Notebook: Toughen-up time

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UF coach Dan Mullen leads the team out of the Indoor Practice Facility during the second day of fall practice for the University of Florida Gators football team on the UF campus in Gainesville August 4. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The next two weeks will be all football for the Gators now that school is out. Coach Dan Mullen said it’s a critical time.

“We’ve got to take some big steps forward over the next two weeks to keep going,” Mullen said. “We’ve got to keep improving as a team. I like our effort for the most part. I like the mindset. I guess I like the mindset even better than the effort, but I don’t think they’re not trying.

“They’re just figuring out how to go hard. And we’ve got to get mentally tougher as a football team. You just see that at the end of practice. Guys, they start to get tired, they get a little mentally soft instead of flipping the switch the other direction. That’s a learned behavior.”

The Gators will have their first fall scrimmage Monday.

“I like to see guys go make plays,” Mullen said. “Coaches get off the field, you’re out there and we’re not coaching you. This is your opportunity in a live scrimmage to execute.

“This is your chance to put all that together and go make plays on either side of the ball and let it loose. The guys that kind of when you step in the stadium not just do it right but have another gear to go make a special play, make things happen.”

Avoiding the jinx

When asked if anyone has been standing out in practice, Mullen didn’t name names. His listed position groups instead.

He said the running backs were running the ball well, the tight ends and wide receivers have been making plays and the edge guys on the defensive line are very athletic.

He said he didn’t want to name any individuals for fear of jinxing them, like he did to one player earlier this week.

“I did it the other day,” he said. “It was Rick Wells or Daquon Green. I’m like, Billy (Gonzales), he does a great job of coming down with these deeps balls down the field, the contested balls, like he finds a way to come down with deep balls.

“He dropped the next three in practice in the next day. So, I’m like, Billy, it’s on my me. I hate doing it. I just want consistency of performance out of everybody.”

Mullen-Grantham bond

Mullen and Todd Grantham are opposites in the sense that one coaches offense, the other defense. But they seem to share common traits that have created a bond between the two.

 “Todd is a tremendous coach,” quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson said. “He’s phenomenal. He’s really, really good. I think their personalities matches very, very well. They’re both very, very competitive guys and they’re both very, very intelligent guys that have a ton of experience in this league and understand.

“The biggest thing is they can see things through different lenses in terms of the entire game. Both of those guys do a great job of seeing the picture of 22. That’s a difficult skill to have. That’s why I think they work well.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. If it’s toughen up time, let’s set it to music and play a little Archie Bell and the Drells outta Houston, Texas! (Just change “tighten up” to “toughen up”) Just kidding, of course (although I’ll bet a lot of guys on here don’t even know who they were, let alone what beach music was)…..but THIS is the info we’ve really been waiting on — Dan Mullen’s assessment of how they’re coming along with respect to “gutting through” when things get hard. More updates, Robbie please!

    • I’m Jonesing (see what I did there, eh?) to see the new look Gators and would pay to sneak into The Swamp on Saturday for the scrimmage. I have waaaaaaaay to high of expectations this year but can’t help myself. I remember watching the first game in the Urban era and remember thinking, “Wow, this offense is definitely different and Chris Leak looks as nimble as a fat kid playing dodgeball the way he awkwardly runs with the ball.” They obviously ended up having tons of success but it wasn’t over night. There were some ugly moments if I remember correctly and have to remind myself that’s probably the way it will shake out this time around. As long as we see progress I’ll be good. And for the love, PLEASE make it fun to watch again, especially the Mizzou game which I’m personally attending. It will be good to be back.

      • Chris Leak was a pro-style QB who had no business running the football.(glad that part got turned over to Tebow). He had a tremendous arm, very accurate and good decision making, a tremendous QB. Too bad he was too short for the NFL to give him a chance!

  2. Guessing some things must be kept off the radar screen or at least downplayed/soft pedaled. I have great confidence that the new UF coaching staff will do the best they can to prepare this young, talented team for the upcoming season (which is rapidly approaching). I understand the “jinx” thing – sometimes young players do not know how to handle praise – it can get to their heads – it makes them take their focus off of what they were doing to earn the praise. Looking forward to Game 1 – GO GATORS!!!

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