We are tackling the best question supplied by Florida fans each day. If you’d like to submit a question, tweet to Ryan Young here . Look for our Florida Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
Former Oregon and NFL coach Chip Kelly moves the needle quite a bit when it comes to discussing who Florida might or should hire to take over its football program. The opinions there are divided with strong feelings for and against Kelly.
Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente, Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, USF’s Charlie Strong and Oregon’s Willie Taggart all generate a bunch of interest and debate as well.
More recently, fans have been asking about Stanford’s David Shaw. (I don’t see him leaving as he’s already making more than $4 million per year at his alma mater and has spent his entire collegiate coaching career on the West Coast).
There are also some fans that continue to mention Lane Kiffin, even if that seems like a longshot for Florida and what it’s looking for in its next coach.
But nobody generates more questions and opinions in this coaching search than UCF’s Scott Frost, who would seem to be a top target for the Gators and many other schools with the incredible turnaround he’s pulled off in two seasons with the suddenly high-scoring and unbeaten Knights.
So the latest Gators Mailbag Question of the Day is actually a handful of the more common Frost questions fans are asking.
Scott J. asks … “Will Frost leave UCF?”
Martha B. asks … “Will we have a good shot at Frost?”
Joe C. asks … “Doesn’t Nebraska have a better shot at Frost than UF?”
Edwin V. asks … “Is there anyone on Frost’s current staff that makes sense in the SEC?”
Daniel S. asks … “Think Frost would stay if he gets the UF job or would his ‘dream’ job draw him away?”
All good questions.
Will he leave? That seems to be the most important one at this point. Frost comes across as a low-key guy who doesn’t necessarily crave the spotlight, and he has to feel good about what he’s built and how UCF is set up moving forward.
That said, there is a ceiling at any non-Power 5 program. That’s just the reality of college football. If Frost wants to compete for a national championship, he’ll have to take the next step in his career.
Usually, the hot name on the coaching market — as Frost presently is — makes the move when his leverage is strongest. P.J. Fleck cashed on his success at Western Michigan to take the job at Minnesota after last season. Dino Babers cashed in on his strong work at Bowling Green to jump to Syracuse. Meanwhile, Tom Herman waited an extra year after leading Houston to a 13-1 mark in 2015 and becoming the have-to-have coach. He stayed at Houston and went 9-3 in his second season before bolting for Texas.
There are contrary examples of coaches who are more patient. Chris Petersen, another low-key personality, stayed at Boise State for eight season despite ample opportunities to leave, finally moving on for the Washington job a few years ago.
So what’s that mean for Frost? Well, only he knows. But there may not be many (or any) jobs that come open for him that are better than Florida (assuming the Gators indeed make an offer).
If he wants to compete at the highest level of college football, this is a great time to make a move while not having to travel all that far.
On to the second question.
Yes, Florida is the best job on the market. Frost is a Nebraska alum and the Cornhuskers are expected to make a play for him, but that job is not on par with what Florida can offer in terms of recruiting reach, SEC exposure, and relatively recent national championships.
The reality is recruits these days simply don’t get swayed by the fact that Nebraska used to be really good two decades ago. Frost would have to feel a unshakable commitment to return to Lincoln, Neb., and fix his former program. Otherwise, Florida makes a ton of sense for him.
As for Frost’s UCF coaching staff, yeah, there are some guys he would likely bring with him.
Frost brought former Oregon linebackers coach Erik Chinander with him to UCF to be his defensive coordinator. While the Knights’ offensive turnaround gets all the attention, they have also made a significant turnaround defensively, ranking 33rd nationally in giving up 348.1 yards per game after ranking 113th in 2015 (464.1 YPG) before they arrived.
UCF offensive coordinator Troy Walters was a receivers coach at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado before joining Frost, so their history is not quite as deep. But they’ve obviously worked well together the last two seasons.
Offensive line coach Greg Austin is another potential carryover. He was a GA at Oregon under Kelly while Frost was there. He followed Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles to be an assistant offensive line coach before rejoining Frost at UCF.
And to the final question, if — and this remains far from a done deal or sure thing — Frost is offered and takes the Florida job, I don’t see him leaving for another position.
If he wants to go revive his alma mater at Nebraska, he doesn’t have to wait. The Huskers would almost certainly move on from Mike Riley if Frost wanted to take over. If he passes on that connection to come to Florida, bank on him signing up for the long haul.
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