Mullen Monday: This Week is Why You Come to Florida

Sep 30, 2019 | 0 comments

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Dan Mullen kicked off homecoming week with his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon. He discussed Auburn’s dominant front-seven, Bo Nix, all of the hype surrounding this game, his painful past with Auburn and more.

Here are the highlights.

  • He thought they followed their plan to win pretty well against Towson in all three phases, but there are still some small details that they need to improve.
  • Weeks like this are why players and coaches come to UF, and they don’t shy away from anything, he said. He thinks that having the HBO cameras following the team around last week will help them block out the distractions that come with a week like this.
  • He said he doesn’t worry about the veteran players returning from injury this week. It’s just a matter of getting them some reps so they can work themselves back to 100 percent. CJ Henderson and Jabari Zuniga haven’t gotten a lot of reps the past few weeks.
  • Mullen said Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's defenses are always aggressive and fundamentally sound. They have three guys that could've been high draft picks after last season that chose to come back. He added that they would've probably been drafted higher than some of the Gators' players that did leave. This isn’t the first time Mullen has taken a subtle shot at some of his players’ decisions to turn pro after last season.
  • He thought Bo Nix was one of the best high school quarterbacks in the country last year and grew up wanting to be a Tiger. He's handled everything thrown at him well so far, and he’s a threat with both his arm and his legs. They tried recruiting him to UF, but he didn’t feel like there was a lot of mutual interest.
  • It would be great for the fans and players to get a chance to play a team like Auburn in the Swamp more often. The two teams haven’t met in Gainesville since 2007.
  • He said he's known AU coach Gus Malzahn for a long time. He likes that he's not afraid to try new things, and he puts his players in the best positions to make plays. He's good at getting the ball in his playmakers' hands even when defenses try to take things away from them.
  • The talent level and depth between Auburn’s defensive line and Mississippi State’s 2018 defensive line are similar, but they run very different schemes, so the preparation is different.
  • Mullen said the throwback uniforms that they’ll wear this weekend "look pretty cool." The administration probably told him about it in the spring, but he has no recollections of it. He teased that there might be a black jersey someday.
  • Florida played at Auburn in 2006, when Mullen was the offensive coordinator. He said Auburn was a really tough environment to play in, and they gave up touchdowns on a pair of fluky plays and lost.
  •  Kyle Pitts has gotten more comfortable within the offense as a tight end, he said. "We expect tight ends to be a huge factor in our offense." He pointed out that three touchdowns were scored by tight ends on Saturday.
  • Mullen told the story of his appendectomy. On the Thursday of Auburn game week in 2007, he didn’t feel very good and saw the trainers. Urban Meyer reminded him that he was scheduled to appear on his weekly radio show that night. So, he did the show and started to feel a bit better. When he woke up on Friday morning, he “just didn’t feel right.” He went to the quarterbacks meeting and the walkthrough to prepare the offense for the game. His wife, Megan, drove him to Shands hospital, and they snuck him in a back entrance. They did their tests and found that he needed his appendix removed. Mullen asked the doctor if the surgery could wait until after the game, and the answer was no. They did the surgery. In order to be released, he had to pee so many times on Saturday morning so they could verify his health. So, he drank a ton of water and paced up and down the hallway to expedite the process. Then, on the drive to the stadium, they got into a minor car wreck. Florida lost that game and didn’t score in the first half, but Mullen said he didn’t think the surgery affected his play-calling.
  • The offensive linemen need to understand the sense of urgency it takes to be successful and not just in practice, he said. "What extra things are you doing to make sure you're improving?"
  • Fans have a bunch of options to watch games now, which makes it difficult to draw huge crowds, Mullen said. He thinks the crowd this weekend will show how important it is to schedule different opponents instead of the same teams over and over. He also said that while fans can enjoy the game from their couch, the appeal of going to games is the chance to witness a once-in-a-lifetime moment such as Brad Stewart’s pick-six against LSU last season.


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