FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Florida Football 3-2-1: Special teams made special plays
- Recruit Reaction: I absolutely loved the Gators’ win
- Gators’ defense found its footing in win over Kentucky
- Florida offers fast-rising defensive tackle
- 10 things the Gator Nation should be thankful for
- Florida late-season NFL Draft preview (Part I)
- Florida late-season NFL Draft preview (Part II)
- Trask for Heisman? The experts like his chances
- Defensive Commitment List Rundown
- Offensive Commitment List Rundown
- On the Mark: Is the recruiting tide turning for Florida at IMG Academy
- Parental Perspective: Gamble rewards mom’s bravery
- Where are they Now: Shane Matthews talks Florida Football
- 30 Game Report Card: Mullen on par with Spurrier, coming up short of Meyer
Dan Mullen met with the media on Monday afternoon in advance of Saturday’s game at Tennessee. He addressed how the team is approaching this game knowing that a win clinches the SEC East, the offense’s success in critical situations, the adjustments the defense has made and more.
Here are the highlights.
- They got out of the Kentucky game healthy, and they're hoping receiver Trent Whittemore will be back this week following his broken rib and a punctured lung.
- This is a great opportunity for them to clinch the division, but the biggest emphasis is on getting better this week. It takes great mental toughness to prepare throughout the week for the game.
- Scoring on their opening drives and the final drives before the half are situations that they emphasize and spend a lot of time on. They did it as a team against Kentucky. The special teams made a great punt, the defense made the stop and the special teams got them the score.
- The cold weather expected in Knoxville on Saturday won't be that big of a factor. They have a lot of guys who aspire to play pro football, so they'll need to learn how to play in the cold eventually.
- He's had some coaches call and ask for advice on how to handle a COVID outbreak and shutdown. The fact that UF has already had an outbreak helps the players focus on the games. Mullen estimated that they're entering the week with 72 scholarship players.
- He's most pleased with his team's attitude and approach to this unique season. They've tried to get better every day and have maintained their desire to improve. He thinks they have good leadership, and they liked that even before the spring got shut down.
- Tennessee is a very talented team with great running backs, quarterbacks and receivers that can hurt you with deep balls, and an experienced defense. They're not looking ahead to a potential SEC Championship Game.
- Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham "has done a great job." They were short-handed to start the season, and he's done a great job of making adjustments based on the personnel that's available and with in-game adjustments. They've given up some points early but have shut down their last two opponents in the second half.
- Mullen doesn't think they were very efficient offensively and didn't reach any of their goals against the Wildcats. They knew Kentucky was one of the top pass defenses in the country, so give them credit as well. Defensively, they missed some fits in the run game, and that's something they need to improve, and that's something they've done well before this season. He did like that they didn't give up any big plays like they did in the few weeks prior.
- If you want to be successful, you've got to be mentally tough. It's a long journey to success, and it's easy to give up. They told the players on Monday morning that they can't get bored with repetition. They've got to have a great Monday practice even though they've been doing this since August.
- Winning on Saturday is the only thing they can do to help Kyle Trask's Heisman campaign. People already know his name and his story, so winning's the only thing they can do that will help him.
- Mohamoud Diabate has been a great special teams player for them, which has made him more confident and comfortable on defense. He's an explosive player with great speed who can track down some of those perimeter runs, which is something you could see him learn on special teams.
- Their lack of explosive runs this year might just be because of how defenses are playing them, Mullen said. They're playing deep, soft coverage, which forces you to be patient and efficient both in the passing game and the running game.