Monday huddle: Who will replace Dan Mullen at Florida?

Florida fires Mullen after a loss on Saturday at Missouri

Florida head coach Dan Mullen looks up during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton) (Matthew Hinton, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.

What’s next for Florida after the Dan Mullen era comes to end?

What seemed unfathomable earlier in the season became a reality on Sunday: Florida is in the market for a new football coach.

It was a stunning fall from grace for Mullen, who was fired as head coach on Sunday following a 24-23 loss to Missouri. Mullen nearly had the Gators in the College Football Playoff last year, but finishing the season 0-3 and then going 5-6 this year proved to be costly.

Add that to his bizarre remarks about a recruiting gap with Georgia following the loss to the Bulldogs in Jacksonville, and his contradictory comments about not knowing the Florida band was in South Carolina when he didn’t have the team sing the school’s alma mater song after the game, and the fan base was ready to show Mullen the door.

So, what now?

It’s early, but here are some potential coaching candidates who could emerge for what is obviously a premier job.

  • Lane Kiffin. Would the Ole Miss head coach and offensive wizard make an intra-conference move in the SEC?
  • Mario Cristobal. The Oregon head coach was an Alabama assistant and might be interested in returning to the SEC.
  • Billy Napier. The current head coach at Louisiana is only 42, has won 20 games over the past two years. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit mentioned him as a possibility for the Virginia Tech job over the weekend.
  • James Franklin. The Penn State head man has been linked to the USC opening also. He is a great recruiter, but has struggled as of late at Penn State and is a questionable strategist during games.
  • Matt Campbell. He has done some great things at Iowa State, and is a workmanlike coach who has gotten the most of his talent there. He could thrive with better athletes in SEC country.
  • Luke Fickell. The Cincinnati head coach has been a miracle worker for that program, leading it to playoff contention this year. But would a Midwest guy from Ohio State want to take a stab at coaching in the SEC?
  • Bill O’Brien. The Alabama offensive coordinator and former head coach at Penn State, who has also coached in the NFL for the Houston Texans, could be ripe for another head coaching opportunity.

Van Dyke continues to impress for the Hurricanes.

This hasn’t been the season Miami hoped for -- and head coach Manny Diaz might still be fighting for his job.

But one great development for the Hurricanes, and possibly for Diaz and his future with the program, has been the play of freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.

Van Dyke threw for 357 yards in a win over Virginia Tech on Saturday and has thrown for 2,550 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions since taking over the starting role in October after D’Eriq King had season-ending shoulder surgery.

Whether the coach is Diaz or someone else next year, the Hurricanes have a building block in place at the most important position on the field.

A great feat for Florida A&M.

Florida A&M was on cloud nine Sunday, and for good reason.

After finishing the season on an eight-game winning streak and with a 9-2 record, the Rattlers earned an at-large spot for the FCS playoffs.

Florida A&M became the first Historically Black College University to earn an FCS playoff berth since 2016.

It will be the first playoff appearance since 2001 for Florida A&M, which will play Southeastern Louisiana in the first round at 7 p.m. Saturday.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.