Mullen thanks Gator Nation, fires up crowd

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Florida head football coach Dan Mullen pumps up the crowd before the Gators basketball team takes the court against Tennessee at the Exactech Arena. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Dan Mullen doesn’t miss many opportunities to discuss Florida’s improvement on the football field in 2018. Speaking in front of a sold-out crowd prior to the UF basketball team’s match-up against No. 3-ranked Tennessee, Mullen thanked fans for the support during Florida’s 10-3 season, which culminated in a 41-15 victory over Michigan in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl on Dec. 29.

“I want to first of all thank all of you. Because I challenged everybody here. It wasn’t just about the coaches, or the players, or Coach (Nick) Savage and the strength staff, or the administration,” Mullen said. “It was about all of us working together. You all bought into that, and you helped lead us to a 10-win season, you helped lead us to a Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl victory. You helped lead us to a No. 6 national ranking, we finished second in the SEC overall and you helped restore that Gator standard.”

With six official visitors in tow, including highly touted defensive back Kaiir Elam, Mullen made sure to greet former UF president Bernie Machen, too, before promising to build on the foundation established in his inaugural season at the helm in Gainesville.

“I know the Gator standard is not being the second-best team in the SEC — it’s about being the first-best team in the SEC. That means it’s a challenge for all of us, a challenge for our players and coaches and everyone in the Gator Nation,” Mullen said. “Next year we’re going to take it to a whole ’nother level.”

Florida signed 21 prospects during the early signing period and will look to add several more prospects on National Signing Day on Feb. 6.

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin repeated the plans for some of the new facilities on campus: The new baseball stadium will be ready by summer of 2020, then the stand-alone facility for football will be built on the site of McKethan Stadium when it is demolished.

15 COMMENTS

  1. hopefully this worked with the recruits! i admit we still have a few holes, the replacements three plus high draft picks aren’t neccessarily going to net out even (including what other players step up in other positions), probably the other 7 will be the same. we are still a little deficient in pass blocking, two tight end defense, hurry up defense, and quarterback accuracy under pressure. Miami is a lot tougher than charleston southern, fsu and tennessee should be better, and missouri and kentucky are still challenges, and the rest of the schedule is no picnic, and its more on the road than last year. Georgia is trying to upgrade their secondary, and fromm is an elite qb. i dont see us having a better record until 2020. but once we get there its going to be fun!

    • Buddy-Ro, I can’t agree with you more but I do think a lot of the deficiencies you note will be addressed. It’s the sudden 12-0 or 11-1 in 2019 that may be the frustration. Now, before anybody jumps down my throat for saying that, or Mveal’s for that matter, I’ve always said (for what it’s worth) that while that’s certainly possible and maybe to some degree probable — that particular expectation or demand may be what leads to the frustration in Year-2 of a multi-year building project. Year-3, however, that is, as Mveal sustains, Katie-bar-the-door if we can be patient that long. One game at a time. one year at a time — MGGA.

  2. You think Mullen was talking to Elam when he kept saying it’s not enough for the Gators to be the second best team in the SEC? After all, UGA is the other possible landing spot for Elam and our coach is saying we are better than them. He is correct after all we finished the season ranked higher than them and with much more momentum, but don’t tell that to the leg humpers. They are in a tizzy over a SaturdayDownSouth piece that mentioned we finished the season in an uptrend while UGA did the opposite. I know they beat us head to head but this is a different team now and I believe will be a much better team next year. Now lets get Elam and Moore to round out the cycle, and MAR or Pickering are welcome as well. At the very least we eliminated slick Willie and the semis in the Moore sweepstakes.
    Go Gators!

  3. I think our improvement may be more than our foes in the east next year. Tenn is going to be better maybe much better, UK surprised us plus we had some injuries, Mizzou had had our number. UGA has been better the last few years. I’ll start with them. % wise we should lose according to the rankings in class. I’m thinking while they will be deeper than us in a few areas with experience I feel we closed the year on par and would have given them a run for their money at the end. Looking at data we could take a step back. Gut feeling is we finish even with last year or better. If we go relatively free of injury and we don’t lose players to bone headed stuff we could easily go 10-2

    • 10-2 would be a great season for Year-2. I don’t think all those 8-star recruits are working out exactly the way Georgia had expected, despite having the best, the greatest and most honorable of all big time coaches in the history of college football. I don’t know why they can’t break thru their glass ceiling with all that talent — reminds me of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, actually, who would have won every game they played that year but for not. And then there are the Gators, of course, a team full of mere 4-stars, a gaggle of 3-stars, and nary a 5-star who would tarnish his reputation by playing for a no-name nobody of a head coach, previously banished for life to the backwaters of the SEC in some backwards state no right thinking person could find on a map three out of four times, who probably can’t even spell “Chip Kelly” with the help of a dictionary — yeah, I’d go with the Gators too. You said it yourself, “They have no right to win, but win they do”. MGGA!

      • G-6, some good thoughts there old buddy. Now it’s time for your medicine and afternoon nap! It appears you have bingo at the church tonight, maybe even double bingo, so get your rest and dream of Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and the rest of those boys of ’57.

      • 6 One of the things when you get that many egos in the same room is managing said egos. All the best talent can be there but if they don’t work together they are functionally compromised. Had some good groups work for me and they were not crème de la crème but they where some of the best I could have asked for.

        • Sometimes you get a super-nova in a room full of bright stars, but more often than not it’s ordinary guys doing pretty much extraordinary things — as you obviously know better than most, 65. Personally, I’d take a handful of regular guys who gave a damn and didn’t care who got the credit, over a bunch of super-stars prima donna’s any day….especially at the small unit level. It’s magic when the platoon sergeant knows what the hell he’s doing and the Joes are listening, ain’t it? Hmmm….kind of reminds me of the 2018 Gators……