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Florida Football

Mullen Monday: Competitive fire needed

November 4, 2019
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Dan Mullen met with the media on Monday afternoon to recap what went wrong in the loss to Georgia, provide some insight into what his offensive game plan looks like every week, preview Vanderbilt and update injuries.

Here are the highlights.

  • He said it will be great to play at home for the first time in a month. The last time they were in the Swamp, Gator Nation made a huge impact on the game against Auburn. He challenged the fans to do that again this week.
  • Vanderbilt "seems to always be a tough game,” he said. He added that they have one of the best running backs in the SEC in Ke’Shawn Vaughn and one of the top receivers in Kalija Lipscomb. Their defense is young and aggressive and is getting better every week.
  • On Florida State firing Willie Taggart: "We live in an instant gratification society.” He's always thought it was important for a coach to finish a season because he thinks everybody deserves to finish the year with their head coach.
  • Mullen said you can take winning for granted sometimes, and that's why you see so few teams go undefeated. Losing makes you see the reality that you can't just roll out there and expect to win. He said that their focus needs to be on their competitive intensity. He wants to see that intensity and drive to get back out there at practice Monday.
  • He'll learn more about his team in practice this week than he did in the Georgia game, he said.
  • He said skill position recruits are attracted to UF because they know he likes to spread the ball around. It's not just one or two guys carrying the load like on some other teams.
  • The four senior receivers are extremely unselfish and do their jobs on special teams, he said. They don't get upset if they don't get the ball a lot in a particular game. He said Freddie Swain's transition to the slot has made a big difference for him and has allowed him to make more big plays.
  • Injuries: Defensive end/linebacker Jeremiah Moon is out with a foot injury, and linebacker Amari Burney is doubtful with an undisclosed injury. They hope to have Burney back before the end of the season.
  • Mullen said they have different packages for Emory Jones, and they wanted to get him in more against UGA, but the limited number of possessions in the game didn't allow that.
  • He said he wants to see the competitiveness and fire in their eyes at practice today. “A lot of people enjoy winning." He said winning is like a drug; it's an addiction. He wants to get back out there and win more, and he hopes his players have that same drive.
  • Vanderbilt is a "tough, physical football team" with some young, talented players, he said. They're a dangerous team because they have some of the best players in the league at their respective positions. Their coaches do a good job of putting their players in position to be successful.
  • He said part of being successful is adapting to the way the game is being played. "You can't plan for only having three possessions in the second half."
  • On the controversial catch ruling by the officials that led to a Georgia field goal: He said he has tremendous respect for the SEC's officials, and they have one of the toughest jobs. They make mistakes like everybody else. He hasn't gotten any word from the league office, but he has asked for clarification. He said he usually gets feedback from them.
  • Mullen said they didn't run a lot of plays, which limited the amount of touches certain players could get. He added that they could have up to 167 plays in the game plan in a given week, so obviously they're not going to get to everything. He said they had about 225 plays in the plan against Oklahoma in the 2008 title game, which he believes is his record.
  • On Kyle Trask’s 19-yard sack: “There was a lot that went on on that play." He added that it was more than just Trask not making a smart decision.
  • Trey Dean's skillset fits the 'star' position; he just needs to execute better, he said.
  • He said redshirt freshmen offensive linemen Richard Gouraige and Christopher Bleich are growing and developing, and they're going to be good players in the future.
  • On the perceived talent gap between Florida and Georgia: Mullen said the talent gap is determined on the field. Both teams had talented players, and it's his job to find their favorable matchups and mask deficiencies.
  • He said he's going to bet that the College Football Playoff poll changes throughout the season, which shows that there's a lot of football still to play.

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Mullen Monday: Competitive fire needed

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