The 2021 season has been mostly a disaster for the Florida Gators football team, both on the field and off. The Gators have suffered on defense, putting up lackluster performances over the course of the last ten games, led by coordinator Todd Grantham. According to multiple sources, Dan Mullen has decided to move on from Grantham now, rather than wait for his contract to end. It didn’t stop there, as OL coach John Hevesy has been let go as well. It was first reported by Bruce Feldman.
Both of these coaches contracts expire after the season, so the school will not owe them anything after the year. So, this ended up being an easy thing for Dan Mullen to do, if it meant saving his job.
In 2019, Grantham signed a contract extension with the Gators, after flirting with a potential NFL job. The extension made Grantham one of the highest paid assistant coaches in college football, as he was making around $1.8 million per year. It has been a pretty long marriage between Mullen and Grantham, as they’ve coached together since the 2017 season. After Manny Diaz took the Temple job, Mullen hired Grantham.
The Gators are currently allowing 24.7 points per game this season, coming off the 2020 season where they allowed 30.8, which set records in Gainesville, and not in a good way.
This has been a horrible three-game stretch for the Florida defense, as they’ve allowed 798 rushing yards against South Carolina, Georgia and LSU.
Starting a third-string quarterback against Florida this past Saturday, South Carolina finished with a season-high 459 yards of total offense, the most Florida has allowed this season. But, it has been the overall demeanor of this defensive unit that has caused problems for Florida this season, especially, as they’ve looked lost and uncoordinated.
As for OL coach John Hevesy, his unit has underperformed all season. Hevesy was making $620,000 on his 2020 contract. This season, the leading rusher for the Gators is QB Emory Jones, who has 543 rushing yards. Dameon Pierce is the 3rd leading rusher on the team, and he’s only gained 370 yards on the season, with Malik Davis only rushing for 325 yards. This team has 12 rushing touchdowns between the three running backs who have mustered up yards this season.
It wasn’t just on-field coaching that caused these coaches to be let go, with three games left in the season. The Gators have been hurt by lax recruiting efforts and have been struggling to gain traction on the trail. These moves were definitely recruiting related as well, which shouldn’t be lost on the situation.
Florida had six different coaches on expiring contracts, so the question will be who returns in 2021 on this staff. This almost feels like a forced move, in making Mullen let go of coaches who have been with him for a long period of time, especially when it comes to the college football industry.
Time will tell if Mullen will make it through the 2022 season, as this move most likely guarantees him another year.