Notebook: 2020 Gators will face 3 schools with new head coaches

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Lane Kiffin responds to reporters questions at a news conference after being introduced to Mississippi fans as their new football coach at The Pavilion, a multipurpose arena on the campus in Oxford, Miss., on Dec. 9. Kiffin was previously the coach at Florida Atlantic. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

 One of the more interesting aspects of Florida’s 2020 schedule is the fact the Gators will be facing new head coaches at three schools — Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss, Eli Drinkwitz at Missouri and Mike Norvell at Florida State.

 UF coach Dan Mullen is familiar with two of the three — Kiffin and Norvell.

 Mullen said it’s good to see the colorful (and sometimes controversial) Kiffin back in the SEC. The Gators have to face him and the Rebels on the road on Oct. 17.

 “Yeah, that’s kind of cool,” Mullen said. “I like Lane. I think Lane is a great football coach, does a great job. Obviously, has great personality, is a great, fun personality in college football.

 “Lane is a really good football coach, does a great job, runs the program really well, has a lot of personality. It will be a big challenge for us because he’s going to walk into a team that has got some talent. I didn’t get to see a lot of (the Rebels), but I saw they looked like they had some young, explosive players at Ole Miss. So, a good situation, and obviously always brings some entertaining and exciting things into the league.”

 Mullen does not know Norvell quite as well. The Gators also will be facing him on the road next season.

 “I don’t know him real well, but I’m familiar with him,” Mullen said. “I think you look at the success he’s had. He did a great job at Memphis with that program. I’m just more familiar with him and the Memphis program from being at Mississippi State a long time.

 “You look at the last two coaches and how I think the school has done a great job at Memphis building the program up and brought in some quality coaches there that have brought the program up. I think he did a really good job there.”

Farewell to Feleipe

 Quarterback Feleipe Franks was a leader and one of the most popular players on the team, so, it’s been tough to say goodbye for some. But his teammates understand why he’s making the move to either another school or the NFL.

 “We didn’t really talk about it a whole lot,” quarterback Kyle Trask said. “At the end of the day, he’s going to do what’s best for him and his family. If that’s what he felt, was to go separate ways, he’s always going to be a great friend of mine and everyone on the team. He was a great leader for us this season. I wish him the best.

 “He’s still one of the best friends I’ve had here at the University of Florida, and he always will be. So I think he’s going to do great things. I wish him the best of luck.”

 Senior defensive end Jon Greenard has remained in contact with Franks.

 “I still talk to him every now and then and give him words of encouragement,” he said. “I know he’ll be all right. Just make sure that he gets healthy and make sure he is comfortable with his decision. I’m still happy for him. There’s no bad blood from me or anyone on this team. We all got love for him. If anybody else is in this same situation, I will have love for him. He’s got to do what he’s got to do for him and his family, so I’m happy.”

Happy coaching staff

 You never know what’s going to happen with the yearly coaching changes in college football and the NFL, but at this point, Mullen seems pretty confident that his coaching staff is going to remain intact.

 “I think our guys really enjoy being here,” he said. “You’re at a premier university. I have a lot of guys that have been with me for a long time and the quality of life that our coaches have, the direction the program’s headed, the opportunity to live here in Florida.

 “Most people are trying to work really hard to move to Florida when they retire. We already live here. Wasn’t that like a Coach Spurrier-ism? A lot of our staff really enjoys being here.

 “Even with the coaching carousel in college. We had a couple guys get calls for head coaching jobs. I think we have some really qualified coaches here that will be great head coaches that I think some people are missing some opportunities on. But I think for guys to leave to be assistants at other places, I think this is the premier place, so most of them are really happy being here.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Dan Mullen is obviously a fine gentleman in addition to being an excellent football coach.

    I don’t know about Mizzou and Norvell will probably do fine at FSU if he can get control of the forces leading to their dysfunction. If I was Ol Miss, though, I’d probably start out by sewing Lane Kiffin’s lips together.