The leading candidate isn’t just ahead in the polls, he seems to be lapping the field. But with high hopes comes a word of caution for Florida fans who are convinced their return to football greatness rests on the shoulders of UCF coach Scott Frost.
You might not get him.
I have no idea if Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin will pursue Frost. Stricklin wisely warned during his news conference Sunday that he will do all he can to keep the search confidential.
Still, I can’t imagine a better choice. Frost’s high-octane offense leads the nation in scoring at 51.0 points per game and his team is undefeated. Beyond that, Frost seems to truly be a regular guy, down to earth, approachable, real. He has great pedigree – his well-documented mentors include Bill Walsh, Tom Osborne, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. About as good a football Mount Rushmore as there is. And he learned all about Oregon’s blisteringly fast offense from spread genius Chip Kelly as a Ducks assistant.
Frost is such a perfect fit, he seems to have Florida fans salivating at the thought. On talk shows and social media, at water coolers and sports bars, Gator Nation seems to have its man. You can’t bump into a Florida fan anywhere who isn’t imagining Frost walking the sideline in the Swamp. This is the guy, so many seem to believe. He is the second coming of either Steve Spurrier or Urban Meyer. Maybe a combination of the two.
Spurrier was an offensive innovator who honed his offense for three years at a smaller program (Duke) before arriving in Gainesville with great fanfare (he also, of course, had coached in the USFL). He was 45 when he coached his first game at UF and went on to win six SEC championships and a national title, and produce a Heisman winner.
Meyer was an offensive innovator who honed his offense for four years at two smaller programs (two years each at Bowling Green and Utah) before arriving in Gainesville with similar fanfare. In six years with the Gators, he won two more national championships and two more league crowns, and produced a Heisman winner. He coached his first game in Gainesville at age 41.
So along comes Frost. If the Gators pursue him, and land him, he will have honed his offense for two years at a smaller program (UCF) before heading to UF. He would be 43 when he coaches his first game in Gainesville, in between Spurrier and Meyer. Like both, he is in shape. He has all his hair. He is convincingly confident. He loves offense and loves to score big. Like Spurrier and Meyer the years Florida pursued them, he is the most sought-after coach on the market.
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