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Gators notebook: Spurrier comes through with gift for Mullen

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
Florida coach Dan Mullen, left, holds a gift from former UF coach Steve Spurrier on Monday.

 After the Florida offense set a school record for total yards against an SEC opponent in Saturday’s win at Ole Miss, UF coach Dan Mullen said maybe Steve Spurrier would put a bottle of wine on his desk for breaking one of Spurrier’s many offensive records.

 Spurrier came through on Monday, delivering a small bottle of wine to Mullen in the coaches’ offices.

 “He didn't miss a beat,” Mullen said. “He was in here this morning, he had a bottle of wine for me. I called him out and he brought it.

 “Hey, that’s one thing about having Coach Spurrier. I love having Coach Spurrier around because, obviously to have a football person like that around the building and around all the time. I grew up a huge fan of him. Very rarely does he not walk in the room and put a smile on the face of everyone in the office.” 

 Spurrier often shows up with ideas and suggestions for Mullen and his staff. Those are welcome, too, Mullen said.

 “He’ll come by, have some thoughts on different things, football thoughts for us,” Mullen said. “And I just love it since I’ve been here, he’s a guy that comes in and is not judgmental. As everybody knows, he’s not afraid to give you advice on different things, or speak his mind and give his thoughts

 “He always does it to me in a very positive, constructive, helping way as a coach. I think it is great to have somebody like that around, just sticks his head in every once in a while, gives his thoughts on what’s going on.”   

 Mullen said the staff has used some plays that Spurrier has suggested.

 “Oh, yeah,” he said. “He’ll draw up some plays for us now. He’s got a bunch of plays. He’ll review stuff and say, ‘Hey, we’ve run this before, or we’ve run that before.’ We put one of them in last year, we ran a bunch of times a play called Spurrier because he gave it to us.

 “I can’t give you our play calling. Obviously it was a pass play, not a run play. I’m sure you guessed that.”  

 After Mullen suggested in his postgame news conference that Spurrier maybe might put a bottle of wine on his desk, Spurrier had a  response, saying that if Mullen wins an SEC championship maybe he’ll put two on his desk.

 “He said it to me again this morning,” Mullen said. “I love it. As soon as he said it, I was laughing. It was awesome.”

Depth chart update 

 The two defensive starters who were not listed on the depth chart for last Saturday’s game are on the one for the South Carolina game this Saturday.

 Kyree Campbell is listed as the backup at tackle behind Tedarrell Slaton and Brad Stewart is listed as the No. 2 star behind C.J. McWilliams.

 Jeremiah Moon, the projected starter at the buck defensive end position, is on the depth chart again after being held out of last Saturday’s game for unspecified reasons.

Heggie, Miller honored

 Senior center Brett Heggie and junior middle linebacker Ventrell Miller were recognized by the SEC for their strong performances in Florida’s win at Ole Miss on Saturday. Heggie is the league’s offensive lineman of the week, while Miller was named the defensive player of the week.

 Taking over for departing team captain David Reese in the middle of the UF defense, Miller was all over the field in Saturday’s game, totaling 13 solo tackles, 15 overall, two tackles for losses and one sack, adding up to a loss of 28 yards for the Rebels.

 Miller led the SEC in the first week of play for the conference and was one of only two players in the SEC to post double-digit solo tackles. 

 On the other side of the ball, Heggie, a former guard, was a big hit at center, where he started the game and played throughout. Heggie graded out as the top offensive lineman for the Gators on a line that helped UF gain 642 yards of total offense, a school record against an SEC opponent. 

 Mullen said Heggie winning the award is a reflection of how the offensive line played overall.

 "I thought he played well. I thought the offensive line, as a whole, played well,” Mullen said. “A lot of times that almost ends up being a team award. I know it goes to the individual, and I give Brett a lot of credit. He was well deserving and had a great game, having to go jump in at center. 

 “You look, there weren’t a lot of mistakes up front. As the game went on, I think we made some good adjustments to what they were doing to run the ball even more efficiently than we did early in the game, and a lot of that goes on the center. But overall, I thought the offensive line played well, and he is the center of that line and the focal and the apex of that line. I’m glad he was able to get the recognition for that.”

Reese a champion in debut

 Stewart Reese, the graduate transfer from Mississippi State, had a successful debut Saturday, starting at offensive guard.

 “Great,” Mullen said of Reese’s performance. “I think having missed the offseason hurt Stew a little bit. I expect him to continue to get better. I saw a couple ups and downs. One thing I think he knows having played for us before is that I have pretty high standards and expectations. That’s not going to shock him. So, overall, he graded a champion and I thought he played pretty well.”

This and that

 The start time for the Gators’ game at Texas A&M on Oct. 10 will be determined after Saturday’s game against South Carolina. CBS has elected to use a six-day option for selection of games on that day. UF’s game will be televised either by CBS at 3:30 p.m. or by ESPN at noon. … Mullen’s weekly highlight show will make its season debut at 5 p.m. Tuesday on FOX Sports Florida.