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 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.”