Notebook: Brewster’s presence on staff pumps up Mullen

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(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

 Although there is still no official word from Florida regarding the hiring of Tim Brewster, UF coach Dan Mullen acknowledged Monday that the former North Carolina tight ends coach has been on staff and actively working for the Gators for the past several weeks.

 “Brew is a guy I’ve had on staff before (at Mississippi State),” Mullen said. “He’s got a great personality, great passion for the game. Obviously, he’s an excellent tight ends coach.

 “When he was with me before, had him coaching the receivers. So, it’s great kind of having him now at his most comfortable position. But a wealth of knowledge and experience as a position coach. A great fit with the staff. I think that’s something that’s critical of how a guy fits in with the personality of the staff. 

 “And he’s a great recruiter for us, too. You’re around Brew you just see his attitude and always got high energy, always excited and that’s the type of guy I like to have around and he’s not only a great football coach on the field, but a dynamic recruiter and also a great personality within our staff and a great fit.”

 Brewster, who has worked in the NFL and at multiple college programs, including Texas and Florida State, has a reputation for being an elite recruiter. Some of his notable gets were Vince Young at Texas and Dalvin Cook and Marvin Wilson at FSU. Cook had been a longtime UF commitment that Brewster flipped late in the process.

 “If you ever have talked to him, it’s his personality,” Mullen said. “He can talk. When he comes in a room, his personality. He is one of those. He takes over the room. I don’t think he has ever walked into a room and not left with more friends than when he walked in. In recruiting that certainly helps, that personality that he has.”

Competition at QB

 Senior Kyle Trask is clearly the Gators’ starting quarterback. But the QB position is no different than any other under Mullen. The competition never ends, and that’s the way it will be at quarterback this spring.

 “I know he’s got a couple of other guys (Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson) that expect to start next year, so I think he’s handling it,” Mullen said. “He better push himself and continue to work every day and compete at the highest level so he can remain in that position.

 “(Jones and Richardson) are looking at, ‘Hey, I’m trying to win the starting job.’  The guys understand what we do and one of the things that make us, I guess, develop the quarterbacks well is how we handle rotations and all the opportunities everybody gets. 

 “Everybody basically gets to be the starter going through spring. You’re going to get opportunities. It’s not like this guy only goes with one group, this guy only goes with one group. We roll them all through so you get experience playing with different groups to see how you can handle it.”

Replacing Perine

 When Mullen was asked about having to replace the versatile Lamical Perine at running back, junior Malik Davis is the first back he mentioned.

 “I’m excited to see Malik, and hopefully getting Malik 100-percent back,” Mullen said. “I think coming off of the injury, the injuries he’s had (knee and fractured foot), I don’t know if he played at 100 percent (last season). Not that he wasn’t 100-percent healthy, but 100 percent even in his mental health with confidence being out there on the field last year. 

 “It will be exciting to get him being confident and if he’s confident being ready to go. I think he brings something different with Dameon (Pierce) and Iverson (Clement) back that we’ve seen. We’ll see what (Miami transfer) Lorenzo Lingard can do as a new guy.  What we’ve got to do is evaluate all their strengths and make sure we’re putting them in a position to be successful.

Five-star presence

 Mullen and his staff had to wait longer than they wanted to for Brenton Cox Jr. to become eligible, but now the five-star linebacker transfer from Georgia is good to go this spring and in the 2020 season.

 UF had been seeking a special waiver from the NCAA that would have made Cox eligible last season, but it was denied.

 “We expect a lot from him,” Mullen said. “I know he’s a talented player. It’s good to have him. Hopefully, they get some of those rules fixed up. It looks like they’re talking about those rules so at least there’s consistency in college football that way.

 “One of his teammates (quarterback Justin Fields), almost identical situations and one is allowed to play and one’s not. I mean, I don’t know. Hopefully they just really define that stuff cleaner. We expect him to have a great spring. He’s worked hard, had a great attitude, been really positive in everything he’s done and I want to see him continue to do that.”