The departure of Dan Mullen to Florida was thought of as an upward move for the coach, despite the fact that Mississippi State has had far more success for almost a decade than the Gators. It was a move that was met with virtually universal fan understanding, and not the usual vitriol that he would’ve been met with at a “top-notch” program. Coach Mullen did a lot for this Bulldog football, and we should be grateful to him for that, but I can’t help but wonder if this has to be the case moving forward with new coach Joe Moorhead— does Mississippi State have to be just a stepping stone for him? Or can he see that this program can be a perennial national championship contender?
For the Gators, Dan Mullen is the perfect hire, the man is a quarterback guru, and Florida has been a quarterback black hole since his departure as OC. But gosh darn it! I’m sad to see this man go. I know this is the preseason, and this is the time to be optimistic about the season ahead, and there’s plenty of reasons to be with stud QB, Nick Fitzgerald coming back. Coach Joe Moorhead is a good hire— his time at Penn State proved to be explosive, but what happens if he goes 11-2 in his first season and dips for “greener” pastures? LSU will almost certainly have an opening at the end of this year, and SEC teams hire SEC coaches.
Moorhead will more than likely have an impressive rookie campaign, these Bulldogs are loaded. If he does decide to just use the program as a stepping stone for a more high profile gig, that type of stuff consistently happening will start to affect recruiting, and all of a sudden the past decade of vast improvement was all for not. The truth is, there are only so many good coaches out there and we better hope that Moorhead is like Mullen; in that he has some sense of duty— loyalty in today’s college football landscape is scarce.
Who knows, maybe Moorhead realizes the potential Mississippi State has. If a team like Washington can be perennial college football playoff contender so can State. It’s going to take a head coach with vision, as well as an AD willing to get creative with paying to keep that vision.
TCU and Washington are perfect examples of what State can be if we can keep our guy. Once again, good coaches are hard to come by, there’s a reason Lane Kiffin keeps getting handed opportunities— despite having a more flaky track record than your high school buddy who got addicted to heroin.
If Mississippi State ever wishes to be more than just the next step for the next up-and-coming head football coach, and if Moorhead turns out to be as good as I think he could he be, they better hold on tightly and don’t let go. Regime changes cannot happen more than once a decade; it can devastate a program, even ones rising as quickly as the Mississippi State Bulldogs. So, for the love of all things cowbell, if you’re worth your salt Coach Moorhead, please stay a while.
Despite what those other guys might tell you, you can win a natty here.