Mullen and Riley Press Conference

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Ethan Hughes
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Dan Mullen and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley will hold a joint press conference at 9 to discuss tomorrow's game. Follow along for updates.
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Riley says they're very excited to play in the Cotton Bowl. They've had a great lead up to this game and have been excited to prepare for this game. They understand the opportunity that this game presents. He thanks the Cotton Bowl for still putting on a first-class bowl game despite the challenges this year.

Mullen says the opportunity to experience and see a different city than usual makes a bowl game special. The hospitality and the set-up for the players is first-class. Seeing all of his guys with a smile on their faces yesterday is what it's all about. It was cool to see them just enjoy being college kids while playing some games yesterday. His players are thrilled to see AT&T Stadium in their walkthrough today and compete against one of the top programs in the country.
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Mullen says "college football as we know it will be different over the next several years" due to changing transfer policies and athlete compensation rules. That doesn't necessarily make it better or worse, just different. He says he hasn't considered jumping to the NFL, but if the opportunity presented itself, it's something that he'd have to consider what's best for his family just like players do when they leave for the NFL.
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Riley says the RPO stuff won't ever go away, but the game will evolve and new trends will emerge. That's what makes coaching fun.

Mullen says snapping the ball directly to a tight end was considered revolutionary when he was at Utah. He says they're always looking for new ideas. A lot of the philosophies and principles are the same; they just look different over the years.
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Mullen says they're excited to see some of the backups get a chance to play tomorrow with the opt-outs. Those guys are excited to go make plays. He thinks they have around 60 scholarship guys available.
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Riley says the pandemic is a factor in decisions to opt-out of the bowls. He doesn't think this is some overarching indictment on the bowls. He cautions that they still have a majority of their players who think this game is very important.

Mullen says they had one total opt-out the last two years. The pressures that the players have been under this year and the lack of a true bowl experience make this a unique year.
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Riley says Florida's defense is very talented, and he has a lot of respect for Todd Grantham. They really flash on film and can make a lot of big plays. You have to play very sharp to move the ball on them. It'll be a fun matchup.
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Riley says knowing that they made it through the entire season will be special. He'll always look back on this season and be proud of what the sport was able to accomplish. They have the worst possible setup to make it through a pandemic among sports, and they found a way to do it. It's been a lot of fun, and that's made them more appreciative of being able to play.

Mullen says it's been an extremely difficult year. He's really proud of his guys being able to handle it and the sacrifices they've made.
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Mullen says Urban Meyer is very happy with where he is in life right now, but it wouldn't surprise him to see him back on the sidelines someday because of the competitor he is.
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Riley says there are a lot of really good coaches in Arizona and the climate is conducive to training year-round, and that's led to a run on really good QBs out of Arizona in recent years, including OU's Spencer Rattler.
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Riley says they've elevated special teams analyst Ryan Doherty to replace Shane Beamer on the staff for this game.
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Mullen says Kyle Trask has done an unbelievable job of leading the program since he first took the field, and he's a great role model for people in life of how to work, not look for the easy road and be ready for your opportunity. He's excited to play against a great Oklahoma team. "He's the guy you want leading, whether you're going into a football game or a corporate sales meeting."
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Riley says each year is its own year; the poor defensive showings in their last three bowl games have nothing to do with tomorrow. All they can control is how they perform tomorrow night.
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Mullen says Trask wanting to play in this game shows his character and why he's the team captain for them. He battled through a QB logjam in high school. He waited on the bench for three years at Florida. "You never want to count him out of anything." Competitors want to play in big games, and he's a competitor, so he's excited to play in this game.
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Riley says they had some young guys who were close to being ready to play toward the middle of the season. That depth against an offense like this could be an advantage.
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Mullen says the program is right there and competing with the top teams in the country. The margin for error to win championships is extremely small. They lost two games by a field goal and lost by six points to Alabama. If you look back on the two national championships he won at Florida, if you change the outcome of 10 plays, they wouldn't have even been in the championship game. It's the same thing this season in the opposite direction. You never know which one or two plays will be the deciding plays, so it's important for the entire team to be prepared.
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That's all for today.
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