Listen, Read & Watch: There are no disappointing wins

Nov 13, 2021 | 0 comments


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Following Florida’s 70-52 win over Samford, Dan Mullen, Emory Jones, Kemore Gamble, and Dameon Pierce met with the media from the podium to discuss the win. Mohamoud Diabate, Justin Shorter, and Mordecai McDaniel.

Here are the main takeaways.

DAN MULLEN

  • Mullen has faced a lot of criticism this season for the team’s performances but said he is his own toughest critic. “No one is going to be harder on me than me. I want to win,” Mullen said. “I love the Gators, and I love winning. There’s nobody disappointed than when we don’t live up to the Gator standard than me. The criticism’s the criticisms. The self-criticism is a lot worse.”
  • Even though Florida won, many fans are disappointed with how the Gators won. Mullen disagrees with that sentiment. “Calling a win disappointing is disrespectful to the game and our players,” he said. “We’re enjoying the win because it’s hard to win in the game of football.” Mullen specifically gave credit to Samford quarterback Liam Welch, who accounted for 481 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.
  • With 70 points on offense today, this is the first time a Dan Mullen-led team has put up 70 points in a game. As the offensive coordinator at Florida in 2008, Florida put up 70 against the Citadel. “I’m an offensive guy, so I love scoring points,” he said. “Offensively, we needed guys to step up and guys to execute, and we did that.”
  • Emory Jones had a career-day today after a season of struggles. “It was great,” Mullen said. “He did a great job. Missed one or two reads here and there, but I thought, overall, not flinching in his ability to lead us.” Mullen was proud of his reads, his ability to take shots down the field, and his ability to get the offense in the right checks.
  • Anthony Richardson did not see the field until late in the fourth quarter. Mullen said he was limited early in the week and cleared at the end of the week. Mullen would have liked to play him earlier, but with the score being close and Emory playing as good as he was, he waited to put him in.
  • Florida has been dealing with an outbreak of the flu within the team. Mullen gave an update on the team’s health from this week. He said Monday was a good day, Tuesday saw about 30 players out again and Thursday had the most guys at practice over the past few weeks.
  • This was the first game with Christian Robinson as the defensive coordinator and Michael Sollene as the offensive line coach. Overall, Mullen thought they did well in their new roles. He said Robinson was calling substitutions and plays early and on time, but players struggled to be focused. On Sollene, Mullen was pleased with him. “I thought Mike did a really good job this week,” he said. “At times, we missed a couple of things here and there, but overall, we were pretty solid (on the offensive line).”

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EMORY JONES

  • Jones threw for a career-high 464 yards and 7 touchdowns today. Jones was 18 yards short of the all-time passing record. Jones’ 550 total yards broke the Gators’ all-time record in a game. “I didn’t even know that honestly,” he said. Jones said he has never had seven touchdowns in a game before.
  • With the game being a shootout, Jones said the goal was to score every drive. “That’s what we were planning on doing anyways,” he said. “Just keeping that mindset and just going out and executing.” In 13 drives, Florida scored ten touchdowns. There were two punts and one turnover on downs.
  • Jones was not the only Gator to have a career-day. Tight end Kemore Gamble was the team’s leading receiver both in yards and touchdowns. “Just seeing him come in the building every day and working his tail off… it’s definitely exciting for me and him,” Jones said.
  • Jones said the halftime message for the offense was to continue executing and putting points on the board. “We had to,” he said. “I was telling everybody that we get the ball back, so we have to set the tone and go ahead and score.” In the second half, Florida scored five touchdowns, four of which came through the air.
  • Jones did not turn over the ball once today, which has been a consistent struggle this season. “It was definitely more of a confidence builder for me,” he said. Jones called the last few performances for him and the team embarrassing. “We just had to come out today and improve.”
  • Jones praised backup Anthony Richardson for his support. Jones said that when Mullen subbed him in, Richardson did not want to go into the game because he wanted Jones to break more records. Jones told him no and to “just go in there and play ball.”

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KEMORE GAMBLE

  • On today’s win, Gamble was proud of the team’s performance. “It feels good to have that excitement back in the locker room,” he said. “We finally came together as a team and won.”
  • Gamble had a career day with six receptions, 122 yards and two touchdowns including a 46-yard reception. “It feels good,” he said. “My mom got to watch today.”
  • Gamble was emotional talking about his mother. She has been dealing with health issues. “She’s doing good,” he said. “It’s been hard trying to ignore it. My mom’s been in the ICU for two months.” Gamble added that he’s been trying to focus on football and has been talking with his family about everything. He said his brother and other extended family has been coming to games. His mom went home last week, and has been catching up on games that other family members recorded.
  • Gamble briefly talked about Jones’ career day. “He’s had up and downs this whole season. He’s fighting back. He’s grown a lot. Gamble was asked about how challenging it was for Emory to deal with the criticism from this season. “It’s very challenging hearing all the noise outside,” he said. “Fans and stuff. People bashing him. Messages and DMs. I know it’s hard.” He added that Jones has handled it well.

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DAMEON PIERCE

  • Overall, Pierce said the team was a little nervous early on, but there was no doubt they wouldn’t win. “We definitely sweated a little in the first half. That was unexpected,” he said. “We came in the second half, and we rallied.” Later on, Pierce added, “We never had any doubt we were going to lose the game. It was a matter of how we were going to win.”
  • Pierce has become a fan-favorite on offense with 10 rushing touchdowns, which includes two this afternoon. “I just try to contribute any way I can,” he said. “I’m perfect with my role on the team. I’m going to contribute any way I can.”
  • Next week against Missouri, Pierce will play his final SEC game in a Gators’ jersey. Pierce said he’s learned a lot in his four years in Gainesville. “It’s the game of football. It teaches you so many things. Not only football-wise. There are going to be many things I’ve learned here at the University of Florida that stick with me as a man.” Pierce said he will miss all of the relationships and memories he has made over the last four years.

MOHAMOUD DIABATE

  • Diabate discussed the first-half struggles and how much getting used to Robinson as the play-caller played a role. “I feel like we’re even more comfortable with him,” he said. “We were getting the calls earlier, getting them on time. There were simpler calls.” He said it comes down to players doing their jobs.
  • On the halftime adjustments, Diabate said all they needed was a simple conversation. “I had some choice words, and we came out and played even better in the second half,” he said. Diabate said the specific conversation was about representing the logo on your jersey, the name on your back and the logo on your helmet.
  • On the importance of the final games, Diabate believes every game is important. “Every game means everything,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get paid. It’s an opportunity to take care of your family and an opportunity to put on for Gator Nation.” Diabate says he doesn’t feel any pressure.
  • Diabate was asked about how it felt as a defense seeing the offense put up so many points. “It felt great seeing the offense pour on points,” he said. “I wish we would have been able to stop them more. The score would have looked a lot more appealing.”

JUSTIN SHORTER

  • Overall, Shorter, like the rest of his teammates, was proud of Jones. “He’s been doing that since camp, ever since last year. Ever since I’ve seen him, he’s been making throws.” Shorter caught six passes for 93 yards today.
  • Next week, Florida plays its last SEC game of the season against Missouri. Going into that last conference game, Shorter said the team will take it day-by-day, and it starts with practice on Monday.
  • Similarly, to Pierce, Shorter said there was never any doubt that Florida wouldn’t win. The turning point for the Gators was the 14-point deficit early in the game. From there, the team focused up, regrouped and put it all together.

MORDECAI MCDANIEL

  • McDaniel recorded his first career interception today. “Going out there, I kept myself prepared,” he said. “Even on the sideline, I was keeping my guys juiced up. When my time was called, I went out there and made the play.” He said the message from Mullen was to not wait on someone else to make a play, but to go make the play yourself.
  • Samford’s offense put up 45 points (7 came from a special teams touchdown) and 530 total yards. “Their offense came out just as hard as any other offense,” McDaniel said. “We just got to respond as a defense collectively. If we aren’t responding, we’re going to make it seem like they’re just as good as Alabama.”
  • McDaniel credits the halftime turnaround to how hard the team worked in practice this week. “We saw how we were playing in the first half, and it wasn’t adding up,” he said. “It was like we weren’t even looking at the score anymore, and we were just playing for our brothers.” After giving up 42 points in the first half, Florida shut the Bulldogs out in the third quarter.

FLORIDA-SAMFORD HIGHLIGHTS

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Rafael de los Santos, Jake Hitt, and Cameron Parker contributed to this report

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

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