Why Dan Mullen for OC is NOT a bad idea for Arkansas
on 2023-01-18 20:04 PM
FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA/KFTA) – So, hear me out.
Arkansas should hire Dan Mullen as their new offensive coordinator.
Okay… are you still with me? Good.
I’m about to tell you exactly why the above statement is not a crazy one.
Without further ado, here’s why Arkansas should look at Dan Mullen for their open offensive coordinator position:
He’s got head coaching experience and definitely not a *bad* record when it comes to the SEC.
I know the first thing you said when I mentioned the name Dan Mullen. “Courtney, he didn’t work out in the SEC as a head coach, he got fired from Florida for being bad.”
Well, to be fair, in four seasons with the Gators, Mullen had a 34-15 record with them. Before that, he spent nine seasons with Mississippi State and had a record of 69-45 with the Bulldogs and even was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2014.
Mullen inherited a Florida team that went 4-7 under Jim McElwain in 2017 (that’s because he was busy posing with sharks) and turned things around to go 10-3 his first year with them and finished ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll and beat Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
The year after, they did even better. He went 11-2 with the team and took them to the Orange Bowl, where they took down Virginia 36-28.
In his third season, things really looked good under Mullen. The Gators started the year off 8-1 and got to a No. 4 ranking in the polls. His quarterback that season was Kyle Trask (and we will get to quarterbacks he’s coached in just a second) who broke records with his numbers that year, 4,125 passing yards and 43 touchdowns through the air.
It wasn’t his offense that was called into question during his time at Florida, instead it was his defense. The Gators gave up more points per game than any Florida team in over a century.
Things went downhill in the 2021 season. He eventually fired his defensive coordinator, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the fan base and the boosters, so he was fired in November before the season ended and left the team with a 5-6 record.
I write all this to say, he wasn’t fired because of his ability to run an offense. Nobody is saying he should be a head coach, but going back to being an offensive coordinator might be his chance to shine again.
Also, Sam Pittman just lost a defensive coordinator who had that SEC head coaching experience and could get that experience right back by hiring Mullen.
2. He’s had success as an offensive coordinator in the SEC and developed some impressive quarterbacks.
Before Mullen was the head coach at Mississippi State, his claim to fame was being the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Urban Meyer at Florida and the quarterbacks coach under him at Utah and Bowling Green.
He helped Meyer win two national championships with the Gators in 2006 and 2008 with Heisman winning quarterback Tim Tebow at the helm of the offense.
That brings me to my next point: Sam Pittman is looking for someone to also coach quarterbacks like Briles did. Who better to look at that Dan Mullen?
While at Utah with Meyer, Mullen coached Alex Smith, the first pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, coached Tim Tebow at Florida, and as a head coach at Mississippi State coached current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
You know what all these quarterbacks have in common? Well, they are a lot like KJ Jefferson.
All of those guys brought physicality to the quarterback position, just like Jefferson. Smith, Tebow and Prescott all dual-threat quarterbacks, just like Jefferson.
Nobody wants to lose KJ Jefferson and bringing a guy in that is proven in developing quarterbacks like him might just keep him around.
3. He’s available.
What’s Dan Mullen up to right now? He’s not coaching. He’s working as an analyst for ESPN.
There’s no need to poach him from another program, he’s a free agent right now.
Now, there was rumors of him looking of him getting back to coaching and he was even linked to South Carolina’s offensive coordinator opening before it was filled by Dowell Loggains.
Mullen shut down those rumors, saying on Sirius XM to Chris Childers, “They do have an offensive coordinator job open and they’re going to hire a great one, because I know there’s a lot of people that want to go there and be a part of that program. It’s just not going to be me.”
What that says to me is that South Carolina was not for him, but that doesn’t mean Arkansas isn’t. Who wouldn’t want to coach and offense with KJ Jefferson and Rocket Sanders in it?
4. Some coaches don’t do well as head coaches, but shine as coordinators.
I bring up this point only for the people who are just still not sold on Mullen after all of that great, factual information about why he’s a good hire.
I think hiring Mullen could be a situation like another former Florida head coach: Will Muschamp.
Muschamp didn’t do well at Florida. He didn’t do better at South Carolina. So what’s he doing now?
Well, he’s been working with Kirby Smart for the past two seasons as the special teams coordinator in 2021 and moving up to co-defensive coordinator in 2022.
Georgia, you may remember, just won a national championship. Oh and they did it the year before that too.
Both years Muschamp was on staff. As. A. Coordinator.
You could also point to other coaches like Barry Odom, Charlie Strong, Manny Diaz, who have had success as coordinators, but not as head coaches.
If you got to this part of the article, you might be saying to yourself one of two things, “Wow, Arkansas really should take a look at this guy,” or “I want whatever crazy-juice this girl put in her coffee this morning.”
I recognize that it could be a long shot, but as the Kendal Briles news broke, Dan Mullen’s name immediately came to my mind.
Whoever Arkansas does hire will surely be good, but if you have an opportunity to get a great offensive college football mind, you should definitely pursue it.
(Last updated: 2023-01-18 20:04 PM)