Fayetteville, R.; (KNWA/KFTA) – So, hear me out.
Arkansas should hire Dan Mullen as its new offensive coordinator.
Well… are you still with me? Hassan.
I’m about to tell you exactly why the above statement isn’t crazy.
Without further ado, here’s why Arkansas should look to Dan Mullen for the open offensive coordinator position:
- He has a lot of experience coaching and definitely not a bad track record when it comes to the SEC.
I know the first thing you said when you mentioned Dan Mullen’s name. “Courtney, he didn’t coach at 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 has had a 34-15 record with them. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons with Mississippi State and had a record of 69-45 with the Bulldogs and was even named SEC Coach of the Year in 2014.
Mullen inherited a Florida team that went 4-7 under Jim McElwain in 2017 and turned things around to go 10-3 his first year with them and finish seventh in the AP Poll and beat Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
The following year, they did even better. He went 11-2 with the team and took them to the Orange Bowl, where they defeated Virginia 36-28.
In his third season, things looked really good under Mullen. The Gators started the year at 8-1 and were ranked fourth in the polls. The starting quarterback that season was Kyle Trask (and we’ll get to the quarterback he coached in just a second) who broke records with his numbers that year, racking up 4,125 yards and 43 touchdowns in the air.
His offense wasn’t in question during his time in Florida, so 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 boosters, so he was fired in November before the season ended and left the team with a 5-6 record.
I am writing all this to say that he was not fired for being able to commit a crime. Nobody says he has to be a head coach, but returning to work as offensive coordinator could be his chance to shine again.
Also, Sam Pittman had just lost a defensive coordinator who had SEC chairman coaching experience and he could reclaim that experience by hiring Mullen.
2. He has successfully served as the SEC’s Offensive Coordinator and has developed some quarterbacks.
Before Mullin became 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 quarterback Tim Tebow heading the offense.
This brings me to my next point: Sam Bateman is looking for someone to coach his quarterbacks like Briles did. Who better to look at that than 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 head coach at Mississippi he coached current Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott.
You know what all these brokers have in common? Well, they are a lot like KJ Jefferson.
All of these guys brought physique to the quarterback, just like Jefferson. Smith, Tebow, and Prescott are all dual-threat quarterbacks, just like Jefferson.
Nobody wants to lose KJ Jefferson and bringing in a guy at that who is proven at developing running backs like him might keep him around.
3. It’s available.
What is Dan Mullen doing now? He does not train. He works as an analyst for ESPN.
There’s no need to fish him out from another program, he’s a free agent now.
Now, he was rumored to be looking to get back into coaching and was linked with South Carolina’s opening offensive coordinator before Doyle Loggins filled him in.
Mullen shut down those rumors, saying on Sirius XM’s Chris Childers, “They have an offensive coordinator job open and they’re going to hire a great job, because I know there are a lot of people who want to go out there to be a part of this program. It’s not just me.”
What that tells me is that South Carolina wasn’t a good fit for him, but that doesn’t mean Arkansas isn’t. Who wouldn’t want to train and attack with KJ Jefferson and Rocket Sanders in it?
4. Some coaches don’t do a good job as head coaches, but shine as coordinators.
I’m only making this point for people who aren’t sold on Mullen after all that great factual information on why he’s so well appointed.
I think hiring Mullen could be a situation like the other former Florida coach: Will Muschamp.
Muschamp did not fare well in Florida. He didn’t do a better job in South Carolina. So what does he do now?
Well, he’s been with Kirby Smart for the past two seasons as the Special Teams Coordinator in 2021 and moved up to Co-Defensive Coordinator in 2022.
You may remember that Georgia just won a national championship. Oh and they did the year before that, too.
Both years Muschamp was on the staff. like. a. coordinator.
You can also point to other coaches like Barry Odom, Charlie Strong, and Manny Diaz, who have had success as coordinators, but not as head coaches.
If you get to this part of the article, you’re probably 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 puts in her coffee this morning.”
I realize it might be a little off the mark, but when the news of Kendal Briles broke, Dan Mullen’s name immediately came to my mind.
Whom Arkansas hires would certainly be good, but if you have the chance to get a big offensive college football brain, you should definitely pursue it.