Mullen Press Conference 9-14

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Dan Mullen will speak with us around 12:30. Follow along for updates.
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Mullen says today was a big day for UF to be named the sixth best public university. "It's a pretty special deal" to also be ranked No. 5 in football, and that is reflected in the quality of athletes that come here.

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He says they had all of their meetings in the morning on Saturday, so nobody was there when the stadium caught fire. He adds that not much damage was done to the stadium.
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He says you see a wide range of stuff when looking at other teams. The one thing that stood out to him watching the NFL yesterday were the amount of mental errors that aren't normally made. That's something they're emphasizing to their players. They need to avoid penalties and other mental errors.
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He says they were a "little bit stale" in their last practice on Friday. They'll practice twice this week and have a mock game on Thursday. He wants to see the intensity pick up without the excitement of game week becoming crippling.
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Mullen says they've done pretty good with injuries. He'll give us the full report next Monday.
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He says nobody is out for the season so far, he thinks.

He says they've talked a lot about not allowing protesting social justice issues to become a distraction from the task at hand. He talked to Dak Prescott, and the most important things are to understand what your reason is and respect others who make different decisions. His players know they have a voice and to use it appropriately. He's talked to his team about how to promote meaningful messages that differ each week.
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He says his biggest concern is translating into game mode. In practice, if you make a mistake, you just put the ball back down where it started and do it again. They have to get into the flow of understanding the attention to detail that is needed.

He says Justin Shorter is a very talented player who has worked hard and blocks well. He understands the importance of the complete game, i.e. that a block is just as good as a 50-yard catch sometimes.

He says he was at home scheduling practice when some kids stopped by their house and told them that the stadium was on fire. Once he found out that everything was fine, he decided to have fun with it on Twitter.
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The mock game covers everything from entering the field, warmups. substitutions and singing the fight song after the game.

They won't alter the schedule this week with the 11 a.m. local kick in Oxford. They're working with the medical staff to start making plans for the trip. They'll have assigned seats on the bus, different arrangements on the plane, spaced out locker rooms, different roommate assignments, more single rooms, etc.

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Mullen says a couple more guys tested positive, and he thinks they might have some false positives that have been identified. We'll get the updated numbers tomorrow. He credits the medical staff for creating a safe environment for the players and the players for doing a good job.
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He says the mock game won't even include helmets; it's not a scrimmage.
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He says the experience of his coaches being together for a long time helps them understand this expectations, how they practice, what their in-season schedule looks like, etc. He doesn't have to spend a lot of time getting them up to speed. They have a great group of coaches, and their camaraderie makes for a good work environment and keeps guys from leaving. The challenge is that you can become complacent and stop looking for new ways to do things.
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He says Billy Gonzales does a great job of developing players. Two years ago, they were considered to have one of the worst receiving corps in the country. Two years later, four of them are in the NFL. They recruit great players, run a pro-style offense and develop their fundamentals. He's very knowledgeable and understands the big picture of the game. He's good at motivating and getting the most out of his players.
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Mullen says Shorter has a great work ethic. When you take a talented guy with a great work ethic and a great coach, you're going to see rapid progress.
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He says Dante Lang's move to defensive end was a combination of depth concerns and trying to find a better fit for him. He told him he loved his athleticism and pass-rushing ability when he was recruiting him in high school, but Lang told him he was coming to play tight end at UF. He thinks he has a future at defensive end. He's up to the mid-280 range now.
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He says if you look at Alex Smith's comeback as an outsider, it's very motivating. The Project 11 documentary was hard for him to watch, though, because he knows the family personally. His drive to come back from that injury didn't surprise him; he graduated college in two years. It also shows the drive he has to overcome the obstacles in his life.
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He says he's going to make the calls to NFL personnel later today and tomorrow to get feedback on the game day environment.

He says Jeremy Crawshaw is doing great but has never played live football with the loss of spring. Jacob Finn has also done a solid job, and it'll be interested to see who wins the job. He'll make the decision late next week.
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Mullen says they had Dak Prescott talk to the team last week about how to use your voice. He's proud of Prescott for detailing his bout with depression following his brother's suicide. He thinks having a voice like that is especially important given all of the mental health issues that will likely arise over the next couple of years following COVID and the quarantine. He gives somebody that people can look to and understand that they're not alone and that they shouldn't be afraid to speak out about these issues. He adds that you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who hasn't dealt with depression or anxiety to some degree since March. When you start to experience those feelings, you can find people that are dealing with the same things you're dealing with.
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He says the positive virus tests haven't impacted practice, other than the protocols they were already doing. It hurts individual growth more than anything else.
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He says Lorenzo Lingard is behind the other running backs in picking up the offense. He's been most impressed by his attitude and work ethic. He works his tail off, plays hard and contributes on special teams. He's been very conscientious about picking up the offense.
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That's all for Mullen.
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