bowl-eligible for the second consecutive year. Things may look better now with Hugh Freeze at the helm, but maybe firing him at Ole Miss one season removed from winning ten games wasn’t such a smart move after all.

After a one-year respite, there are rumblings again at Georgia. If the Bulldogs lose to Florida, watch out. One prominent coach told us today that the coach that loses that game could lose his job. Cocktails, anyone?

Photo credit: Dave Martin, AP

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