Ryan Young/SEC Country
Florida coach Dan Mullen speaks to fans in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday night.

Recapping first leg of Dan Mullen’s speaking tour for Florida fans this week

Ryan Young

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Dan Mullen brings his message to South Florida

A reporter mentioned to Florida football coach Dan Mullen this week how many people are commenting about a new energy being around the program.

“I don’t know, it sounds like and everything I’ve seen, that’s a big positive,” Mullen responded. “I don’t know what the energy was. I know the energy we expect to have when you come and see our program, when you get around our players, when you get around everybody that works in our program. If you walk in our building, I hope we have an atmosphere where everybody loves coming to work every day, everyone’s going to come and work and give you all they have, doing it with a smile on their face with unbelievable effort, energy and excitement flying around.”

Mullen has certainly supplied plenty of energy through his first five-plus months on the job, including his three speaking events this week in Lakeland, Fort Lauderdale and Miami on consecutive nights Monday through Wednesday.

With all the excitement he’s injected into the program since his hiring, it’s easy to forget the Gators are coming off a dismal 4-7 season.

Especially when he says things like this: “I embrace the expectations that we have. My expectations of being a Florida Gator, I won two out of three national championships. Those are the expectations of being a Florida Gator. I hope everybody else has that same feeling.”

Mullen has set the bar very high for himself, but again, the point of these events was to restore excitement and energy within the fan base and lines like that play well to a fan base that also vividly remembers those past glory days.

Mullen has appearances scheduled for later in the month in Atlanta (May 23) and Pensacola (May 30).

Meanwhile, here’s a thorough recap of everything else noteworthy he said this week:

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In other Florida football news

Recruiting roundup

  • Warren Burrell, a 3-star cornerback from Suwanee, Ga., listed the Gators in his top 7. He’s ranked the No. 38 corner in the class by the 247Sports composite.

No. 1 Florida baseball hosts No. 16 Georgia in key SEC series

  • Florida can lock up the SEC regular-season title with a sweep this weekend at home against Georgia. The Gators (39-11 overall, 18-6 SEC) come into the weekend with a three-game lead over the Bulldogs (34-14, 15-9), who have the second-best record in the conference.
  • The series start Friday at 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network+) with Florida RHP Brady Singer (10-1, 2.33 ERA) opposing Georgia RHP Chase Adkins (5-0, 4.12). Singer is the reigning SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week and has allowed just 4 earned runs over 30 innings (1.20 ERA) in his last four starts with 29 strikeouts and 6 walks.
  • The Saturday game is set for 1 p.m. (SEC Network) with Gators RHP Jackson Kowar (8-2, 2.80) and Bulldogs RHP Emerson Hancock (6-3, 4.09) set to take the mound.
  • And the finale Sunday at 1 p.m. (SEC Network+) will feature Florida RHP Jack Leftwich (4-2, 3.96) and Georgia LHP Kevin Smith (6-1, 3.55).

Around campus …

  • The No. 6-seeded Florida women’s lacrosse team will open NCAA Tournament play at home Sunday at noon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium against the winner of Colorado and Jacksonville, which play in Gainesville at 4 p.m. Friday. Read more here.
  • The Florida women’s tennis team opens NCAA Tournament play at home as the No. 9-seeded Gators host Youngstown State in the first round at 2 p.m. Friday. The winner will face the winner of Florida State and North Florida on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Gators are the reigning national champions and looking to make another deep postseason run. Read more here.
  • The Florida men’s tennis team opens NCAA Tournament play at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. against South Carolina State. The winner advances to play either North Florida or Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m., also at home. The Gators are making their 28th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Read more here.
  • Florida golfer Andy Zhang was named first-team All-SEC, teammate Gordon Neale was a second-team selection and John Axelsen made the all-freshman team. Read more here.
  • Florida junior thrower Anders Eriksson was named the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Men’s Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Thursday. Read more here.
  • The men’s and women’s track and field teams compete at the SEC Outdoor Championships this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn. Read more here.

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • Mullen responded to this tweet from Gator Country’s Nick de la Torre, remembering his first recruit from South Florida:

  • Former Florida punter Johnny Townsend called it …

  • CBSSports ranked all the FBS head coaches. Here’s where Mullen checked in:

  • Well-played, Gators baseball …

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