Gators embrace high expectations, Mullen says

Florida coach Dan Mullen walks the field during preseason practice at the Sanders Practice Fields last week. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Being ranked No. 8 in both major college football preseason polls, Florida is in the discussion as being in the national championship hunt. UF coach Dan Mullen understands it.

“We embrace it. We’re all in,” Mullen said during his weekly news conference Monday.

The country will get a quick look to see if the Gators are worthy of such talk with Saturday’s game against Miami to open the season.

‘Everyone is watching,” Mullen said. “ All the other teams are watching, what are they going to see? Every college football person in the country is watching. What do you want them to think about?”

In other notes:

“Injury-wise we expect everyone to play (other than those with season-ending injuries),” Mullen said. Everyone set to practice today.

  • “I know (Miami coach) Manny (Diaz) really well. Great coach, great motivator, very intelligent,” Mullen said.
  • Mullen said if there are any player suspensions they will be announced before kick off Saturday.
  • Mullen on whether QB Feleipe Franks is an “alpha dog” leader on the Gators: “We’ll see. I have a pretty high standard. We’ll see how it goes.”
  • Mullen said Franks has improved more this offseason than he did during last season. “Huge strides” he said.

Click back for more from today’s news conference.


  1. I suspect that CDM, his staff, and team leaders will work diligently this week to keep the younger players grounded, make sure they don’t let they 8 go to their heads, and prepare for Miami during game week like it’s the national championship. I wonder if the CDM will (or maybe already has) give a history lesson on the rivalry to the team.

    • Phil and 65 — I think you both are hitting on a frequently overlooked but often key component of success here; actually, a couple that merge together in reality. First, both of you know how important history, lineage, and traditions….even heraldry….are and can be. Especially when the chips are down, or when performance may start to lag. Phil seems to know cops better than some cops, and 65 knows the military — those happen, in my mind anyway, to be two of the three places where I think this dynamic plays out the most. What’s the third? In my mind, it’s team sports. Just my thoughts, held for quite a while at that, but to see you two mention them made me smile. (of course, it could also be gas 😉)

      The second thing, one that Phil brought up, is the effects of the #8 ranking…..the positive and possible negatives of it. Dooley notwithstanding, the AP handed out a pretty good starting spot to the Gators — that’s got to be validating of all the hard work and extra effort that, on the part of the coaches and players together, has gone into getting there. Great! Now don’t let it go to your heads, and most of all, prove that you’re worthy of it. No slack, no resting on your laurels, stay hungry dammit! Relentless effort. Don’t play like the 8th best team in the nation… like the BEST team in the nation! Play with the history of this game in mind, and what it means………what every game on your storied schedule means……..

      Do I even have to say it? GO GATORS!

      • Well said again! Thanks 65 and 6 for the acknowledgements. Go Gators! MUST be said! And repeated frequently.

        I’m curious to see which of the various sides of Dooley shows up in the Back Nine tomorrow. I’m predicting Doomsday Dooley, the side he has most down pat.

        • whatever vote we got is just an opinion, we have to play the games to find out…its been a long offseason, im glad to be ready to yell at the games instead of yelling at the newspaper again for a while. i like our chances for number one next year, this year i will try to be patient. CDM has got to feel good about the staff and the young players, even if every newspaper in the country says we cant recruit or keep our recruits or whatever.

  2. At the end of the day, we have good players and coaches. Most people want to predict success based on recruiting rankings, and certainly that is important, but Alabama, Georgia and Clemson coach a little bit too. We now have a coach who coaches and develops.We have a strength coach that an NFL team would love to make a run at–if NFL players actually did anything with their strength coaches instead of their personal trainers. The most talented team usually wins, and I include coaching talent as part of that equation.We have had great raw raw type guys who could recruit in the past , like Ron Zook, who were good for a half until the excitement wore off. We have also had supposed geniuses, like McElwain, who acted like they never wanted to be here and talked more about BBQ than the game.This is the first time in about 10 years I have felt our team is closer to being complete to start the season. Go Gators.