FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Flipping Out: Florida flip candidates
- In Brief: Florida makes up ground for five-star Nolen
- Five-star Williams is already talking about a return visit to Florida
- Top 100 target has two programs standing out
- Gibson wowed by Florida crowd, has four programs standing out
- Mullen on Monday: No moral victories
- Weekend Visitor Insider Recruiting Notebook II
- Weekend Visitor Insider Recruiting Notebook I
- Recruit Reaction Part II: 'They didn’t back down, they stood their ground'
- Recruit Reaction Part I: 'I really enjoyed every second of the game'
In advance of Saturday’s SEC East matchup between No. 11 Florida and Tennessee, head coaches Dan Mullen and Josh Heupel shared their thoughts leading up to the game on Wednesday’s SEC Teleconference.
- Dan Mullen believes his team is responding the right way to the Alabama loss. They’re disappointed for not pulling out the win. He loves the attitude of the team and was impressed with how they’ve been practicing since. “We came out really hungry on Monday’s practice,” he said. And it was a little quiet out there on the field… So I got a little bit nervous… I'll tell you what it was one of our better practices, they came out with a very serious workman-like attitude…”
- Mullen was complimentary of Tennessee quarterbacks Joe Milton III and Hendon Hooker. Both played this season with Milton dealing with an injury. “They both have experience now, have played in games, both have strong arms to push the ball down the field,” he said. He mentioned how they’re good runners when executing designed runs or zone reads. But what makes them especially dangerous is their ability to extend plays when they break down.
- He called Tennessee a huge challenge and a big rivalry game. Mullen said the Volunteers are a “much-improved team this year.” They play hard defensively with a physical group upfront along with playing hard on special teams.
- One of the characteristics of the Tennessee offense is its high tempo. Mullen said it’s just something different and is kind of hard to simulate in practice. “What we can’t do is be shocked by the speed of that once the game starts, how fast they're going to snap the ball, how fast they're going to get up there and run plays, and how fast we have to get the call in, getting lined up and be ready to go execute,” he said.
- He said Anthony Richardson is looking good. They’ll kind of take a similar approach to last week with tests. “We're going to do an MRI and see where is that do a full test on Friday, to give them the maximum time to get to 100 percent,” he said. He’s practiced a little more this week but hasn’t really been fully opened up yet.
- The synergy in the running back room comes from their maturity. “They put the team before themselves,” Mullen said of them. “They understand the importance of team football, but also their maturity within looking at their futures.” Now, there was some apparent frustration from Lorenzo Lingard on the lack of playing time earlier this week. But Mullen goes on to discuss how being a great special teams player can help a player make it to the NFL. The way they rotate backs allows all of them to play on special teams which allows them to put their play in that unit on tape.
- The first-year headman mentioned how excited they are for the challenge. The night game in the Swamp this Saturday is the team’s first road game and its SEC opener. He said he loves his players’ “continued growth as far as how we prepare and how we practice.”
- “I think that’s always been a part of what they’ve done offensively dating way to back to his (Mullen’s) previous stop when we played them,” the former Oklahoma assistant said of the Gators’ option game. He said the defenders have to play disciplined, play their keys, and be in the right spot. This week in practice has really been the first time they’ve worked on defending it for the most part.
- Heupel said the Gators’ fight is what catches his attention. “And I say that meaning that they're down early in that football game a week ago, they have competitive composure and continue to compete and just chip away at it.”
- He didn’t provide an update on Joe Milton III, who is dealing with a lower-body injury he sustained against Pitt in Week 2 and was held out against Tennessee Tech in Week 3. The No. 2 and No.3 quarterbacks are Hendon Hooker and Harrison Bailey. Heupel thinks both Milton and Hooker have been accurate with the football but have to do a better job of taking care of the football. “That's where our turnovers have happened on the offensive side of the ball,” he said. They can make plays in the passing game but the quarterbacks, wideouts, and protection have to work together.
- Heupel said his players need to make sure they do the ordinary things consistently at a really high level. Trying to do something extraordinary can sometimes get you in trouble. That’s important for when they head to the Swamp. They’ve practiced with crowd noise to prepare for it. “That's a place that has the ability to get extremely loud,” he said.
- He also mentioned how they have to do a good job containing quarterbacks in the pocket this week especially facing Florida’s quarterbacks. Tackling will be important for them. “They extend plays and can throw it down the field but they also run like runners and have the ability to make a man miss or run through a tackle too,” he said.