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Florida head coach Dan Mullen and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart spoke to the media during the weekly SEC Coaches Teleconference before Saturday’s game in Jacksonville.
Here are the top takeaways from their comments.
- As expected, both coaches were asked about the quarterback situation, with neither adding much insight. “They both look good and they're both doing a good job,” said Smart of his two quarterbacks, Stetson Bennett and JT Daniels. When asked if both would play on Saturday, he repeated that response. When asked about quarterbacks, Dan Mullen responded with, “we will play a quarterback on Saturday. We'll have a quarterback on the field.” He also joked about potentially playing a running back at quarterback and coming out in the wishbone formation.
- Smart was asked about the challenges of preparing for a Dan Mullen coached team. “There's this encyclopedia of offense to prepare for going into the game.” said Smart, “because within the game there are a lot of different packages to be prepared for.” Smart said that this preparation goes back to when Mullen was still the head coach at Mississippi State.
- Smart was asked about Florida’s defense and had plenty of praise. “Fast, really good players on the edge,” said Smart, “they make plays on the edge that make it hard to get on the perimeter and make it hard to throw the ball. Very disruptive.” Dan Mullen was asked a similar question about Georgia’s defense, pointing to the Bulldogs' size and physicality in the front seven, saying this year’s Georgia team is even more physical than last year. Mullen also praised Smart for how he tweaks the defense to his personnel, particularly in reference to the Georgia secondary this year.
- When talking about Georgia's offensive approach, Mullen emphasized how it all stems from the running game. “They do a good job running the football,” said Mullen, “when you do that you have the opportunity on the edge to create some matchups and create some big plays down the field.” Mullen also said he doesn’t think the Bulldogs offensive approach is that different with either quarterback, but they’ll have to adjust to the skillset of whoever’s in the game.
- Mullen was also asked about junior cornerback Kaiir Elam and super-senior linebacker Jeremiah Moon. When asked about Elam’s decision to keep working and contributing to this Florida team instead of opting out for the NFL, Mullen said, “ it shows you love the game of football and you love being on the team … it just shows his work ethic, his grind and his improvement every day.” He also added how Elam’s stepped up as a leader for the younger cornerbacks like Avery Helm and Jason Marshall. As for Moon, Mullen joked about how Moon’s been there longer than he has and praised his adaptability defensively. “With him and being an older guy, it's his flexibility and ability to move him around the field,” said Mullen, “not just his willingness to do it, but the ability to do it.”
WCC: Updates on everything Mullen and Smart had to say can be seen HERE.