SEC MEDIA DAYS

Mullen: Spread offense a 'great fit' for Gators


Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen moves from interview room to interview room during Day 2 of the SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., on Tuesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 7:18 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — The spread offense has returned to Florida, and the first offensive coordinator to run the modern-day version of that system in the SEC thinks going back to it is good move for the Gators.

Dan Mullen unleashed the spread offense on the league with Urban Meyer in 2005 when they brought their innovative scheme from Utah to UF.

Under Mullen's direction, the Gators finished 2007 and 2008 ranked in the top 15 nationally in total offense. He helped them win a pair of national championships before leaving to become the head coach at Mississippi State, where he's entering his sixth season.

“Speed is first thing that comes to mind when you think of the state of Florida,” Mullen said Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “You look back even to when coach (Steve) Spurrier was there with all the speed they had on the perimeter. His offense was a spread of a different nature, but he still spread the field and got the ball to guys in space who could make things happen with it.

“During my time there we had guys like Percy Harvin, Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. You get them in the open field and they could make special things happen. So to me, speed is something unique when you look at that state. For the talent of high players in that state, the spread offense is a great fit for them.”

And that's why Mullen and many others — both former coaches and ex-players familiar with UF's recruiting base and current roster — believe new coordinator Kurt Roper could end the Gators' offensive woes.

“I haven't spent much time with him, but I've watched him,” Mullen said of Roper. “I know he's done some great things and had an amazing season at Duke last year. He's had success wherever he's been and I think he's going to do a great job at Florida with his offense.”

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