Florida freshmen will see action early, Mullen says

Florida coach Dan Mullen at practice searching for Alpha Dogs. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun)

Florida Gators fans can expect to see three freshman cornerbacks in action as early as the Aug. 24 game against Miami in Orlando, Florida coach Dan Mullen said in Monday’s news conference.

John Huggins’ dismissal makes for an even thinner secondary. Last Tuesday, Mullen announced redshirt junior C.J. McWilliams, the backup at one cornerback spot and at the star position, ruptured his Achilles in a recent practice and is out for the season. Huggins was expected to be the No. 2 star behind Trey Dean.

With the lack of depth in the secondary, Mullen said the three true freshman defensive backs — Kaiir Elam, Jaydon Hill and Chester Kimbrough — will see playing time this season.

In other notes Monday:

*The reason for Huggins’ dismissal over the weekend was the player “not living up to the Gator Standard.” The situation was “evolving … a constant process” leading to dismissal.
“I’m comfortable with me and I’m comfortable with how we run the program,” Mullen said of some outside perception of his program pertaining to a string of incidents involving violence toward women. “People outside will have an opinion on me, I don’t pay much attention to it.”

*Sunday night’s scrimmage was better. “We took some steps forward,“ Mullen said. “Just cleaner football. We had a lot less missed tackles.”  Some bumps and bruises for the Gators, but no major injuries in the scrimmage.

* Mullen on departure of offensive lineman Noah Banks for health reasons. “He was in the rotation for us. That stuff happens.’’

*The Gators are applying for an immediate NCAA/SEC eligibility waiver for Georgia transfer Brenton Cox Jr. and Mullen believes he has a good chance of getting one. Cox reached out after he hit the portal last week, the linebacker called some UF players to ask about the program, Mullen then talked to his family: “One of the things about him wanting to move quickly on it … is to get this waiver process started.”

*Defensive tackle Jaelin Humphries has not practiced yet: “Hopefully he gets healthy in the next couple weeks,” Mullen said.

*Three more practices in training camp this week, then game week.

Click back for more from today’s Mullen news conference.