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Mullen Monday: Florida working on installing offense

March 1, 2021
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Dan Mullen met with the media on Monday to discuss the first five days of spring practice, returning players, and more.

Here are the highlights:

  • The team had a good first five practices. A few were developmental or about getting used to things like helmets and pads again. They’re still working on offense installation.
  • They plan on moving Zach Carter around and create matchups like they do with everyone. Veteran players have more experience and knowledge allowing them to move around easier.
  • After Friday’s practice, Mullen had a proposal, if three out of four selected linemen could field a punt, the team wouldn’t have to run post-practice sprints. The contestants were Carter, Richard Gouriage, Stewart Reese, and Brenton Cox. Out of the four, Carter was the only guy to succeed. It speaks to his athletic ability. Mullen joked about putting him back there.

  • Having someone like Carter coming back always helps with leadership. He made a good decision for his future to come back. More guys should come back if they educate themselves properly on what puts them in the best position. Although, Mullen acknowledges it’s a very personal decision and commends Carter for his.
  • On Reese and Jean Delance coming back: The staff tries to give their guys valuable information. It shows the maturity they have to take it and apply it to what’s better for them. It’s huge to have them come back. Some injuries hurt the line’s depth last year and depth gives you an opportunity to absorb injuries.
  • Discussing Cam Newton’s story about Mullen drawing up a play on the sideline for Percy Harvin: The backup quarterbacks on headsets get to hear a lot of fun, interesting things. He loved the shoutout. Mullen thought about plays against South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and LSU but doesn’t know the exact one Newton spoke about.

  • Newton mentioned how the play was drawn up in the dirt. “Draw it up in the dirt” is a little different than what people think. Mullen used South Carolina as an example. They ran counter off a fake jet sweep action. It’s not like there’s a brand-new play all 11 guys have never run before. It’s usually a tweaked version of something or it was something not in the plan that week.
  • There will be a lot of players at the tight end spot. To sit and tell someone to do what Pitts did is a big ask. “You don’t have to do what Kyle Pitts did… we highlighted his strengths,” he told the tight end room. Mullen expects the tight ends to live up to be the best they can be.
  • There will be things this group of tight ends can do better than Pitts and vice versa. It’s about them living up to what they can do and maximize their talents.
  • Part of evaluating quarterbacks is making sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses. The staff didn’t get to determine that last spring. Mullen has confidence in that room. This year they’re throwing a lot at them to see what the players can handle and what fits them.
  • The quarterbacks are very hard workers. He mentioned how Anthony Richardson’s played in SEC games and Emory Jones has a lot of experience. Right now, they’re throwing a ton of offense at them and seeing what’s most comfortable. It’s great having the two freshmen QBs right now because they’re getting valuable reps.
  • A quality backup quarterback is critical. Mullen said they put a lot on the quarterbacks, more than other places. They have to be ready because they’re one play away. It’s a great responsibility for their success and the team’s success. He wants to have multiple guys ready and we could see multiple quarterbacks in a game early in the season.
  • This team has a lot of young guys with good veteran leadership. The energy they come with every day and the desire to learn is big. Guys are conscious of how they’re learning. You combine that with positive energy and push guys to get better. Guys should know doing things at 100 percent and the right way can make everyone better.
  • Emory Jones has a good understanding of the offense even with them adding new things. His maturity and understanding of what’s expected plus a grasp of the offense are things he does well. Jones possesses a “really good” ability to adjust.
  • Mullen was asked about who is most like Kadarius Toney this year. He doesn’t like comparing players because they’re all different. It’s about utilizing the strengths of different guys.
  • Ja’Quavion Fraziars and Ja’Markis Weston are doing great. They both possess great size. Fraziars has great ball skills and fabulous hands. He’s a physical blocker. Weston might be the fastest wideout but he’s got size and power too. Both have worked their tail off to be in a starting role.
  • Discussing the importance of quarterback to a football team: It depends on the system and what you do. Mullen always thought the easiest thing to do is put a lot on the quarterback.
  • On the impact of COVID all year on football: The testing and changing of everything has been impactful to his team. “It affects everything: How we dress, how we travel, everything is different.” Not knowing whether or not you will play is an emotional drain Mullen mentions. 'That is what we love to do," Mullen continued discussing how difficult it is adjusting to the pandemic. He says the sacrifices are all worth it because they get to do what they love to do.
  • Nick Savage tried to do things virtually just to get guys workouts and get PT in. Some guys are more doers, so it was difficult for them. It was about doing different things to keep everyone positive mentally.
  • Mullen’s asked about vaccines only because he’s already had COVID. According to those spoke with, it’s very recommended even if he had it. Mullen doesn’t know if football is near the top of the list especially because other teams are actually in season. They’ve spoken with parents and players about the situation. They’ll see what they have to do to make next year/next season happen. But everything’s happening at an easier level compared to last year.
  • Mullen was asked about his reaction to missing on guys in recruiting. When you look at the whole process, there are guys you want. You want to make sure you get guys for all the right reasons and he hopes players make decisions for all the right reasons. You’re pleased for the kid if he ends up at the right school. Tim Tebow was a wild recruitment but everyone determined Florida was the best thing ever for him. It’s awesome to see a young guy when it matches and fits.
  • Mullen thinks that it is too bad Alex Smith is being cut. He’s a great role model from his time as a student-athlete and an NFL player. He’s an unbelievable leader and teammate plus one of the smartest people he’s ever met. One of the great comeback stories in the history of the NFL and coming back ready to play, not just coming back itself, is even more tremendous.

Mullen Monday: Florida working on installing offense

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