As we discussed earlier with Adam Schefter’s scoop that Ryan Day does not want to interview for NFL head coaching jobs while Pat Fitzgerald does, it’s a busy time for the coaching carousel at both the NFL and college ranks. One more Schefter scooplet today is that Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen is “open” to the idea of coaching in the NFL:
— OutKick (@Outkick) January 3, 2021
I talked about this in my story about Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck being a potential NFL candidate, and the times have changed for which college coaches are considered qualified. Previously, you’d think that Mullen would at least have to make a College Football Playoff to be considered for that type of opportunity. Here’s what I wrote then:
Historically, I’m still not sure Fleck would be in the mix for an NFL head coaching job. He would have been a sexy name for a job like Texas or Florida State or any of the top 10 or 15 programs with a real or hypothetical opening, but NFL teams are increasingly willing to look beyond the blue bloods of the college ranks. Coaches like Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Steve Spurrier, and Nick Saban all won at least one national title at a big program before making the jump to the NFL. Jim Harbaugh and Bobby Petrino, who weren’t as accomplished as the others, both left for the NFL after 12-1 seasons in which their teams won the Orange Bowl.
But times have changed. Matt Rhule had a considerable reclamation project on his hands at Baylor, but going 11-2 there would never have entitled him to a seven-year, $62 million contract in the NFL until recently. Matt Campbell has never won more than eight games at Iowa State, but it feels like we hear every year around this time that NFL teams could be considering him. Then we get to Kliff Kingsbury, who went 35-40 at Texas Tech and got hired by the Cardinals after Texas Tech fired him following a 5-7 season.
In 12 years at Mississippi State and Florida, Mullen is 98-56. He’s a good coach, but he’s not someone I would’ve considered to be a near-term candidate at the NFL level until recently.