Dan Mullen talks accountability and what he’s seen so far in Florida’s spring practices
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Gators coaches share observations from first few spring practices
Reporters were allowed to return to the practice facility on Tuesday evening at the end of Florida’s third spring practice, and when they did, the Gators were running gassers from sideline to sideline.
By the end, the sprints had taken their toll, with one player needing to be pushed across the field and back by a teammate and another being coached up as he gutted through the final set.
New Gators coach Dan Mullen has promised from his first news conference that there would be accountability within the program, and that was one example, he said. As it turns out, the end-of-practice running Tuesday was a consequence of players missing class.
“Yeah, they weren’t real happy,” Mullen said. “That was pretty simple, that was about going to class. I don’t control that; they control that. If you’re late for class, everybody that’s late for a class would run a gasser for it. If they don’t want to run gassers, then show up on time for class and we don’t run gassers.”
While the end result was one teammate literally having to push another across the field and back, Mullen wants his players pushing each other figuratively at all times.
“Hey, if some guy is struggling, somebody else better push him and you better work together as a team,” he said. “I think that was the biggest thing to me. Making sure that we understand that everyone out there, our goal is to win the game and that everything we do is about working together as a team — not just as an offensive guy or a defensive guy or, ‘Hey, I don’t want this guy to push me.’ Well, he should push you if you’re not living up to the standards and expectations of the program.”
All that said, Mullen struck a positive tone Wednesday while meeting with reporters to reflect on those first three spring practices. As did his coordinators the night before.
- Mullen offered some preliminary feedback on what he’s seen from Florida’s quarterbacks so far, particularly Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask.
- He also praised Florida’s “premier” cornerback duo of Marco Wilson and C.J. Henderson, while defensive coordinator Todd Grantham revealed a key tactical decision he’s already made regarding his personnel.
As for the accountability matter, Mullen said he won’t ask the Gators to do anything he’s not prepared to do as well.
“I’m part of the team, so I should run the gassers too, you know? And make sure I’m not just standing there telling them to do it,” he said. “So, if they ever look and say, ‘Hey, you just stand there with a whistle,’ [I can say], hey, if you guys mess up, if we make mistakes, we’re all going to pay the price. Whether it’s discipline issues, academic issues, football issues, training issues, we all pay the price, and so I’m going to pay the price just like them.”
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In other Florida football news
- SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi has a feature on Gators senior tight end C’yontai Lewis, who received his first scholarship offer from Mullen (then at Mississippi State). Lewis is a breakout candidate for the Gators in his final season. Read more here.
- Scott Carter, team writer for FloridaGators.com, wrote about former Florida standout Trey Burton’s path from undrafted NFL free agent to his four-year, $32 million contract with the Chicago Bears.
- Some have pushed back against Mullen’s thoughts on why paying college athletes would be problematic.
- The latest edition of the Chomp Chat podcast discusses how much more open Mullen has been with fans and media regarding practices so far.
- Florida hosted Class of 2019 dual-threat quarterback Taisun Phommachanh, from Bridgeport, Conn., on campus Tuesday. Phommachanh is the No. 3-ranked dual-threat QB in this class, according to the 247Sports composite. Read more about his visit and a couple other notable recruits with trips planned to Gainesville.
- Abolverdi compares how well Mullen has connected with blue-chip recruits in his first year compared to previous Florida coaches.
Florida baseball on prodigious power pace
- The No. 2 Gators produced 3 more home runs Wednesday night in a 10-3 win against Jacksonville. JJ Schwarz, Wil Dalton and Blake Reese supplied the power, and Florida is now up to 36 homers through 23 games. If the team sustains that pace (1.6 per game), it would be the most in coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s 11 seasons. Read more here.
Another no-hitter and more tennis honors
- Kelly Barnhill threw her fourth complete-game no-hitter of the season Wednesday in the softball team’s 9-0 win over USF. Barnhill struck out 12 and walked 2 in the five-inning game. The Gators improved to 24-3. Read more here.
- Florida freshman tennis standout Oliver Crawford has racked up a strong collection of honors in his first season. After back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week awards, Crawford was named the SEC Player of the Week, the conference announced Wednesday. Read more here.
What they’re saying on Twitter
- Florida point guard Chris Chiozza responded publicly to coach Mike White’s parting praise:
It was an honor and a blessing to be your PG https://t.co/wAsKhSEBSj
— Chris Chiozza/ FLASH (@Chiozza11) March 21, 2018
- Florida basketball head trainer “Duke” Werner also chimed in on Chiozza:
One of my all time favorites. Never missed a game in 4 years. #ironman
— Dave Werner (@dukewatc) March 20, 2018
- Florida assistant basketball coach Jordan Mincy posted highlights of the Gators’ incoming freshmen:
— Jordan Mincy (@coachmincy) March 21, 2018
- Gators cornerback C.J. Henderson is setting the bar high for Florida’s cornerbacks:
— Chris Henderson Jr. (@HendersonChris_) March 20, 2018
- Gators legend Danny Wuerffel is hosting open tryouts for his American Flag Football League team:
Signup here: https://t.co/f52pMDpbtp
— Danny Wuerffel (@DannyWuerffel) March 22, 2018
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