NFL speculation not slowing down: Dan Mullen continues to be asked about leaving Florida
While the college football coaching carousel has mostly run its course, the NFL’s is just getting started as the league is in its final week of the regular season.
With that comes rumors of NFL teams poaching coaches from the college ranks, and several of those rumors have been floated around Florida head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen offered a response on Sunday when asked about the speculation during his media appearance at the Orange Bowl, as Florida prepares to face Virginia on December 30.
When asked about what is says about the current state of Florida’s program that Mullen’s name could be in the running for an NFL job, the UF head coach reflected on the positive strides he has made since arriving in Gainesville.
“I think the program is in a great position right now, and I think everybody knows how much I love being a Florida Gator, and with the direction the whole program is headed in” said Mullen.
“I think those are nice compliments. I think usually in the coaching profession, a lot of times they’re making comments on you one way or the other, right, they either need to get rid of you or you’re going somewhere else.
“So, it’s always better to be on the latter of those two” Mullen chuckled.
“I’ve been a head coach for a while, I’ve gotten to experience both sides, and sometimes they’re ready to get rid of you and sometimes they think you’re going somewhere else. We’ll take that for being a successful season.”
In a more direct question about the speculation, Mullen was asked about his intrigue in moving on into the professional ranks and why more NFL teams have started to borrow offensive schemes from the college game.
The second-year Florida head coach weaved around the first part of the question, addressing the impact the spread offense has made in pro football.
“I think the NFL when you look at it – and I think football as a whole, I think people take ideas and they share ideas throughout the year” continued Mullen.
“I remember, must be 15 years from now coming to the SEC as an offensive coordinator, the first thing is, hey, this style of offense will never work in a league like the SEC.
“It’s more – hey, there’s a couple of schools doing it and it’s really trickling the other direction, there’s high schools trying to run some of that stuff. But it won’t work in a league like the SEC. And now all of a sudden you see that it not just is in the SEC, that it’s spread throughout the country, running spread-style offenses, and most of the NFL game is a spread-style game now.”
To be clear, any discussion about Mullen leaving Florida to the NFL has been purely speculation with no concrete reports. However, he has been rather coy about answering questions on the rumors, and Mullen was even honest in admitting he would have to at least consider it if offered.
At the same time, Mullen has offered reasons why he would stay in college football, especially at a place like Florida where he is 20-5 over two seasons and has the history from his time as an offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer.
After Florida’s Orange Bowl matchup with Virginia, the NFL regular season will have come to a close, and decisions will be made by general managers across the country. Whether or not any speculation about Mullen leaving Florida for greener pastures comes to fruition remains to be seen.