The Back Nine: Mullen still working on culture

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Florida coach Dan Mullen. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

The Back Nine comes at you after one streak-busting performance and one great birthday party for a special woman (Robbie’s wife, Jill) so that it wasn’t a completely lost weekend.

10. So all of us who drank the Kool-Aid smoothies on this Florida football team have a bad taste in our mouths today. It’s not like we thought this was some uber-team and it’s not like we thought Kentucky couldn’t finally beat Florida. It’s just that we didn’t expect it to look like THAT. (It’s like Kool-Aid that has a flavor of vinegar, old socks and sewer water.) What we didn’t realize or failed to consider is that you can’t change a culture overnight. (For example, the supposed face of Florida football Cece Jefferson had been suspended for the first two games). It was apparent that the culture is still a work in progress after the game when running back Adarius Lemons threw a fit in the locker room because he didn’t get any carries in a game where the Gators rarely ran the ball (and he was the fifth best running back on the team). As a result, Lemons was shown the door and announced he will transfer. Good move by Dan Mullen. Maybe this team still has a little McElwain in it. There’s nothing worse than entitlement without talent. You could tell from Mullen’s post-game talk and his Monday presser that he knows he has a long way to go with this group of players in terms of getting them to understand what’s important. “You don’t go from here to here in one step,” Mullen said Monday. “I hope it’s heading in the right direction.”

11. I checked with the SEC office on Monday and there was no statement from the head of officials Steve Shaw about the missed field goal, just a clarification of the rules. The ball has to go inside the post to be good and it can’t be reviewed. The fact is that there is only one guy who knows for sure whether the ball went over or inside the goal post and that was the official standing under it. I’m sure he will get a talking to about his overwhelming enthusiasm for signalling it to be no good, but, no matter what we all saw on TV, he’s the only guy who knows. Or at least thinks he saw what he saw.

12. The sun did come up Sunday and there’s no truth to the rumor that when it set it was dropped by a Florida player. The dropped passes were a big part of the loss Saturday night and the result of the game has a lot of people clamoring for a change at quarterback. I don’t put this one on quarterback play. This is a line of scrimmage league and Florida is not good on either side. I know it’s early, but Florida is 12th in the SEC in rushing and dead last in rushing defense. The latter happens when you have, according to Mullen, 20 missed tackles that resulted in 168 yards gained by the opposition. “Here’s the problem, there was a lot of that in Game 1,” Mullen said. “Most of that was on one play but (against Kentucky) it was multiple plays.” I think even the most optimistic Florida fans knew this team could be exposed on the physical front, but didn’t expect it to be in the second game of the season. Everybody saw it, even prized recruit Diwan Black who was at the game and on Monday Tweeted out this — “Need a couple of OL & DL.” Well, yes, but more importantly for this season, the guys who are playing need to practice like their hair is on fire and carry it over to the game. That game will come against a team Florida had to schedule to get Jim McElwain and paid millions of dollars in guarantees and buyouts. Something about it all feels weird.

13. Doesn’t it feel like college football season is headed for the inevitable just two weeks into the season? Prepare for a playoff that will include Alabama, Clemson and Georgia with a fourth team to be named later. Heck, we may be heading for an SEC Championship Game that is just about seeding and making sure you get to play in the Orange Bowl (instead of the Cotton), not who will make the College Football Playoff. Alabama and Georgia look that good. I know there is a lot of football to be played, but that’s the way it feels today.

14. Monday morning golf with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and our friend Billy Horschel among those on the leaderboard should be required every week. It sure made my day. Is there any way we can make that a regular thing? Our Billy boy fell a stroke short, but has now made $2.8 million and a little change this year. Good for him. By the way, Tiger Woods has won zero tournaments this year and pocketed $3.5 million. He won that much because he was once Tiger Woods and elevated these purses to extraordinary levels. So no problem with that. I should have stuck with golf.

15. I didn’t see the Serena Williams meltdown until late Saturday night and here is my take — at least people were talking about tennis. That whole deal was the pits of the world, to quote John McEnroe. Did she take it a little far? Yes. Did the chair umpire take it way too far? No question. So she got fined $17,000. I hope she sends it to the USTA in unrolled pennies.

16. So my daughter has become a big Cleveland Brown fans because of Hard Knocks and Baker Mayfield and she was disappointed with a tie in the opener. I had to point out to her that the tie meant Cleveland had its best start in 14 years. Let that sink in. I am one of those people who thinks college football rules and then I see Feleipe Franks get a 15-yard penalty for slapping hands with fans after a touchdown and I start to think it’s the real No Fun League. But the NFL always brings me back to reality with its overtime system that allows ties. It only goes to show how devalued the regular season is compared to college football’s. But you already knew that.

17. The Tweet of the Week is NFL related, kind of, but really more golf … or is it. Anyway, it’s clever and it comes from Tour golfer Steven Bowditch, who is a must-follow on Twitter (@bowdo83) — “I see Aaron Rodgers giving Furyk something to think about.” Jim Furyk is, of course, the American captain for the Ryder Cup and made his final pick (Tony Finau, good choice) Monday. It wasn’t Rodgers, but after that Sunday night performance it wouldn’t have been a bad choice.

18. It was quite an effort to come up with a playlist this week because somehow I disabled the sound on my laptop. But that’s why God invented iPhones.

• “Suspirium” by Thom Yorke.

• “Waves of Galveston” by Iron & Wine.

• “It Rains” by Archie Faulks, which could be the new theme song of Gainesville.

• “She Could Be the One” by Eric Hutchinson.

• And for an old one “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways.

By the way, I get a lot of people who say they love The Back Nine but not the songs. Give them a try. Just because you haven’t heard of some of these artists doesn’t mean you won’t like the music.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

99 COMMENTS

  1. Pat: I’m the early bird again, in the central zone. Doesn’t any body else have to get up early for work? I hope Dan Mullen and staff are tough enough to whip this bunch into shape? Saban and Smart are. It will take a couple of GOOD recruitment cycles to rid ourselves of the flip-flop wearing McElwain attitude. AGAIN, when he showed up in flip flops his first trip to UF, I knew we were in trouble! BODY LANGUAGE is REAL, READ IT people! “Speaking of”….Back in the day, I’ve played competitive Tennis (now golf), Serena showed her tail, because that somewhat smaller lady was running her butt all over the court (left right and short, loved it). That’s what she was really mad about. Tip: that’s also how you beat the tall guys, that can’t handle running for full matches. BUT you have to be good enough and in shape to keep the ball between the white lines. I still wonder where you get the time to listen to groups no body has heard of? Interesting.

    • It is called listening to music of all kinds while reading a book. I know that does not match up to mostly vulgar rap and FOX News numbing of the brain, but smart people always find time to exercise the brain cells. Pat is one of those thank goodness. But he is also an old fart like me who still believes cultural development of the mind and soul is vital. Maybe those who cannot find the time to enrich themselves should put down their cells and get shock therapy to get off video game addictions. Just a thought on the matter. In fact, I am sitting here right now listening to John Coltrane’ “Anatomy” and reading “Rabbit at Rest” by John Updike. Heard of either?

        • Naples. Most American produced TV is mind numbing and qualifies for trash journalism and entertainment. Watch and listen to FOX, CNN, MSNBC or listen to Chantal Chamberland sing “Le Mar”? No debate which one I do. Or watch and listen to Trump or Pelosi self serve themselves, or read anything by Frank McCourt. Easy choice, I say.

        • I’m an old fart and a Civil Engineer, who has to coordinate construction projects and really get things built with many real people/relationships and field situations. I’ve got a library full of history books, mostly military history, local, Civil War, Napoleonic era, etc. I crave history because its the best teacher. I’ve studied my Bible, cover to cover and believe it. You don’t have to read fiction to be “culturally fed”. Real lessons work just fine. Go read “A Terrible Glory” by James Donovan, a great researched book about Custer and western Native American history and all the politics. He didn’t heed the warnings of his Crow scouts that fateful day. Read a book about Napoleon’s 1812 Russian invasion (a 650K person camp out). Western Europe has always had a Russian problem, LOL, Trump didn’t invent that. I don’t have time for fiction or brain draining computer games. I use a computer enough at work. I attended dozens of great rock concerts in the 1970s, when there was real original talent! Now I listen to Willies Roadhouse XM radio, where people can carry a tune. Reality works best when real results have to be achieved. Hope Dan has studied Saban. Peace brother! PS: Disco sucked then and now.

    • Everyone that watched the game saw a bad team, I saw an undisciplined team. Get the tackling corrected and we shut Kentucky’s running game down, learn how to catch a football and the Offense puts up 300 yards on good Defense. I am not going to get into the what ifs, the bottom line is this team is undisciplined and Coach Mullen has to figure out how to change this culture and get them back on the right track.

  2. Well, back from a long trip that was even longer having to endure that game. It’s not the loss to Kentucky that’s so bad as the realization of the lack of organization on this team. Offensive linemen don’t know how to block or their blocking assignments. How many times does the running qb have to burn you on the inside for you to realize not to go charging up field on your pass rush?? (Even Muschamp could figure that out against Manziel). Oh, and these receivers are the best we can do? This group of stone hands?? Another hint: when you can complete passes over the middle, every play, run hard dig routes and and crossing routes, not post routes, if your receivers can catch it. I was shocked and amazed at the complete dear in the headlights look from the players AND coaches in the 4th quarter Saturday. It was as if they had never been in a football game before. So, as I was harping before (and yes, I did sip the Kool Aid from last week), here’s your staff, and your football program. We can take time investigating how it got to this level, or we can start demanding that it be brought back to the standards we expect here at UF. So, there are two questions moving forward: 1) Is Scott Stricklin as fully committed to the football program at UF as he should be, or does he need to commit more money and a shorter timeline for facilities improvements to improve recruiting and the football program overall, and 2) was Dan Mullen really the right coach to hire, instead of thinking outside the college football box and getting a coach with a proven track record? It’s a long season ahead.

    • “There you go again”, Grump…..but I do like your honesty and it does make me think, unlike those who a great former POTUS was referring to when he used the same phrase. And, some of what you say is true — a lot of it in fact. But where you are full of beans is on the “proven track record” line, and I think you know it too. We have the right coach! Give him a chance, for the love of Pete.

      • I usually do not respond to comments, but, in this case, I have to. Under no circumstances is 69-46 (a 60% win ratio) and 33-39 conference in the SEC acceptable for a hire at the University of Florida. In no cartoon world or the real world is that acceptable. Maybe at Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Kentucky, but certainly not Florida. That is Dan Mullen’s head coaching record and his SEC record. His head coaching record in no way shape or form has qualified him to take this job. But, like Zook, Muschamp, and McElwain before him, we will see. Their records were not indicative of a hire for UF either, but Zook and Muschamp were assistants, and you can’t tell me that Foley didn’t know better. Did Stricklin?

        • The hot shot coach everyone wanted (Frost) turned us down….then Chip Kelly…so to many others on here, this again is typical our fanbase thinking we can get anyone we wanted, when that was proven not to be the case. Who out there was available that wanted to be here? You may want to throw out the other coaches at Miss State and their records to make a truly fair comparison, and also mention that he took over broken program at Miss Sate as well. Not easy to win there…but look at the team he left while getting leftovers from the SEC West juggernauts around him. Just throwing out numbers with no backstory is disingenuous.

          Please lets not be Tennessee…who just KNEW Gruden would be their coach. Why, because they are delusional and not looking at the fact that their program is not what it once was.

          • For my two cents, I’m in the Grump E camp. The coach needs to be held accountable, don’t care how many games into the season. This Gator team was NOT well prepared for the Kentucky game, mentally or otherwise. Sorry, that’s on the coach, and I’d rather call a spade a spade and nip in the bud now. AM not saying to fire the guy, but call it like it is, Mullin needs to up his game, big time. No more dancing on the sidelines, and for goodness sake I wish he’d give Trask a shot. Anyone can see Franks is not the guy… And btw, I appeared to be the only one who recognized and posted about concerns with the D-line/run defense weeks ago. Sometimes I hate to be right.

          • Alum84…I am hearing that they were very concerned about vibe and possible over-confidence. 32 goes off and quits the team…body language on the sideline, etc. I agree that you can critique the coach…BUT if you saw last season (and I know you did), Kentucky is a vastly improving team…and we should not have won last year. NOW the staff can say look at the film…this is a mid tier East team fellas…so we have work to do…NOW don’t you guys see what we have been preaching?

            Same o-line, a few new additions (who did nothing) on Dline, but largely the same team with depth issues. The GrumpE camp stated win numbers with no basis…forgets we got turned down by 2 coaches and does not name eligible candidates we could have had….then says I told you so after one bad game…forgetting we were a bad team. Sorry, I am not in that camp. I give a guy a chance to figure this debacle out.

            This game was the cold water splash we all needed. We are who we are…a mediocre program that will take its lumps and hopefully be much better by the end of the season.

          • Okay gelco30…so Mullen was the first choice. Gotcha!!

            https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/florida-football/chip-kelly-off-table-heat-scott-stricklin-florida/

            Excerpts from this…
            “Florida administrators met with Kelly on Sunday night in New Hampshire, culminating nearly three weeks of discussions regarding Kelly taking the open Gators job. Florida’s team, including Athletic Director Scott Stricklin, expressed confidence that they could finalize the hire after the meeting, and multiple reports, including one by longtime college football insider Bruce Feldman, confirmed Florida had the inside track.

            It’s difficult to know what changed, outside of UCLA getting involved in the game.”

          • My bad gelco……Mullen was the very first choice for UF. Everyone else is wrong. There was zero interest in Scott Frost or Chip Kelly.

          • Smith. Mullen was and is so much a better choice than Frost (0-1 and lost to Colorado his first game) and Kelly (0-2 and lost to Cincy, yes the school on the border of Kentucky and Ohio and got blown out last Saturday). And he knows Florida, which is was vital in the hire. Frost did not, and Kelly certainly did not. And Mullen is a long-term hire, and neither Frost nor Kelly would have been. Stricklin made the correct hire and the hire that is best long-term for the program. The problem is not Mullen. Mullen is the solution. If not, there is no solution and Florida will just become another has been football program and mid to low tier SEC program. That will not happen with Mullen, period. And Stricklin informed everyone as to what happened. He initially did not want to pursue Mullen because of his previous connection to Miss. State and why he pursued Kelly and Frost first. Kelly clearly tried to play Florida to get a west coast job with a higher salary. It worked. Frost was offered but was unwilling to come to Florida and hire SEC experienced assistants, a requirement Stricklin made to Frost because of the McElwain assistant hiring nightmare. After realizing that neither Frost nor Kelly were ideal fits and that other than those two, no other coach was better than Mullen, Stricklin then offered the job to Mullen. He said that was what he really wanted to do from the start and would have if he had not had the MSU connection. End of story. Mullen was his first choice and the best choice for Florida.

          • Tampa….you are preaching to the choir. I can’t stand Kelly and believe his act may be over.

            I love Mullen. I was countering the “I told ya so” posts on Mullen after game 2…and the insinuation that it was ridiculous to bring up Frost and Kelly. You illustrated my point,,,that after a search of fits, Mullen was the choice…but there was a search and job offered to at least one. I understand the state of our program, agree that recruiting has to pick up, and know that it takes time to change culture. See my posts in its entirety

          • That’s not what I said at all Smith. You said “turned us down” I’m simply stating that’s not demonstrably true. And neither your nor I have any idea if Mullen was first, second, third, or billionth choice. I will say, I prefer him to Kelly. But that’s just my opinion, much like saying Mullen was our third choice after two others “turned us down”.

          • Okay gelco…”turned us down, chose to go to his alma mater instead, was interviewed but didn’t come here, was not 2nd, 3rd or 5th”, yada yada yada….cmon dude. What I should have said, then who else out there was available after others were considered…since I was responding to a post about how unqualified Mullen is. The poster seemed to think we could land anyone we desired, which wasn’t the case. That said, Mullen chronologically to the masses (you’re right none of us are in the UAA), was the 3rd name mentioned.

          • You’re correct, that is absolute, he is the 3rd name mentioned. But I DO prefer him to Kelly, though it would have been interesting to have Frost here.

        • Have you looked at the history of MSU football? They’ve been to 21 bowl games in 123 years. A 69-46 record there is the equivalent of an .800 winning percentage at a program like UF. It’s historically impossible to recruit and win at a program like that and he had a higher winning percentage than anyone in history. He was responsible for almost half their bowl appearances in 9 seasons. You can’t compare coaching at a program like that to coaching at a blue blood program like UF. There’s just no comparison. His tenure in the SEC West also coincided with it being by far the most dominant conference in college football and the rise of Nick Saban. It’s pretty safe to say not a lot of coaches would’ve had as much success as he did at that time. It’s interesting though that he was consistently rated by every college football pundit as one of the top 3 coaches in the SEC every year, but somehow he’s not worthy of coaching at UF? If he’s not then please tell me who you think was, that was available when they were hiring? Based on your criteria, it certainly couldn’t have been Scott Frost with his 43% winning percentage in the AAC.

        • Grump. Mullen was by far the best head coach MSU ever had and took that previous lower SEC West program all the way to number one in the nation. And he produced stars in the NFL there, on both sides of the ball. There simply was not a better available coach out there to be had. Saban was not coming to Florida. Meyer was not coming back to Florida (thank God). The Penn State coach was not leaving “We Are” for “Here”. The Stanford coach was and is going to leave there only for an NFL job. Helton has already picked USC over Florida, even though he was a Gator. And certainly, the Clemson coach was not leaving SC for Florida. Who else is better than Mullen? No one that is available or who wanted to take on the task of rebuilding the program like Mullen was willing to do. In fact, he left a talent stacked program to do so. People need to get off Mullen, period. Personally, I am looking forward to him being the head coach until I die, which might not be much longer if they continue to play like they did vs. Kentucky. I doubt Mullen will not allow that to happen. If it does continue, a bunch of players will soon see the bench and all of Mullen’s recruits will start to see the field instead. That might now be a bad thing. Go Gators.

          • I always said we were more alike than different. Well, kind of anyway. Your two best posts, ever, are above. Even if you don’t recognize a metaphor 3 times out of 4! 😊

          • Oh, Heaven help me!!! I can’t believe I agree with just about everything Tampa has said today. I’m afraid the sun’s gong to set in the east this evening.

          • Oh snap… I just read the replies to your posts Tampa and saw that Gator-6 and oldman both feel the same way about your last posts. You are on a serious roll Tampa….maybe time to play the lottery! Once again, great posts that I wish all of Gator Nation would read, absorb, and live. Let’s give Dan a chance!!!

        • Mullen and the Gators will be fine, just not this year (probably), and maybe not next year. If you want the Gators to be back, be patient and give Mullen time. If you want the Gators to perpetually stink, hire a new coach every three years, under the delusion that you have the next Saban. That way you can scare the top recruits with our inconsistency and scare away the top coaches with our impatience. At the end of the day these are young men who are growing up. They bust their ass in practice every, and at this point are just not that good. The ones you want will take to coaching and get better. Pat, enjoy your column, but I would contend that Lemons is entitled and talented. He and the Gators will probably both be happier with him getting a fresh start.

          • That is Sly’s central point too, regarding the coaching merry-go-round of late; I hadn’t considered it before, owing to the obvious needs at the time(s) — but am beginning to see it.

    • Which coach with a proven track record was available? The only one I saw was Kelly and I’d much rather have Mullen than him. Mullen had a more proven track record than any coach that was hired besides him. It’s not like they can just pick and choose whichever coach they want and it’s a done deal. I really don’t get this criticism of Mullen after 2 games either. What did you really expect to happen this quickly with exactly the same players that only won 4 games last season? It’s insanity to actually believe he was going to completely turn it around this season. Too many people are down on him cause he lost to Kentucky. This isn’t the same UK, and they should’ve lost to them several times the last few years. They’re a much better team than Gator fans are giving them credit for and going to beat a lot of teams this year. It’s shocking to me how many Gator fans live in la la land with ridiculous expectations. I understand the need for a competitive team since we haven’t had one in a while, but reality needs to set in a little bit. This is going to take time to correct and Mullen will get it corrected. You don’t have success turning around a program like MSU and then suddenly become a failure at a program like UF. Temper your expectations a bit and have a little patience, it will get turned around. No need to beat another coach down with ridiculous expectations.

    • Grump. Mullen has a proven track record as both an assistant and as a head coach. And he left a program he built from scratch that was loaded with well-coached talent to come to a program that was in dire straights. I drank the cool aid as much as anyone by believing that Mullen could right an almost sinking ship this year. Heck, gotta still believe he might. But I do know he will get this program back to the future and is and was the right choice to replace the incompetent McElwain.

  3. As Mullen brings in more and more recruits, it’s time to move away from McElwain’s players. It is evident that these guys do not get it. They continue to show that they feel entitled both on and off the field. It’s obvious that they decided against putting in the required off season work. They are showing the same level of talent that Mcelwain showed as head coach. Good riddance to Lemons. Ivey and Jefferson both Mcelwain prizes should take notice as well.

  4. This Florida team should help put recruiting in perspective. Martes Ivey was a 5 star recruit. Supposedly one of the ten best recruits ever to come to Florida. A few years ago Ronald Powell was the top recruit in the country and supposedly the highest rated recruit ever to come to Florida.
    Ivey has been average to pretty good on the O line, never dominant.
    Ronald Powell was never the best player on the D line, when he was on the field.
    Hopefully Mullen and his team are doing there own analysis and finding the best players for there system.
    Let’s stop pretending that the top recruiting class is the same as a National Championship.

  5. The team better get things together or a loss to CSU is very possible. For all the bashing of MCELwain he achieved much more than Muschamp and Mullen combined at UF if you look objectively. Would he have ever won a title imo- probably not but he had a lot of wins his first two years and got to Atlanta. The current team is worse than the 4-8 teams. Mullen’s career record is slightly over 0.500 and the a d deduced it was a great idea to give him almost jimbo fisher type of money. The truth is the u f football program is in serious trouble because of a sequence of really bad decisions by the ADs. I think the regents will need to sort this out before things will improve. Unfortunately this is likely to require at least a decade because they still think they are right.

  6. Fellas, fellas – 2 Games. Only 2 games and we start with the is CDM the right coach? Drinking the Kool-aid about this year’s team is on us the fans, not on CDM, his staff, the AD, or any other pantheon of college football gods. This team has to do the work of ashes, get dirty and have this type of performance to be able to look in the mirror and realize where they really are. If we want to play the blame game, then we should also look in the mirror and ask if we weren’t complicit in hyping them up and sending the fan message that they were already good enough. If you could get CDM in a room alone, and he didn’t have to worry about his messaging to his team and recruits, I am sure he would have been able to tell you all of the weakness and his worries about this team before the last game.

    Will this be a Disney movie with a happy ending as the team rises to their potential, or will it be more of a French film noir where the hero dies in the end? We can only watch and see. After the last 5 years we’ve seen 2 noir seasons, and 3 where we didnt like the plot despite “good records,” and we are tired of watching this and yearning for a triumphant story. It still may happen, but not likely this year.

    So yes, enhance the facilities, and go sell recruit’s egos that they DO have a real chance of early playing time if you, Joe recruit, can be better than that guy you just saw get pushed around in the last game. But remember, not one of those recruits will be here this year. It is on CDM to figure out what this team can do and optimize it, but wishful thinking is not helping anyone, him, the players, or you and me. The idea that a different coach would have given you a different team on the field with the same players 2 games in is folly.

    • Pierre – As I’ve predicted before, Gator fans will start imploding as soon as Mullen loses a game he shouldn’t have or when he loses to our rivals for 3 consecutive years (e.g. Georgia). This is his first unexpected loss, so most fans will whine but give him a mulligan. Let’s hope he doesn’t lose to Vandy and/or Idaho this year or the whines will turn into a full deafening roar.

      BTW, I love your writing style so keep posting.

  7. Pat – Help me connect the dots. I don’t understand how Cece’s suspension is tied to the culture established (presumably) by the former coaches. Why was he suspended? I think I read somewhere Cece was suspended for missing classes. Are you saying the previous staff did not enforce class attendance or that they allowed entitlement privileges for the star players like Urban Meyer? Every coach has to deal with the issue. I remember Billy Donovan suspending Noah for missing classes. When it happens, coaches deal with it. It is odd to hear this issue being pinned on the previous coaches or did I miss your point?

    • I hear you Sly…my take was that he was saying CeCe, who is deemed a team leader and senior….by not being available to your team due to Academics…is symptomatic of our culture right now. You would think he would be the guys out there bringing the youngsters along, but he is with the clipboard on the sidelines.

      • Smith – Maybe I read too much into it. When I read the headline “Mullen still working on culture”, I immediately assume the author is suggesting the culture from the previous regime was bad since Mullen is the new regime. That may be the case but using the Cece example doesn’t prove the point or it may be the case that I didn’t get his example.

        • Fair observation…to me and to your point, that is exactly was he insinuating…Mac left a bad culture. Now from my vantage point…I believe the culture was not a winning one…not so sure it was “out of control”, but more lackadaisical combined with mediocre recruiting.

    • Sly have you read the numerous articles about the previous staff? They didn’t hold the players accountable for anything. Punishments were rare and players felt like they could do whatever they wanted. Cece is one of the players who was in Mac’s first class, so he spent 3 years with that “culture”. It’s safe to say he didn’t just suddenly start skipping classes his senior year. The difference is he’s having to pay for it now. It’s obvious a lot of these guys have the mentality that they can do things their way, and that was ingrained in them by the way the previous staff handled things. It’s no different than when we heard all the talk about Muschamp having to repair the culture left behind by Meyer, who he himself claimed the program was broken when he left. Obviously this program was way more broken when Mac left.

  8. Now that we had our dose of reality after playing Charleston Southern…anyone that thinks it won’t take some time for old patterns to change is fooling themselves. The only way you can now question was Dan Mullen the right coach….is if you TRULY felt that way all along. To say so after one loss in his first season is why our base to many is out of touch. Pete Carroll won 5 game his first season at USC I believe. Saban won, what 6 at Bama his first year…Kirby, who stated that it took a full year for their conditioning program to fully bear fruits, won 5 his first year at UGA. We were a dumpster fire just last year….and with Mullen probably got the best we could get at the time, again, if you are realistic. We had a lot of players and fans (me included) who thought we were better than what we showed. The toughness, culture, etc. is a work in progress….and the staff is figuring out how to maneuver with the cards they were dealt. I think the main question is….will our fanatical base give the man time to get things right…or panic like we always do.

    Hey, it could be a long year, but someone said it on another thread…RELAX.

  9. Shocking to see our linemen, crappy as they have always been, look like laundry bags getting pushed anywhere KY wanted to drive them with no resistance whatsoever from a single one of them. Submissive, timid, our Gator lines – BOTH – were a perfect picture of where you cannot be as a football team. How do you play D-1 ball for 2-3 years and still have not the foggiest idea how to play the game. This team sucks out loud, and Mullen/Grantham had better have a plan with an Emergency Action button to push.

    • You should review the film. Taylor played well at RT, but he cannot play tackle and guard at the same time. And that was what was needed with Johnson playing next to him. He is horrible and seemingly clueless in both pass protection technique and getting sustained push on blocking assignments. He is like a ton of bricks on the field. And Jordan is not much better. Watch the last play of the game from the snap to Kentucky’s score. All on Jordan. Time for two new guards.

  10. Hey Dewayne-why don’t you try having a baby roughly 10 months out, feeding and taking care of a new baby, being a mother and a wife, having little to no time to train or get ready for competitive tennis all the while having to face world class athletes on the world stage. Lets see how you fare. It’s gumps like you who sit back judging folks and not knowing their struggle. Serena is a world class athlete and I think it was very juvenile and junior varsity how you attacked her without even acknowledging the stress her body was under while carrying and ultimately delivering her child. And that ‘somewhat smaller lady’ you reference is 16-17 yrs her junior, but you failed to do homework on that, ha? Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

  11. Pat you are a good writer but when you have a flaw it annoys me more than it should.
    To have John McEnroe.who used horse steroids and intentional ly threw fits to try to negatively mess up opponents as your barometer of conduct in tennis is ridiculous on steroids. Let’s have Pete rose as gambling commissioner and in charge of the IRS. Or we can bring back your mancrush will muschamp to run the football team since you are sure he is going to win a national championship.

    Sorry to rant. I know some folks paid a price for me to do that and Sept 11 is still a reminder of what counts in this world.

    For those ranting about the Gators….I don’t care if we go 0 10 and 1 like my senior year. I’d rather lose at Florida than win elsewhere. We will get it right. Maybe not this week or this month or this year or this decade..but we will get it right. It may not be a championship but it will be fun again. I guarantee.

  12. First why would anybody be talking about Mullen not being the proper choice. None of those other coaches that we would like were coming, now previously we might have gotten the W. Va coach from Memphis. I really don’t understand how culture could not already be changed, and if a fit happened he should have been shown the door. There are better backs in front of him and playing well on special teams is very important. I was surprised by no spy on a QB known to run, I was surprised that we got little to no pressure on the QB, our defense lost the game. No QB can be effective with no blocking, that needs to be fixed and how to do that is a great question. Stop whining and give the coach some time.

  13. I knew as soon as we lost our first game or played bad, the fans would turn against Coach Mullen. Can we give the man more than two freaking games? Did you really expect us to go undefeated? Many of you predicted an 8-4 or 9-3 season at BEST. That means we would lose games. After years of mediocrity , did you think he would turn it around in two games? Let me give you a clue: it may not be two seasons! And you bitch about how we are the University of Florida and deserve better. You would have turned on Frost this weekend too. Nebraska didn’t exactly light it up either. Chip Kelly has been blown out twice. He would have been hung from I-75 . With that type of arrogance, who in their right mind would even think about coming here? Mullen must be a nut job. We ought to be forever grateful the guy came and is still interested despite a schizophrenic fan base. I am giving him a chance, and that does not mean a season. We have to be patient. We don’t have a choice. We got raped Saturday and we probably will again. Don’t believe the BS coming from a bunch of optimistic media guys and players who want, like us, for the Gators to come back. Charleston Southern ain’t Alabama. And no, the Gators–despite the quotes in the paper–are not a brotherhood . The team still has chemistry issues. and it has as much to do today with the quality of the people who play the game and are growing up in this country than the coaches trying to play mommy and daddy to a bunch of premadonnas. Just check out signing day ceremonies with the multiple hats on the table. Humility is the greatest virtue a person could exhibit. We need to show some.

    • The Univ of Fla has played football for something like 128 yrs and never had an unbeaten season save for 6-0 record in its’ first year. It was really never recognized as a top football program nationally til Spurrier came along in 1990 and then Urban Meyer’s years, totaling some 15 yrs.

      So where do these malcontent fans, who are dumping on Mullen come to think that the best coaches out there are all droolling to come to UF and UF could have the pick of the litter and can get anyone at anytime. As a long long, very long time Gator, I saw some good teams and bad teams, but not consistent winners like SOS and Urban. UF has had great players in the past and great talent coming and going, but really never had great coaches.

      Let Mullen alone…..let’s see how this season plays out.

    • DanMullen and Charlie Strong to me were the best fits for Florida due to wanting to come to Florida. Texas wasn’t a good fit for Strong.
      Frank’s is who he is, he will make 8 or 9 ok passes a game. If Mullen feel he can win with that good luck. Blocking do the offense line just block without scouting the defense line up. Frank’s may not be the gamer QB but the line is not helping him out much. They won’t go far in the sec without a line that’s bruising, I think they can do it.

  14. Here are my points… I said all pre-season that with a new staff and systems, you’re going to have THAT early game in their first season where absolutely EVERYTHING goes wrong and you take an embarrassing beating.

    It has happened with every coach going back as far as Spurrier’s first year in 1990, with exception of McElwain (but he had an enormously talented defense and a future Heisman Candidate at QB in Will Grier). But Mac also ended that 2015 season with three straight embarrassing blow-out losses too.

    Did I expect a loss to UK? No, but I also didn’t expect our first-year melt-down game until later in the season.

    Refs, bad calls on FG’s, uncalled holding, whatever… if UF simply blocks and tackles just HALF as better than they did, they beat UK.

    This loss was on us. UK made the plays and executed, and we didn’t.
    Thats football, and that’s how it goes.

    As for the loss to UK, this was the left-over mentality and issues from the McElwain Era. Eventually, it will be purged.

    Even Nick Saban’s first Bama team in 2007 went 7-6 and lost to 6-6 La. Monroe, and to a crappy 7-6 fsu team.

    Under McElwain, this team would have tanked emotionally after this loss, but under Mullen, it will only make them a stronger team down the road.

    Mullen made this point about adversity over and over. A REAL coach will know how to use it as motivation to get better.

    Let us not forget that Mullen himself said this was going to take time and be a process.

    And folks, it’s going take 2 to 3 seasons of coaching and recruiting to purge this negative mentality out of our program.

    Mullen will get the job done.

      • And I was at the UT game that year that we lost 45-3! It was not the only game Spurrier got blown out in early season football either. I remember an ugly loss to Syracuse and the only. Thursday night game we’ve ever played where Miss State nearly beat Shane Mathews to death. Easy to forget all the complaining of Gator fans at the time after the overall success Spurrier had.

        • And don’t forget the 31-31 tie after we went into the 4th quarter leading 31-3 early in Spurrier’s era. Yep. There were learning pains for SOS and those early teams. As great a coach as he was, keep in mind he actually hired the pathetic Zookiepooh as defensive co-ordinator, so he wasn’t flawless.

        • OUCH…That Syracuse game. I was at UF then. I remember talking to those players afterwards and how it became a track meet. That game was wild and Syracuse was pretty much on all cylinders that night. He did have some tough losses.

        • Florida, in 19990, only lost to 2 RANKED TEAMS: Tenn., ranked 5th in the nation. And FSU, ranked 8th in the nation.
          And Spurrier’s 1st year was still the BEST IN THE SEC! And would’ve been Southeastern Conf. Champs without the SEC and NCAA… period!
          U.K. was ranked, what?!?!?

          • UK was prob ranked 15o…lol
            I think he (Todd) was just talking only bad losses with new coaches. Early on he had that ranked on the road thing, but that was maybe a game or 2.

            I remember Tenn on the road was an obstacle early on…like the 92 game with Heath Shuler and Charlie Garner…to your point, SOS was the man like you stated. That first game with Oklahoma State still is one of the best memories for me because I knew things were on the major uptick!

          • Yea, I know, I am just miffed at some fans ”comparing Spurrier’s 1st year” here in Hogtown to Coach Mac…
            It’s like, “WHAT the #@$%?”
            Them’s fightin’ words! LOL!

          • I’ve been around as long as you, and Spurrier himself will tell you he inherited a more talented team than Mullen inherited. You are having selective memory if you don’t remember all the complaining about how we always seemed to lose to a weaker opponent every season. Spurrier years are still my favorite memories, but we lost some games almost every year that still make me scratch my head.

          • LOL gi…I hear you…let’s use another comparison and not SOS, one of the SEC greats. He was my guy too…TRUST! I lived in Atlanta from 94-08, so sticking to the dogs was almost an annual thing. The HATE for Spurrier was like none other…

  15. ”There’s nothing worse than entitlement without talent.” -Dooley.
    And while I agree, I’d say it like this, ”There’s nothing worse than entitlement without proven success.”
    Coach Mullen will get his players in here, and ‘IF’ he doesn’t, then it will show in time.
    Until then, I’ll give him some slack.
    It is frustrating though, that Georgia, in Kirby Smart’s 2nd year at U.G.A., is already at the top, fighting for titles. But remember, only 2 U.F. Coaches did that in our Orange & Blue past, Steve Spurrier, and Urban Meyer. So… ”lightening in a bottle” is a hard drink to get.

  16. Big picture. This loss is the best thing to happen to this team.

    All of our recent bad coaches have managed to squeak by the early games with wins. This allowed them, their players, and many fans to get overly inflated senses of the team’s quality.

    Not this year. KY exposed every single weakness on this team. We now get to see how good a coach Mullen is. Blocking and tackling, running and catching, tackling and passing. All rotten. Much of it, though not all by a long stretch, fixable. Let’s get past The Streak, the entitlement as Pat indicated, and focus on hard work and team play.

    Anyone who had already purchased bowl game tickets needs to relax and simply be a fan. This season is going to be interesting and surprising, with more losses on the way. The boys will learn that being at UF means that going to class equals good and committing felonies equals bad. I still believe that Mullen is disciplined and clear-eyed enough to restore the Gators into contenders for championships. But that’s still a few seasons away.

  17. Know this: Florida immediately has a better culture with a certain running back no longer associated with the program. Thank you, Dan Mullen. Some people remain entitled for no reason and with tons of reasons not to be.

  18. Fellas, count me in the group that is FULLY behind Coach Dan Mullen. I’ve been saying it a lot and I agree 100% with Pat when he talks about changing the culture. I think this is 100% the problem. Once you get the team to preparing the right way (weight room, film room, practice) and once you get the team to taking care of ALL their business the right way (classroom and social life), THEN you can get the team to understand what it truly takes to compete at an elite level.

    Those things take time. Cece and Lemons are great examples. Apparently neither have been “all in” in every area of their lives and preparation that would allow them to lay it all on the line to make the team great.

    Dan Mullen was the 100% right hire. It’ll take time…and time will prove this correct.

  19. Wow, this has been one helluva page full of responses, all of them with argued merit, which is why I prefer to be here than participate in any other forum.

    So let’s remember that among the great coaches with proven track records are….wait, there’s only one…Chip Kelly. And he didn’t turn us down so much as we took a pass. Scott Frost? Well, he had one brilliant season at a Group of Five school, but in context was still a risk. Besides, he made his intention clear to go “home”, just as SOS did when he came here. Now as to Dan Mullen, let’s look at the context for his allegedly inferior record at MSU. What? We’ve already done that? Then what the hell are we questioning here?

    Look, if anyone “drank the Kool-Aid” here, it was from a brew we created ourselves. I’m not an unrealistic optimist, I’m just as let down as anyone here — but those of us who are want to throw in the towel now? Well, maybe I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Good thing you weren’t a decision maker at the Battle of the Bulge or in North Africa early on — we’d probably be having this conversation in German right now.

    • Yeah 6. Good post…some got textbook technical on the coaching search, but the point was that Mullen was not necessarily the first choice…and combating the “we should have gotten someone else” chatter, with…then who? We all recognized last year’s team was not good and had issues from depth to culture, so after one bad loss….you get “I told ya so” posts…and that is ridiculous. I was surprises at how UK manhandled us, but now we know what we have and who we are. We have some work to do.

  20. What was apparently forgotten in the off season was that this is essentially the same roster as last year under McElwain. The hype created by the media and us fans with the arrival of Mullen appeared to have made us forget that fact. Our first game against Charleston Southern added to hype but the warning signs were there (OL). We were just too engulfed in the hype to see the signs and refused to believe Southern was just that bad of a team. OUR team (in every aspect) was underdeveloped and undisciplined under McElwain. You cannot change that in one off season. When Jones (or another Mullen QB recruit) starts game 1 it will then truly be Mullen’s team. We need to back off Mullen for now. All the negativity in the fan base cannot be helpful with recruiting efforts. When Mullen’s recruits take the helm them we will have an idea on whether or not this was a good coaching hire. Let us not forget that McElwain was successful with Muschamp’s team. Muschamp’s problem at Florida was that he could not make the transition from DC to HBC. That cost him (and deservedly so) his job. He apparently learned from his mistakes at Florida. As those Muschamp’s players moved on McElwain was exposed as a fraud. Give Mullen some time for HIS players and system to take a hold. Until then for recruiting reasons (OL, DL, DB) he needs our support. Go Gators!

  21. Mullen is a good coach, he’s already proven it before so give the man some time he’ll get us right. The real question that I’m asking is…How the heck did our D get so bad??? I thought we at least recruited somewhat respectively on that side of the ball the last few years but I guess not. That is by far the most concerning part of the team right now. I knew our offense was going to take a complete rebuild but it looks like the defense is in the same boat??? I was at least looking forward to watching our D show up and our offense grow but with us being last in the league in rush defense it looks like they need the most work now. GO GATORS!

  22. Just want to stand and be recognized as being among those who knows that Mullen is the right coach and that he will get this ship righted. I was a little over-eager in my belief he could do it in one season, but he will do it. I now think it will be more like 4 years before we compete for national titles.

    Most of the time new coaches will see a drop off in the third year (Spurrier and Meyer both experienced this) due to attrition and the fact they face a short recruiting window when they are hired, but we will see a steady improvement in the effort level and TEAM mindset as this coaching staff works to scrub the yellow skid marks left behind from the previous coach of this program.

    In the meantime, Mullen will learn a lot from working with the current bunch and it will make him a better coach as he tries to figure out how to win with this group while recruiting players who have a what it takes to compete for titles.

  23. I stated when coach Mullen was hired that it would take a year to see what he has on the team and what he would need to recruit to field a better team. If we are fair to him, we would know he had very little time to recruit for this year. He has yellow tooth’s team from last year who each and everyone of think they are better than they really are. CeCe Jefferson is a prime example. He won’t do his best in the classroom. So he gets supended for 2 games, Then he stands on the sideline wearing sunglasses. I guess he’s Mr. Cool. No sir it’s not mullen’s fault, he just need some coachable players who at least has pride in what their doing. A couple of recruiting years will cure it. I still think Trask at least needs a chance to start a game and see whats he can do. Frank’s is well still last year’s Franks. To me there’s no chance he going to improve. He’s playing as good as he can. Still I’m going to watch every game and hope we win. GO GATORS……………

  24. I think Mullen is the right choice and will get this thing done. My question to all of the Mullen-haters and those who say he needs to hit the emergency button and get these guys good now, is how? There are no other players. He has to play with what he has and what he has is a bunch of weak guys in the trenches that reflect the attitude of the coach that recruited them. If Saban were here, he couldn’t win with this bunch either right now. It is easiest to blame the coach because it seems like an easier fix than blaming the players and the talent level. That gets scary because you realize it is a long process of rebuilding. But I think if we look objectively, it is the players and their desire. We have some good players but anybody who is a junior or senior has been taught their work ethic from Mac and, unfortunately for most, it can’t be changed.

    Like it or not, Mullen took over a mediocre program that has averaged 5+ losses for 10 years. Mac won two East titles but we all know that it was on the way down and not the way up. Under Champ we had top tier talent on defense and mediocre coaching. Under Mac, it all came crashing down. No matter what, this is a mediocre 5-loss per year football program with some great players who are surrounded by an average nucleus.

    Mullen needs the opportunity to build a program. He has proven he can do it because we are about to have our asses handed to us by a program that he basically built from where Florida is now. The other programs just have better teams. Kentucky was better. Mississippi State is better. LSU is way better. UGA is light years better. Missouri is better. South Carolina is better. Tennessee, Vandy, FSU and Colorado State are toss ups. Teams with less talent pull upsets because they have more heart and a better work ethic, but do you really believe these seniors that Mac recruited are capable of having that type of attitude. Just look at Ivey and Jefferson as examples.

  25. There’s a lot of talk about who was available. Florida is supposed to be a dream job. The talk should be about the lack of interest of coaches to come here, given the nightmare this program has become. I love the Gators, but seriously doubt the ability to turn this program around. I respect coach Mullen and wish him the best. He was the only choice available. Go Gators.

    • Frank, as far as I know Florida was always a dream job. So much so that we got the hottest young stud in the nation on our first try after two National Championships — remember? The designated Head Coach in Waiting at the University of Texas? Who left that plum behind to join the Gators?

      Then we wandered through about 7 years in the wilderness. We next made a hire that on paper, from a great coaching tree, was at the time also thought to be a good catch by everybody. Well he wasn’t, neither was the first one as it turned out, and in the meantime we tore ourselves apart and them too…..only compounding the trouble we “suddenly” found ourselves in. Why would any coach at all want to come here after all that? Well, one did — the one we should have gone after the first time before we ever started doing our Moses imitation. We’ve got him now. It may take a while longer by now to get it all back on track, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we have the right guy at the right time…..because if this had gone along any further, you’d probably be right.

    • Go back up this page a ways and read one of TampaGator’s posts. He discussed the coaching options at the time and I think it clearly sums up how we ended up with Dan Mullen. And in my opinion, I am excited that we did. I can’t think of another coach not named Saban that I’d rather have as the Head Ball Coach!

  26. In ALOT of recent cases it became obvious that a new coach was on the right track in year 2 after being hired. IMO this is the crucial year to see whether a program will develop into championship caliber or not.

    Scott Frost
    Urban Meyer
    Kirby smart
    Saban

    Over and over same pattern-year 2 – big success. In many cases even as year 1 unfolds the team noticeably improves. At this point it remains to be seen what happens, but Based in what I’ve seen I can’t presently see a route to any bowl game. UF will probably not be favored in any conference game unless they get things worked out quick.