Florida Football

On the Mark: It's finally safe to say Florida football is back on track

October 7, 2018
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I like to think that I am a realist or as I try to argue - at the very least, fair minded. However, some see me as being more of a pessimist.

Okay, fair enough, I'll own that.

Therefore, it may be a bit surprising for you to find out that I think it is safe to say that the Gator Train is back on Track.

On Saturday No. 22 (for now) Florida extended its winning streak to four games by beating No. 5 (for now) LSU 27-19 – for the Gators second consecutive win over a ranked opponent – and I actually felt somewhat disappointed in the outcome.

After all it was ONLY an eight point victory, when I honestly thought it would be much more.

Think about that for a second.

I was expecting more out of Florida than beating the No. 5 ranked team in the nation by eight points.

You can have your own opinion about me perhaps having set the bar too high, but there is a reason why I did and why it will only be raised higher in the future.

That reason being Dan Mullen.

The reason I stated in the Staff Roundtable that I felt a tsunami coming (I am still not sure it is PC to say that, if not I apologize to those offended) is because that is the vibe around the program right now.

That reason being Dan Mullen.

Well, to be precise, it was actually a combination of Dan Mullen and Ed Orgeron.

Make no mistake about it, maybe not by much, but from top to bottom LSU is more talented than Florida. Players such as cornerback Greedy Williams and linebacker Devin White are top tier NFL prospects. They will come off the board before anyone on the Gators' roster.

Florida's edge, the Gators biggest edge, came on the sidelines.

I knew that if Florida were to lose, it wasn't going to be because Ed Orgeron out-coached Dan Mullen.

You can take that to the bank.

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The reason Florida's future is so bright though is that it extends beyond Orgeron.

Other than if Florida meets up with Alabama in the SEC Championship – who on the Gators' schedule has a better head coach than Dan Mullen?

That isn't to say a team can't rise up and play the perfect game or that Florida can't just have an off day, but on average, if both teams are playing to their ability, I don't see a scenario on the Florida schedule where I would bet that an opposing coaching staff is going to out-coach or out-scheme the Gators.

Now, Georgia might out-talent Florida – and make no mistake bout it,  that talent gap needs to start closing if Florida wants to win championships – but seeing Kirby Smart in action, he won't out-maneuver Dan Mullen.

That is a built in advantage Florida now enjoys for the first time since Urban Meyer roamed the sidelines in the Swamp.

Under Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain, the talent on hand carried the missing link(s) Florida had on the sidelines.

As their records would show, if the talent was at least comparable to the opposing team – Florida was in trouble.

An example of that is that while at Florida Muschamp went 4-7 and McElwain was 4-8 against ranked opponents.

On Saturday Mullen improved to 2-0 at Florida against ranked opponents.

For the second week in a row at the end of a game I felt like if Dan Mullen were coaching the opposing team, the outlook for Florida would have been dire.

He is bringing back memories of Steve Spurrier, where the mindset was he would beat you with his players, or change sidelines and beat you with your own players.

I never once felt that way under Muschamp or McElwain.

Hell, not even after Florida destroyed No. 3 Ole Miss at home during McElwain's first season. Because by the time that game was played there was already questions swirling about his handling of quarterbacks and his sideline outburst directed at Kelvin Taylor.

It was hard to feel really good about the direction of Florida football for more than a game or two stretch in any of the last seven seasons.

However, that was then, this is now.

you have to believe that Dan Mullen has Florida football back on track.

So, maybe Florida didn't win by as much as I expected on Saturday. However, standing here looking out on the horizon, that tsunami is still out there, gaining strength, roaring towards the shore. It may or may not arrive this season, but it is coming and the rest of the SEC East would be well advised to head for higher ground.

 
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