Mickey Marotti pondering Ohio State offer

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
11:10
AM ET
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mickey Marotti, Florida's strength and conditioning coordinator, is weighing a job offer to join Urban Meyer at Ohio State and is expected to make a decision today, a source close to the team told GatorNation Tuesday morning.

The source, which requested anonymity, also said that running backs coach Brian White will not leave Florida for Ohio State.

The source said Marotti feels a loyalty to Meyer, who helped him get a job at Notre Dame and brought him to Florida in 2005, but his family is happy in Gainesville. He and his wife Susie have a daughter who is a senior in high school and a college-age son.

"It's a big decision for him," the source said. "He and Urban are pretty close, but he likes Gainesville."

Marotti and Meyer have a relationship that dates back to their days as graduate assistants at Ohio State in the late 1980s. When Meyer was the receivers coach at Notre Dame in the late 1990s, he put in a good word for Marotti when Notre Dame was looking for a strength and conditioning coordinator. Marotti was hired there in 1998 and was there until Meyer hired him at Florida in January 2005.

Marotti has helped develop 22 All-Americans and eight first-round NFL draft choices in his tenure in Gainesville. He played an integral part in the two national championships Florida won under Meyer and also helped the Gators land quarterback Tim Tebow, who said Marotti was one of the reasons he came to Florida.

Marotti played a big role in UF’s 2008 national title. After the Gators beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game with two clock-killing fourth-quarter drives, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had this to say: “We ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. We didn’t finish and they did.”

Florida went on to play Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game. The Sooners used a fast-paced, no-huddle offense that scored an NCAA-record 702 points. UF’s defense was in such good shape the Gators never tired and held the Sooners to just 14 points.

Marotti also was the person who helped convince Meyer to return to Florida after he resigned on Dec. 26, 2009. The following morning, Marotti told Meyer to look around and see what he had accomplished and that a new staff wouldn't run the program the same way. That fiery conversation led Meyer to realize how many people were being affected by his decision, and he eventually decided to take a leave of absence instead.

Meyer hired White after the 2008 season to coach tight ends. He helped tutor Aaron Hernandez, who was an Associated Press first-team All-American in 2009 and went on to be a fourth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots. UF coach Will Muschamp moved White to running backs coach. He had spent 12 seasons at Wisconsin coaching running backs -- where he worked with first-round NFL Draft picks Michael Bennett and Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner -- and also served as offensive coordinator from 1999-2006.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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