SEC Teleconference: 'Noise in the system'

Oct 6, 2021 | 0 comments

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In advance of Saturday’s SEC East matchup between No. 20 Florida and Vanderbilt, head coaches Dan Mullen and Clark Lea shared their thoughts leading up to the game on Wednesday’s SEC Teleconference.

Dan Mullen

  • Mullen was asked if not dealing with crowds in 2020 might’ve affected preparing for road games in 2021. In the SEC home field is so important and it’s been a while since his team’s had to deal with it so he said they just have to get accustomed. But he did mention it wasn’t the main reason his team struggled with penalties against Kentucky. “I think, obviously, a lot of guys haven't played in the environments and when you go on the road it's always a challenge in the SEC,” he said. “That's what makes this league so special is the crowds, the fans (and) the excitement.”
  • Florida’s defense allowed just 211 yards and 14 points to Kentucky in the loss. When asked for comment on that performance, Mullen said he thought the defenders did a good job “getting hats” on the ball and wrapping up ball carriers. Kentucky’s only explosive play that night was on a 41-yarder by Wan’Dale Robinson on a screen. He believes there’s a lot they can build off that. Part of it is the younger players coming into their own. “…we're down both our starting corners, we’re down our captain middle linebacker,” he said. “But you're starting to see some of the younger guys start to mature and get more comfortable on the field.”
  • There’s been a lot of “noise in the system” since Florida fell to Kentucky. People are questioning coaching decisions, playcalling and the play of quarterback Emory Jones. “Our guys, especially older guys, they understand it's about six inches between a pat on the back and a kick in the rear end,” he said.
  • He feels his team is responding well to the loss. He mentioned, as he always does, he likes the attitude of his players. They’ve looked at what they did well, what they didn’t and how they can improve. It’s something you do win or lose, as cliché as that sounds. “That's what takes the maturity, and that's where your growth comes from as a team is to look at things in that light,” he said.

Clark Lea

  • The first-year headman at Vanderbilt was asked about the challenges Florida’s offense presents. He said Mullen and Co. are quite creative on that side of the ball. “They're going to stretch you out, they're going to force you to defend the quarterback… they're going to have a physical run game,” he said. “I think their line has played really well and I think the combination of those things makes for a tall task.”
  • Run defense will be especially key for them. They played inconsistent defense so far this season but Lea mentioned the Commodores have to win at the line of scrimmage, the players in the second and third level have to fit gaps and beat the ball carrier to the spot. “We have to be ready to play our best football at the first two levels to have a chance to limit this run game and be in a position to win,” he said.
  • Vanderbilt blew an 11-point lead and needed a two-minute drill led by Ken Seals to set up the game-winning field goal against UConn last week. Lea said that happening is a confidence builder for his team. He considers it a reward for effort. “It's a young program, a young team, it's a team that's still learning how to win (and) a team that's learning how to play at its highest level,” he said. “I don't know that we know what that looks like yet. We're fighting for that.”


WCC: Updates on everything Dan Mullen and Clark Lea had to say can be seen HERE.

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