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Florida Football

Former Florida Football Player Roundtable IV

February 20, 2020

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We know how the media and the Gator Nation feel about the just concluded 2019 Florida football season. Over the next couple of weeks Inside the Gators will take it a step further by having former Florida football players share their thoughts on the season, grading Dan Mullen, the players who surprised and disappointed, who they believe will have a breakout 2020 season and much more.



Up today in Part IV are former Florida running back Ernie DuBose and linebacker Darrin Kitchens.

Taking everything into consideration, record, program building, recruiting, etc... on a scale of 1-to-10 how would you rate Dan Mullen as Florida's head football coach after his first two seasons?

Dubose: I am giving him a 9.5 because of his record, recruiting, offensive ranking, he has hired/kept the right defensive coach(es), energy, competency, bowl victories, state champions, etc...

Kitchens: I give Coach [Dan] Mullen an 8 because he hasn't won an SEC or National Championship as the Gators’ head coach. That's all. When he wins one of those I will rate him a 10.

What is the one thing that most impresses you about Mullen/Florida football?

Dubose: The consistent execution of routine plays on offense, that is an underrated component of an offense which had been lacking for years. That includes, but isn’t limited to: dependable offensive line play (pass protection), making the routine reads/throws/catches, and an expectation of moving the ball and scoring.

Kitchens: I'm most impressed that he was able to come right in and live up to the hype. That's not easy to do when the expectations are so high to start.

What is the one thing that you feel is least impressive about Mullen/Florida football?

Dubose:  I'm sure there's a reason, but I can't understand why Kadarius Toney didn’t get considerably more opportunities with the ball. He is the Jack Jackson, Jacquez Green, Percy Harvin of this team.

Kitchens: It isn’t Coach Mullen, but the least impressive thing about Gator Football right now is how bad the tackling has been on defense.


Our Behind-the-Scenes look at Florida Football - The In-Depth Anonymous Player Pre-Spring Q&A Parts I & II


What player surprised you most this past season?

Dubose: It has to be Kyle Trask.

Kitchens: Quarterback Kyle Trask mostly surprised me the most this season.

What player most disappointed you this past season?

Dubose: N/A

Kitchens:  I'm not disappointed by any one player in particular.

Taking into consideration who is returning at their position, what departing player do you feel Florida will miss most heading into next season?

Dubose: Defensively it’s Jonathan Greenard. On offense I’ll say Lamical Perine.

Kitchens: Van Jefferson and David Reese. I think they both had a presence on their respective sides of the ball on and off the field that was a big factor in the Gators’ success. It's always difficult replacing playmakers who were also leaders. 

What Florida player do you expect to have a breakout season in 2020?

Dubose: I'm just a fan of Dameon Pierce. He’s strong, tough, has forward body lean. He is an SEC style running back. I think he can stay healthy to accumulate enough carries to have a breakout season. Plus, the offensive line will be better,

Kitchens: Mohamoud Diabate is a versatile player who will probably do well at multiple positions. I predict the Gators will utilize his skill set to move him around a little more and that will give him more opportunities to make a bigger impact next season.

Specifically, what do you think of how Florida looks heading into next year at the position you played?

Dubose: The backs are unproven, but talented enough. Dan Mullen's offense and improved offensive line play will allow them to run more effectively. And we have the right mix of backs for this offense.

One more point, in Todd Grantham we have the best defensive coordinator in the country and we need to do whatever it takes to keep him! Pay him up there with what Brent Venables ($2.4 million) makes!

Kitchens: Florida is losing some good players, but are also gaining some good recruits.  I think Florida will have another good season and make a run at a SEC Championship. I think Coach Mullen is doing a good job helping his players develop. I think the environment they're creating for the team will help the younger guys get plugged in and adjusted quickly. I look forward to the upcoming season. The linebacker group is young, but they are a talented group of guys who I think will play well next season.


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