Recapping first leg of Dan Mullen’s speaking tour for Florida fans this week
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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:
- Mullen had plenty to say and some interesting thoughts on the importance of recruiting South Florida.
- Mullen acknowledged Florida football has “fallen behind a little bit” and reiterated his intent to fix that in a hurry.
- He said he has no preconceived ideas about freshman quarterback Emory Jones’ role in 2018, noting he could win the starting job, redshirt or have some role in-between.
- Florida plans to give incumbent starting left guard Brett Heggie a look at center in fall camp.
- Mullen told a humorous anecdote to emphasize how tough he can be on his quarterbacks.
- He said he doesn’t think anybody on the team has earned the No. 1 jersey yet.
- Mullen twice downplayed any interest in pursuing a graduate transfer quarterback, such as Ohio State’s Joe Burrow, for instance. He initially commented on the matter Monday and then said nothing had changed Tuesday after Burrow announced he was looking for a new school.
- As for his current quarterbacks, Mullen reiterated his message to them for these next few months.
- Mullen also gave a great example why it’s important that his coaching staff gets into every high school in the state.
- He says he doesn’t expected defensive star CeCe Jefferson’s injury to affect his senior season.
- And Florida still has no timeline on when it hopes to hear from the NCAA on the eligibility of wide receiver transfers Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes.
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In other Florida football news
- Incoming 4-star signee Justin Watkins was arrested on Wednesday and charged with a misdemeanor. Here are the details.
- With that in mind, here’s a look back at how Mullen has answered when fans ask him about keeping players out of trouble.
- The Tampa Bay Times’ Matt Baker has a nice story on Mullen’s second-grade teacher, whom he brings up from time to time in speeches.
- That time Tim Tebow allegedly dropped an F-bomb while getting the Gators ready for a big game …
- The Chomp Chat podcast has a fun discussion about which Florida players might be worthy of the prestigious No. 1 jersey at some point.
- SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi looks at what it will take for the Gators to deliver a top 5 recruiting class in 2019.
- Chris Steele, a 4-star cornerback from Bellflower, Calif., included Florida in his top 8 schools. Steele is ranked the No. 4 cornerback in the 2019 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports composite.
— steele 🎒 (@KinggChris7) May 10, 2018
- 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.
TOP 7!!!🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/ueI6BpUhJM
— Warren Burrell (@_warrenb153) May 9, 2018
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:
— Dan Mullen (@CoachDanMullen) May 10, 2018
- Former Florida punter Johnny Townsend called it …
— Johnny Townsend (@johnnytownsend1) May 10, 2018
- CBSSports ranked all the FBS head coaches. Here’s where Mullen checked in:
CBS Sports: Ranking all Power-5 CFB coaches entering 2018: #SEC
4. Jimbo Fisher
8. Kirby Smart
13. Dan Mullen
14. Gus Malzahn
37. Will Muschamp
46. Mark Stoops
50. Derek Mason
52. Chad Morris
55. Barry Odom
56. Ed Orgeron
57. Jeremy Pruitt
58. Joe Moorhead
62. Matt Luke
— SEC Country (@SECcountry) May 9, 2018
- Well-played, Gators baseball …
Crazy to think we didn’t even have color film during JJ’s freshman year…#TBT
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) May 10, 2018
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