Mullen on Monday: Responsibility is to do what's best for Florida

Nov 8, 2021 | 0 comments


FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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One day after relieving defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy of their duties, Dan Mullen faced the press on Monday afternoon to discuss the changes and what he expects going forward.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Mullen was first asked about the emotional toll of having to relieve defense coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach/run-game coordinator John Hevesy. “Those guys are friends of mine. I have a lot of respect for them,” he said. “They’re both excellent football coaches. My responsibility as the head coach is to do what’s best for the Florida Gators. That comes above it all.” Mullen added that it was a tough decision to make and that it was weighing on him. He said he was probably going to make changes at the end of the season, but he felt he needed to do it now for the health of the program.
  • Mullen also built on what led him to make the decision to let them go now. “I looked at how we played Saturday and what led up to it, and we weren’t where we needed to be,” he explained. “You come in every season with a goal to win a championship. Very few do, and if you go to the National Championship there’s only one. It’s hard to judge success by that completely. One way to judge a successful season is are you a better team at the end of the season than at the beginning of the season.” Mullen added that if you look at the Gators, they are worse than they were at the beginning of the season. At that point, Mullen decided to make changes.
  • Linebackers’ coach Christian Robinson takes over defensive play calling duties from Grantham. “It’s a great opportunity for a guy like Christian Robinson,” Mullen said. “Really good young coach. Going to have an opportunity to call a game for the first time.” Additionally, Paul Pasqualoni moves from an off-field special assistant role to an on-field role for the rest of the season. Graduate assistant Michael Sollenne replaces Hevesy as the offensive line coach for the remainder of the season.
  • Overall, the South Carolina game led Mullen to ultimately decide to relieve Hevesy and Grantham of their duties. “It was weighing on me. The hard part for me has been our inconsistencies throughout the year,” he said. “There’s times we’ve played great defense. We just haven’t done it consistently. We’re one of the top rushing teams in the country, but we just haven’t been consistent with John (Hevesy) and on the offensive line.” Mullen reiterated that he was probably going to make changes at the end of the season, and rather than delay changes, make them now and move on. Later in the press conference, Mullen said confidence was not lost on either of the coaches, but that changes still needed to be made.
  • Mullen talked about his relationship with athletic director Scott Stricklin and the administration. “Our administration does an unbelievable job with the support they give us,” he said. “I have a great working relationship with Scott. And look at what we’re doing right now and the work we’re putting in.” Mullen talked about the recent renovations with the facilities and that Stricklin is constantly working with that. As far as the coaching changes go, Mullen said it was discussed with Stricklin, but that it was ultimately Mullen’s decision.
  • The 4-5 season has been a disappointment to say the least, with many fans passing the blame on Mullen. “I’m the head coach. I bear all of (the responsibility),” he said. “All of it is on my shoulders. I’m the one that’s responsible for this program.” Mullen said that the program isn’t playing up to the Gator standard, and that falls on him.
  • As far as problems within the program, Mullen said that there are many, not just one. “I think there are lots of problems. I’m pretty confident in myself,” Mullen explained. “Everybody has problems. The key is having solutions.” Overall, Mullen and Stricklin (according to Mullen) are confident that the program will be fixed. Mullen said his conversations with Stricklin described a long-term picture, not just a next-year scenario.
  • Many have described Mullen as “on the hot-seat” as the head coach, which causes some to wonder if coaches will want to come coach at Florida. Mullen disagrees. “This is Florida,” he said. “I think there’s a long list of people that want any job they can get here at the University of Florida in any aspect.” Mullen later said the focus is on Samford, but that he has some ideas. He doesn’t plan on naming anybody until after the season, but that he will have more time to think about it later in the week when the game plan is in.
  • With a 4-5 record, Florida will not play for an SEC Championship or a spot in the College Football Playoff. Mullen was asked how the team will be motivated to play the last three games and gave a passionate response. “Here’s the game of football. If you do not like football, it might be a challenge to go play. If you’re not a competitor, it might be a challenge to go play,” he said. “On Saturday in the Swamp, they light up the scoreboard, and there’s two teams that want to win the football game. Someone’s going to win, and someone’s going to lose. If you, need motivation beyond being a competitor and loving the game, then maybe football might not be for you.” Mullen said that motivation was there Monday through Friday, but it was missing on Saturday, and was disappointed with the effort and physicality during the game.
  • Freshman Marcus Burke finished the South Carolina game with two receptions for 73 yards, including a 61-yard catch in the first quarter. It was the first reception of his career. Mullen said he had been dealing with injuries all season, but was ready to go this week. Between other injuries and the flu, Burke was forced to play a much bigger role.
  • After Mullen left the podium, he gave an update on Anthony Richardson. According to him, Richardson was cleared from his concussion on Thursday, hurt his hamstring dancing at the hotel on Friday, and had treatment, and was cleared to play on Saturday. He is still dealing with soreness.

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

 

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