Mullen on Monday: Florida will seek an immediate eligibility waiver for Cox

Aug 12, 2019 | 0 comments

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There was no shortage of topics for Dan Mullen and the media to discuss at Monday’s press conference, from John Huggins’ dismissal, the retirement of Noah Banks, the addition of Brenton Cox, the scrimmage on Sunday night and more.

Here are some of the highlights from Mullen’s final press conference before game week:

  • He said this scrimmage went better than the first, as there were fewer missed tackles and massive breakdowns. Some guys took step forwards, and it was a cleaner scrimmage. Whereas the first scrimmage was more situational stuff, the second one more closely resembled a game, with field position determined organically instead of the ball being placed at a certain spot by coaches. There were still a few guys making small mistakes every now and then, but they were correctable mistakes.
  • There were a few minor scrapes and bruises, but he said they’re still pretty healthy as a team right now.
  • They only have three training camp-style practices left before game week, so he wants to see a heightened sense of urgency from some guys to get themselves ready to play.
  • In the past, Mullen said he might’ve taken two weeks to prepare for a major opening opponent like Miami. But, with the NCAA reducing the period of time you can hold your training camp in, they cannot do so anymore because of player development and safety concerns.
  • He’ll leave it up to Noah Banks as to whether he’ll continue to be involved with the program the way Randy Russell is. “It’s a very personal deal,” he said. Some guys want to remain involved, while others can’t handle the emotions of being around the team and not being able to play. He added that Banks would’ve been in the rotation to play.
  • He said Feleipe Franks is more comfortable with the offense; now, it’s about learning how to apply it against different defenses. The key to creating more explosive plays in the passing game is to know when to take the deep shot and when to check it down. "The more you check the ball down, the more you get to throw it downfield."
  • He said the decision to dismiss John Huggins was his and not the university’s. He didn’t live up to the “Gator Standard,” but nothing specific was given as to why the decision was made on Saturday. He’s comfortable with the way he’s running the program, and he doesn’t listen to outside criticism.
  • He said he’s always concerned about depth, and the best teams in the country are usually the ones that stay healthy. He added that having three bye weeks this season should allow them to stay healthier, as they’ll be able to give the guys more time off for recovery and rehab.
  • Miami announced on Monday morning that Jarren Williams will be their starting quarterback. Mullen said they’ll look at him as best as they can, but that’s going to be difficult because he has yet to take a snap in a college game and the Hurricanes have a new offensive staff. Because of all the uncertainty, he said opening games are more about executing your game plan than focusing on what the opponent does. You can’t rely on out-scheming people.
  • He expects all three freshmen corners – Kaiir Elam, Jaydon Hill and Chester Kimbrough – to play this season. "They're going to get the opportunity to grow a bunch this year."
  • Freshman defensive tackle Jaelin Humphries is on their training camp roster, but he still hasn’t practiced as he deals with a medical issue that he had when he arrived on campus.
  • He said he recruited Brenton Cox a little bit when he was at Mississippi State, but he didn’t have much of a chance at landing him at a school like that. When Cox entered the transfer portal early last week, he reached out to the Gators’ players to ask about the program. He knew some of the players, and UF is close enough to his hometown in Georgia that his family can watch him play. Mullen and his staff moved quickly to get him on campus because they thought he would be a great fit for their defense.
  • He said they’re going to apply for a waiver for immediate eligibility for Cox, and he feels good about their chances based off of similar cases.
  • Mullen said that while outsiders aren’t paying much attention to special teams because the kicker, punter and main returners are back, it’s a huge point of emphasis for the staff because they lost a lot of starters from last season. They’ve been rotating a bunch of guys through at all the spots in practice, and the depth chart will be set later this week. He joked that there are 88 starting spots if you count special teams.
  • He said he didn’t know Larry Scott very well prior to interviewing and hiring him at Florida. He’s very good at relating to everybody on the team, and that’s probably the reason why Miami turned to him as interim head coach in 2015.
  • When Mississippi State’s head strength and conditioning coach left prior to the Belk Bowl in 2015, Mullen promoted Nick Savage to the position on an interim basis. He told him that he had a month to prove why he deserved the full-time position. Mullen said he was impressed by Savage’s energy and how he handled everything thrown at him in that short period of time. "He hasn't let me down since.”
  • The tight ends are coming along, but Mullen wants them to be more consistent and stay healthy. They’re going to move guys around to create favorable matchups and use some multiple tight end sets.
  • Finally, he said Shawn Davis is developing well and becoming more comfortable in the defense. He’ll be in the rotation at safety.
Tags: Player

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