Report: Mississippi State's Dan Mullen nearly landed the Oregon job
Oregon found its next head coach in South Florida’s Willie Taggart overnight, but it almost went in a completely different direction.
According to a report from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was the other finalist for the position.
Mullen was likely a top candidate due to his strong track record for developing quarterbacks — having a multi-skilled QB that can run a high-tempo spread offense successfully is important in Eugene, and the program failed to do so under Mark Helfrich.
As the quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green, he helped mold Josh Harris into the top dual-threat quarterback in the country; with his next stop at Utah, he coached Alex Smith (No. 1 pick in the NFL draft) and Brian Johnson (winningest QB in school history).
He also helped Chris Leak become one of college football’s most efficient passers en route to a national championship with Florida and was a big part of the Tim Tebow mania. Most importantly, though, he developed Dak Prescott, who set 38 school records with the Bulldogs and is currently in the running for NFL MVP with the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite a 5-7 (3-5) record in 2016, first-year starter Nick Fitzgerald threw for 21 touchdowns and led all SEC quarterbacks with 1,243 rushing yards and 14 more scores.
Mullen is 60-42 since taking over Mississippi State in 2009 and will coach in a school record seventh straight bowl game when the Bulldogs take on Miami (Oh.) in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 26.