Notebook: Gators good if execute in all phases, Mullen says

Florida wide receiver Josh Hammond catches a touchdown pass from Kyle Trask during Saturday's game against Missouri at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

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.”



  1. Mullen did not completely deny Franks locker room scuffle after the game. Interested in seeing how they respond to back to back losses. Any fire? It seemed apparent that some players are more interested in the NFL draft than playing hard right now.

  2. At lease we have some good news for a change. We can see a little bit of Jacob Copeland. Be nice to see him on the field. I’m from Pensacola as he is so that’s a big part of why I’m so interested. Looking forward to this week’s game. I hope we show up ready to play. Good Day………………

  3. Nebraska has had a pretty awful season to this point by a Win/Loss standard. Funny thing is their true freshman qb has more passing yards than our entire team and more rushing yards than any of our rbs. Their second leading rusher as a running back is also a true freshman. Their 3rd leading running back is also a true freshman. They have 2 receivers with more than 50 receptions so Frost is showing recruits you can be a star there. Frost is very smart. He’s taking his lumps the very first season but they will be a force next year.

    Not to mention that their freshman qb was lower rated than our freshman qb and their freshman rbs were lower rated than our freshman rb.

    UCLA is doing the same thing as Nebraska but their offensive stats aren’t as good. Leading passer is true freshman. 2nd, 3rd leading rushers are true freshmen. Take your lumps the first year.

    As an offensive recruit, what do you come to UF for? Be the leading receiver after 9 games with 23 catches? Be the leading rusher after 9 games with less than 500 yards? You have to sell the school and it’s not all facilities. You have to sell your team and it’s not all wins/losses. People go to games to be entertained. Most people would rather watch 49-48 shootout than 7-6 slobberknocker. Make UF football entertaining and the fans will come. Make UF football arduous and boring, they won’t come.

    • Florida already qualified for a bowl and the extra needed practices that come with a bowl. With no championship in play, as a fan I would be willing to trade losses for game experience for the freshmen and sophomores. At least they wouldn’t be worried about hurting themselves before the NFL draft and would give maximum effort. Florida is going to most likely losing Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Zuniga, Polite, David Reese (?), Scarlett, Cleveland, Hammond, and Van Jefferson in addition to the seniors It’s time to start preparing for next year.

    • Much easier to take your lumps at programs like Nebraska and UCLA. You really believe Mullen could’ve come in here and played a bunch of true freshman and gone 2-7 and the fans would’ve been ok with that as long as it was entertaining? Yeah right! This fan base was critical at 6-1. Personally if I’m a recruit, I’m going to the school that was in the playoff hunt till week 8 and is only a few pieces away from getting over the top. Maybe even just a QB away.

      • I hear you Joe…but Devil’s Advocate… the bottom line is that the fan base will not be satisfied either way…so at least in year 1 you may want to get young guys with full buy in that showed improvement by the end of the year. UCLA…yes. Even with their homeboy Frost at the helm, Nebraska is a storied program too…so not sure they are swallowing these Ls easily

        That said…your point is well taken and likely accurate…just giving the flip.

      • I believe since the last 4 games are winnable to the point we can do both they won’t be blowouts but they are winnable and we can play some of these freshmen and sophomores and still be competitive and win the games. I really believe Frost was forced into using those Freshmen because they were the best players at those positions. I only see one position that we could afford to have used a freshman or RED-SHIRT SOPHOMORE (HINT) and maybe accomplished better results. Our Freshman QB will get some reps in these next couple games, I think he just needs to learn the playbook better and he will probably be next years starter, JUST MY OPINION!