Dan Mullen pre-spring Press Conference

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Mark Wheeler
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Staff
Dan Mullen will address the media around 1 p.m. You can follow along here for updates from Jake and Alexa.
Jake Hitt
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Dan Mullen is here. Excited for spring practice to start. A lot of young players. Interesting how few guys they've had go through spring practice. A lot of the 19 and 20 classes haven't seen a spring. Critical couple of weeks to get the guys developed.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen says he didn't interview with any NFL teams this year. Mostly focused on Gators. A lot of rumors but didn't speak with any teams.

"A lot of people are trying to figure out what the future of college football will look like."
Jake Hitt
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Spring ball gives the coaching staff to evaluate players, finding out what guys do well and don't and making sure the scheme fits the players. A lot of that gets into an evaluation process. They'll be able to look at a lot of young guys.
Jake Hitt
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No word on Demarkcus Bowman's eligibility. Hasn't seen anything in writing from the NCAA. Mentions they're not sure what to do with the running back situation considering they haven't had practice. Could probably play more backs.
Jake Hitt
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Biggest issues with defense: Alignment, having sense of urgency to get calls in, make the calls to the players and getting everyone lined up. Sometimes too casual getting lined up and leaves guys looking around while the ball gets snapped.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen on benefits of the spring game:
Gets fans excited about next season and young players
Players' first introduction with fans.
Having a crowd, especially since it'd be bigger than anything they saw in 2020.

BUT no spring game does allow for more scrimmages.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen hits on a return to normalcy, a regular routine with coming back from the Cotton Bowl. A little more familiarity.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen really emphasizing the evaluation of players during spring practice. He thinks the identity of the offense won't really be set in stone. Mentions how it might change and how little of the actual playbook the team uses. He says they'll figure out how to best fit the offense to the players Florida has. They'll throw a lot of things at them.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen speaking highly of Brian Johnson, who left for the NFL. How they do things doesn't really change despite Johnson's departure. Talks up Garrick McGee saying he's coached at the highest level. Makes it an easy adjustment.
Jake Hitt
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How does Mullen change the offense and schemes? He says they're going to go back to maybe what fits with Richardson and Jones. Rarely used the quarterback run package, jokes it'd take Kyle Trask 4 minutes just to get around the edge.

He mentions how plays they'd run with Jones and Richardson might hit incredibly different than when Trask did it. Maybe see a more complex passing game given the skill sets of who they have.
Jake Hitt
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March 31st is the scheduled pro day for the Gators. Will be very different than in the past. There's a thought-out plan to doing so in place by the league and schools.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen on evaluating last season: There's ways to look at it. You could get upset because you want to win. But you have opportunities in every game throughout the season: what helped them win, what was a detriment. He says he can go through every one but says he's more versed in the losses than wins.

Mentions the randomness of things that happen, especially with LSU like the interception on the sideline. Brings up Alabama. A lot of times you play Alabama and you've lost before you've even started. Bama didn't make many mistakes and Florida still found themselves only six points down with the ball to end the game.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen on his success in the portal: Try to address needs with transfers rather than just taking them. Missed out on some maybe great players because it wasn't a need they had. They're looking to not get backups but guys who can come in and make impacts for any number of reasons (draft, transfers out, injuries). It's a win for everyone.
Jake Hitt
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Couple factors in spring practice being earlier:
  • Not on the road in January for recruiting, able to wrap the season up earlier
  • Have the option to do than most other schools, mentions how everywhere else is dealing with snow
  • Brings back up how few guys they have who played spring ball
  • Players are a lot more attentive when watching themselves do it so the early practice allows them to get film to review earlier

Spring practice should be done by March 20
Jake Hitt
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Mullen is speaking Jags coach Urban Meyer and how he taught him about building a program. He talks about how using your expectations more as an outline than anything. Take the outline and apply it to whatever team or program you have. The specifics might change but outline stays the same.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen on Antonio Shelton and DaQuan Newkirk: Brings up their leadership. Understood they were some of the older players in the defensive line group. They expected to have leadership roles, not just act like the new guys. He's impressed with the example they've set but is looking forward to the contributions they'll make on and off the field.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen solidifies the roles of Montinar and McGriff: Montinar will work with corners while McGriff takes the nickels and safeties. But, both coaches will work together.

He mentions how he tried to hire McGriff before. He was Mullen's first call when the position opened up. Researched a lot of different directions where to go after hiring McGriff. Says Montinar is a guy who worked his way up the coaching ranks. A no-brainer.

You want to build a staff that will work together.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen on his foot-in-mouth incidents: Maybe sometimes he said regrettable or misinterpreted things but you're always trying to get better. You reflect on whether something is approached correctly. We're in unique times and the message you might try to make could get legs of its own and spread from there.

He'll try to keep a positive message as he stifles a chuckle. Goes into depth charts as actually one of those things that grabs legs of its own. You put something out and everyone starts making assumptions.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen on name, image and likeness: It'll be interesting how it affects everything. He's for it but there's a lot of uncertainty about it. Florida actually has a law going into effect July 1. It's not just about the positive impacts but also the negative or unexpected ones. The staff spent a lot of time being aware of that moving forward.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen says he doesn't control how coaches negative recruit against him. Says it that might be a better question in someone else's press conference.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen speaking about the transition from college to the NFL. There are so many different things that go into the success. Urban's a great guy and a great motivator of players. Sets a high standard. He's been successful everywhere so you'd expect him to be successful with the Jaguars.

Mentions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having success. Wonders if Urban can have success for another local team.
Jake Hitt
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Mullen talking Malzahn to UCF: He's an innovator and thinks he'll do a great job. Mullen wondered if Malzahn might take a year off just to give himself a break. Says Malzahn will be ready to go and Mullen's happy for him to get an opportunity.
Jake Hitt
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Dan Mullen has left the building.
baseballdad16
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Jake Hitt said:

Biggest issues with defense: Alignment, having sense of urgency to get calls in, make the calls to the players and getting everyone lined up. Sometimes too casual getting lined up and leaves guys looking around while the ball gets snapped.
Been that way for at least the last two years. I agree with you wholeheartedly, too much standing around and not getting set until just before the snap of the ball.
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