Florida coach Dan Mullen has dismissed internet rumors that sophomore safety Brad Stewart Jr. likely has been suspended from Saturday’s game against Georgia due to a possible failed drug test.
When asked on the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday if he expected Stewart to play Saturday, Mullen said. “Why wouldn’t he?”
Mullen was then told about the rumors concerning Stewart.
“I make those decisions, not the internet,” he said. “Our injury report … everybody is healthy, ready to go.”
In the past, Mullen has not announced player suspensions until the day of the game.
New starting QB?
Speaking of rumors, there has been a lot of speculation in Athens this week that Georgia true freshman quarterback Justin Fields will see extensive playing time in Saturday’s game and could even possibly be the surprise starter ahead of sophomore Jake Fromm.
UGA coach Kirby Smart was asked on the teleconference if Fields is going to be more involved in the offense Saturday. He had only one carry for three yards in the LSU loss two weeks ago.
“I don’t know that I’d say there’s a plan or anything that says that’s going to happen,” Smart said. “I certainly think (Fields) has gotten better with the off week. Lots of work, lots of reps. He continues to grow as a player. If we see the opportunity, it certainly could happen.”
RBs have UGA’s attention
Smart seems impressed with Florida’s running backs. All three of them — Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine and true freshman Dameon Pierce, who is from Georgia.
“They’re physical. They’re built very similarly,” Smart said. “They have big lower bodies. They’re had to tackle. I tell people all the time there’s a mold of an SEC back and it’s like all these guys on these teams we play that have really thick, 220-pound backs that run through tackles and play really physical.
“Both of those guys (Scarlett and Perine) have done that, and done it well, behind an offensive line that has gotten better with each and every game.”
Mullen the play-caller
Mullen is an offensive coach who calls the plays for the Gators, while Smart is a defensive guy who calls the UGA defense. So, it will be a chess match between the two head coaches Saturday.
Smart seems to have a lot of respect for Mullen and what he does with his offense.
“He does a great job,” Smart said. “He does a really good job of changing the rhythm of the game, the pace of the game. Some hurry-up stuff, some check-with-me stuff, some easy throws, some vertical passing game. He stretches the field both vertically and horizontally. He’s a really good play caller.
“At the end of the day, it will boil down to the players making the plays, not the guys calling the plays.”
Mullen and Smart are neighbors in the summer. They both own summer homes at Lake Oconee in central Georgia.
“He has a home there. Our family has a home there,” Smart said. “I see him over the summers — the years he’s been at Mississippi State quite a bit.”
Mullen said he occasionally runs into Smart and his family in the neighborhood.
“Kirby and I have played golf a couple of times up there in the summer,” Mullen said. “We’ll pass each other over at the kids’ pool coming and going, when we take the family out to the swimming pool. We get to see each other. It’s a great place.
“There’s a whole bunch of coaches up there. The calendar fits coaches well because there are all kinds of coaches there (in the summer).”