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Mullen Monday: Defense to put players in better positions

October 12, 2020
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Dan Mullen met with the media on Monday afternoon to discuss the defensive debacle against Texas A&M, his controversial postgame comments about packing the Swamp, Nay’Quan Wright’s emergence, and more.

Here are the highlights.

  • You've got to give Texas A&M credit for making plays, especially on some of the 50-50 balls down the field. Quarterback Kellen Mond played like a veteran and threw some guys open. He thought they needed to be more physical against the run. LSU will be another physical battle this week.
  • After the loss, Mullen challenged the UF administration to allow 90,000 fans to pack the Swamp for the game with LSU to create the same environment that the Aggies enjoyed. On Monday, he said he hasn't had any discussions with athletic director Scott Stricklin regarding his comments. He thinks they've been a model of safety during this period with all of the precautions they've had in place. He thinks Texas A&M created an exciting atmosphere and did a great job of doing that. He's focused on beating LSU. They need to work on trying to create the best atmosphere they can with however many fans are allowed to be there.
  • You learn a lot about your team as the season goes on. After a few games last year, they unexpectedly turned into a big passing offense. As coaches, they spend time trying to figure out if they're putting guys in positions to make plays. For example, they have a quarterback run section of the playbook that they're not calling much this year. They had a good understanding that this was going to be a pass-heavy offense this year. In a 10-game, league-only season, you've got to figure these things out quicker.
  • Mullen said they tweaked the offense to include a fullback when he and Urban Meyer got to UF in 2005 to match the personnel they inherited. It's the same thing defensively this season. He knows their defensive scheme and coaching are sound, but it's a matter of putting players in positions to do what they do well and mask their weaknesses.
  • The three phases of the team have to be able to trust each other to help them out. You can create negativity if you start pointing fingers, but it's all about scoring one more point than the other team. It's fun to play defense with an explosive offense. He asked Evan McPherson which direction he wanted to kick in the fourth quarter to kick the game-winner. He blames himself for the play call that Malik Davis fumbled on. He thinks you'll see a lot more one-possession games this year. He was disappointed that they set themselves up to win the game and didn't finish it on offense.
  • He thinks they've gotten better with their effort in coverage in the secondary. He thinks the Aggies' receivers just made plays. "You can't mistake great offense for bad defense." He also thinks they've done a great job of understanding game situations. He thinks they understand that they're having to play a different style of football this year.
  • They've been playing shorthanded this season, and they're hoping to get some guys back this week. It helps that they have guys that play multiple positions, but it's also challenging to get them in the right spots.
  • He didn't like their effort against Ole Miss, and the Rebels’ tempo hurt them. He thought they were much better in week two against South Carolina. He thought Texas A&M made some great plays against some great coverage. "That's great offense, too. That's not bad defense."
  • The Aggies did a good job on that one drive in the third quarter where they ran the ball extremely well. Some of it was caused by poor run fits by Florida’s defense and some of it was good offense by them. "Hopefully, we're going to be a lot stouter this week."
  • Wright takes care of his business every day and is an extremely intelligent player with his understanding of how to read defenses and run routes. You're starting to see why they rotate their backs. "Plays hit a little differently based on what backs are in the game." Having backs that all play at a high level and do slightly different things puts pressure on the defense.
  • He's responsible for the performance of every phase of the team. He met with the defensive staff and went through personnel on Sunday. He probably spent more time than normal with the defense.
  • Quarterback Emory Jones provides a change of pace and fits the quarterback run plays very well, Mullen said. With him out with an injury the past two weeks, that's one less thing the opposing defense has to prepare for. They had a package in fall camp with three quarterbacks on the field at once.

Mullen Monday: Defense to put players in better positions

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