Florida’s performance in a 38-17 loss to Missouri this past Saturday is another example of what the Gators are in their first season under Dan Mullen, the head coach said Monday.
“It’s probably where we are as a team,” Mullen said. “If we don’t play well — if you look at how we’ve been so far this year, when we come out and we play well and execute at a high level in all three phases, we’re a pretty darn good football team.
“If we don’t, we’re not at the point where we can just not play well and cover up with just phenomenal playmakers. The light comes on, and all of a sudden we hit a switch, and we could just shift to a whole other gear of performance. That’s more where the program is right now. We’ve got to come out, we’ve got to play hard for four quarters. We’ve got to play physical for four quarters. We’ve got to follow the plan to win and execute.”
The Gators failed to follow that plan against Missouri.
No Franks fight
Mullen dispelled rumors on social media that quarterback Feleipe Franks, who was benched in the second half last Saturday, got into a scuffle with some other players in the post-game locker room.
“No. No,” he said. “If it was, it was like late, after everybody went home and there were one or two people left maybe in the locker room.”
Despite the rumor and the one-sided loss, UF’s second in a row, Mullen said the players still seem to be sticking together as a team and buying in to him and his staff and the direction of the program.
“After the game, they were all in there, they were listening,” Mullen said. “We have guys that are learning to do things the right now. I still don’t feel any resistance on the team. After the game, to be honest with you, that was probably the most attentive they’ve ever been after a game.
“Everybody comes in, sometimes I’ve got to call them all up, guys are putting their helmets up. But everyone was on a knee waiting as I walked into the locker room. I think there are guys that they want to believe in what we’re doing and move forward in how to get it done. That was good.”
Mullen said another positive sign is the fact the players all showed up five minutes early for Monday morning’s team meeting.
“There weren’t stragglers coming in late. Everybody made it to treatments yesterday from the training room. Those are things that you look for.”
Sore but healthy
The Gators came out of yet another game with no serious injuries and should be full strength for Saturday’s game against South Carolina.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys banged up and battered, but on the training report there’s nothing that should prevent anybody (from playing Saturday),” Mullen said. “There will be guys that are limited probably during the week, but that’s not uncommon this time of year.
“Everybody is cleared. They should be cleared to go by Saturday. There’s not been a big injury that’s going to prevent anybody from playing for us that isn’t already out.”
USC not healthy
Unlike the Gators, the Gamecocks will have to play around some significant injuries sustained in USC’s win at Ole Miss this past Saturday.
The Gamecocks are now down to three healthy safeties after starters Jamyest Williams (shoulder) and Javon Charleston (foot) were lost to season-ending injuries.
“It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said.
Copeland good to go
Freshman wide receiver Jacob Copeland, one of the highest-rated members of the 2018 recruiting class, is healthy now and could see some playing time over the final four games and still redshirt. He’s been out since early in preseason camp with a leg injury.
“He’s back now,” Mullen said. “We’d like to redshirt him because he just got healthy a couple of weeks ago. There’s four games left, so he’d have the opportunity. He could play the rest of the way if he needed to. But he also missed a whole bunch of training camp, so he would be limited into spot duty here or there, just learning and understanding the offense and knowing what to go do and how to go do it.”