FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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- Recruit Reaction: 'It was a huge win by the Gators!'
Coach Dan Mullen spoke to the media for his weekly Monday press conference, giving his thoughts on last Saturday’s performance against Tennessee, and injury update and his team moving forward.
Here are the main takeaways:
- Mullen addressed injuries for the Gators. Anthony Richardson is back to 100 percent. He was 100 percent last week but held him out of caution. He described Kaiir Elam as probable for this week and said they (the trainers) feel pretty good about him being back in the game this week. Stewart Reese and Jean Delance were held out against Tennessee too with Mullen saying he'd rather use 100 percent backups in Josh Braun and Michael Tarquin than 75 percent starters. After going down a couple of times during the game, Mullen also said center Kingsley Eguakun is "fine."
- He mentioned how in the SEC you have a stretch of big games at points and his team is one of those. An improvement he saw in Tennessee was his team's decrease in mental errors and said he even made some. One specific mistake he takes responsibility for is the delay of game penalties.
- Mullen was asked about possible parity in college football this season. His answer they are only four weeks into the season."I think everybody's trying to figure out who's good and who's not," he said. And Mullen noted how his Mississippi State team in 2014 wasn't ranked through four weeks then a few weeks later they were No. 3 in the country.
- Mullen was very complimentary of Mark Stoops and the job he's done at Kentucky. Described how he's done well to establish an identity. They have a "big, physical defense" with a power running game that they complement nicely with play action. In his mind, the Wildcats have switched up how they utilize that ground game schematically too. "I always give Mark (Stoops) a lot of credit," Mullen said. "I think he's built a program the right way and it shows with their consistency of how they've won over the last several years."
- Trey Dean was named Defensive Player of the Game by Florida in it'd win over the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday. He mentioned how the coaches are going to put players in the position to succeed so they just need to trust in them and make plays.
- Dean has plenty of experience playing on the road in the conference as a senior defender. "On the road, it's always going to be a big competition," Dean said. They just have to stay poised and handle the crowd.
- As the elder statesman in a young secondary, Dean does a lot to help them as much as possible. Every time they come to him with a question he tries to put himself in their shoes and tries to keep them calm so they can make plays. He does that because he's been where they are and knows having a veteran to put you in the right position playing behind you can make a player more comfortable. He has confidence in every single defensive back on the team.
- It didn't surprise Dean when Kyle Trask performed well after replacing Feleipe Franks against Kentucky in 2019. He said that because every day Trask prepared like he was the starter and that let him be ready when the time came.
- Jones thought back on that night in Lexington in 2019. It was an emotional night and it still makes him emotional. Seeing Feleipe Franks go down meant he and Kyle Trask would have to step up. "It was a crazy moment, I remember everything about it."
- Jones was asked what he thought of his performance against Tennessee when watching it on film: "I saw a guy that looked more comfortable… overall it was a pretty good performance for me." He felt he was processing things smoothly and making quick decisions. However, he did note how the team needs to play with more focus overall.
- The Gator QB did something not done since Tim Tebow in 2009 when passed for over 200 yards and rushed for over 100 more along with two touchdowns against the Volunteers. That performance earned him Co-Offensive Player of the Week from the SEC. But the first thing he thought about with those accolades was his offensive line. He brought up how Ethan White earned Co-Offensive Player of the Game against the Vols. Jones mentioned later on he always wants to praise guys who do a lot of work but it doesn't show up on the stat sheet.
- This Saturday is Florida's first true road game. When asked what he thinks the team will learn about itself he said, "You never know going into the game." Later on he mentioned how he's learning different things about himself and the team game-to-game.
- An interesting tidbit is Dan Mullen actually will let Emory Jones call a play, run the offense himself, or ask Jones what play he likes in a certain situation. Florida's quarterback brought that up when someone asked him about what makes Mullen such a great quarterback coach outside of the obvious things. For Jones, that instills a lot of confidence in himself knowing Mullen trusts him like that.
- Jones said he is very excited to get Anthony Richardson back this week. He mentioned how Richardson was mad he didn't get in against Tennessee but spoke with AR about how they needed him to be 100 percent and him not playing that week ensured that.
WCC: Updates on everything Dan Mullen, Trey Dean, and Emory Jones had to say can be seen HERE.