Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the three big names that were hired during the 2017 coaching carousel, Dan Mullen at Florida, Scott Frost at Nebraska and Chip Kelly at UCLA.
DAN WETZEL: That 2017 end of the year coaching carousel yielded three hires that I think all of us thought, OK, that's going to work. One was Scott Frost at Nebraska. The other was Dan Mullen at Florida.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Comes over from Mississippi State, where he had already been successful, and had already worked in Florida. So I mean, how is that not going to work? And then Chip Kelly at UCLA, where he's coming back to the Pac-12 where he'd been super successful at Oregon and now was sitting on all the players he was always trying to get out of Los Angeles. And none of them have worked.
PAT FORDE: No.
ROSS DELLENGER: And Florida interviewed all three.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. Sure did.
ROSS DELLENGER: They were all three in the Florida search. That was a crazy-- that was a crazy search. And yeah, you're right. You know, I guess you could say that Dan worked the best as far as records and division titles. And he was the first one to be fired.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. That's true. It's wild. And he was the third choice at Florida, right? I know Ross did a great story on that search-- last year or the year before. I don't remember. And you know, I mean, they really wanted Chip Kelly.
I think they were a little more lukewarm on Frost. but if Frost had said, yes, they probably would have snapped up Frost. But Dan Mullen gets the job and yeah, I mean, everybody thought Dan Mullen was great there.
And then during the pandemic, Dan Mullen just kind of lost his mind, it seemed like, to me. He just kept saying and doing weird stuff. And then it almost seemed like he didn't even want to be the coach at Florida. And finally, you know, he wasn't the coach at Florida.
And it is surprising-- Chip Kelly is at least going the right way, right? I mean, his records are getting better. It's taken a long time, longer than anybody expected, but they're going the right way at UCLA. Scott Frost hasn't been able to turn the corner yet.
DAN WETZEL: The weird part was, yeah, I mean, Mullen starts 10 and 3 and 11 and 2, and then 8 and 4 during COVID-- and it did start really falling apart. But they did win the division.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: And then last year, it just starts going sideways. And there was not patience. And he was not recruiting well-- at least to the level of Georgia.
ROSS DELLENGER: That's right.
DAN WETZEL: And Alabama.
ROSS DELLENGER: He wasn't saying wise or smart things publicly too, especially about recruiting. He really stepped in it a few times. And it's almost like-- I compare, like, his 2021 kind of to Ed Orgeron's 2021. Like, they both-- it seemed like in a way that they both were kind of like, eh, you want to pay me everything to leave, go ahead. And they did.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, they're fine. Yeah, I don't know, maybe they just ran out of gas. Chip Kelly has been a weird recruiter.
PAT FORDE: Very.
DAN WETZEL: And I mean, he was dreadful the first three years at UCLA-- 3 and 9, 4 and 8, 3 and 4, and then 8 and 4. And much of that 8 and 4 breakthrough season was because they beat Ed Orgeron at LSU.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, right. Established some momentum there.
DAN WETZEL: I will say this-- Frost, to me, has not lost any of that passion. If you listened to him this summer, you listened to him this week, He's fired up. He says-- it sounds like the same guy. He's ready to roll, loves his team.
But since they've gone to the Big Ten, they haven't been any good. And they're the ultimate cautionary tale for these conference movers. Yeah, you go make some money, but they're just-- they don't have an Ndamukong Suh, let alone the Johnny Rodgers kind of players anymore.
PAT FORDE: Oh no.
DAN WETZEL: And they need some game breakers somewhere that can make something happen. And I don't know if this is it. I don't know if they can get there. But they still have this guy that if you listen to that press conference today, you'd be like, yeah, this is the right guy.