UF notebook: Energy level up with Gators wary of Wildcats

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
Florida coach Dan Mullen talks with quarterback Kyle Trask on the sideline during the game against Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium earlier this month.

Coming off an inconsistent week of practice last week that contributed to some struggles at Vanderbilt, the Florida Gators apparently are a little more dialed in this week on the practice field.

 “(The energy) has been higher this week,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “Last week, we had high energy, but it wasn’t consistent energy. We had an up day, down day, down day, up day (week). It’s been really solid this week. We have to keep that going."

Even though Kentucky is 3-5 and coming off a 60-point loss to Alabama, Mullen said the Gators are wary of the Wildcats, who won in The Swamp two years ago, ending UF’s 31-game winning streak in the series.

  “Our guys know that,” Mullen said. “This is probably (Kentucky’s) biggest game of the year, coming here to play. I think our guys understand that this team is coming in here thinking this is their biggest game of the year. If you don’t prepare the right way, you’re going to be in trouble.

 “We have that challenge of focusing on ourselves and improving and finding ways to get better. It’s a challenge knowing you’ve got a team coming in here where this will make their season. You’ve got to come out and play at an extremely high level.”

More:Former Gator Fred Taylor gets another nomination for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Mullen on the CFP rankings

 The Gators are sitting in the No. 6 spot in the first College Football Playoff rankings that came out Tuesday night, and Mullen seems perfectly fine with where UF is ranked.

 “There’s still a lot of football to be played,” he said. “I look at the rankings and say, ‘Hey, that’s pretty explainable to see where everybody is and where they’re at right now. There’s a bunch of football. There’s still another four weeks in the season to play, so there will be a lot of shaking out before the end.”

Pitts back, competing

 Star tight end Kyle Pitts, who missed the last two games with a concussion, has done well in practice this week, Mullen said, and is competing for playing time in Saturday’s game with the two tight ends who have played so well in his absence — Kemore Gamble and Keon Zipperer.

 “He had a good practice the last two days,” Mullen said of Pitts. “The other tight ends, they’ve been playing well and they’re working their tails off in practice to make sure they keep their reps.

 “Injuries are part of the game. They’re unfortunate, but they also offer certain opportunities. When guys take advantage of those opportunities, it creates depth. It’s something at the tight end position that’s allowed us to do it.”

Mullen’s Thanksgiving plate

 Mullen was asked what his favorite Thanksgiving side dish is, and he said he basically has just one big dish.

 “If you ever saw my Thanksgiving Day plate, I’m a mashed potatoes, stuffing and corn smothered in gravy and I kind of whip it all together,” he said. “My plate almost looks like going to a Cold Stone ice cream, you know, how they mix it all together at the end.

 “I put my turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and corn and I kind of mix it all together and eat it like that.”