Gators notebook: Mullen pleased with response in practice, Chatfield transfers

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
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Florida coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday he's liked how his team has handled the close loss to Alabama.

Florida coach Dan Mullen was interested to see his team’s response in practice this week following the narrow loss to Alabama last Saturday.

He was initially bothered by the lack of energy when the Gators first took the field Monday. 

“I was a little concerned. It was a little quiet there on the field. Normally we're a little bit more boisterous as a team, a little more shouty, having a good time,” Mullen said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday. “So I got a little bit nervous getting out there, like, ‘Hey, are we going to respond?’ 

Once practice got underway, however,  Mullen got the answer he was looking for. He loved the attitude of his players and said they came out "really hungry" to Monday’s practice. 

“It was one of our better practices,” he said. “They came out with a very serious, workman-like attitude, of understanding that we've got to fix; you’re not going to win and play championship-level football making some of the mental errors we made. 

“So they understood and came out and wanted to work to get better, to improve things and play at a higher level as a team. So I think it’s been a pretty good week of practice.”

The Gators practiced with more intensity leading up to the Alabama game, and safety Rashad Torrance said he and his teammates have made an effort to keep that same energy for Tennessee week. 

“The foot’s been on the gas ever since we stepped out on the field,” Torrence said. “We knew that we had to keep that intensity up because this week is no easy week. It’s just like any other week, so we knew we had to come out and play with that same intensity and that same fire that we brought last Saturday.”

Gamble betting on Jones

After no receptions through the first two games, Florida’s tight ends had their numbers called against the Crimson Tide. 

Kemore Gamble led the Gators with a career-high five receptions for 32 yards, while Keon Zipperer set a career high with 51 yards receiving (team high) on four catches. 

“We’re always in the game plan every week. It’s just that week, we so happened to just get the ball a lot because they left us open. I guess they forgot about us,” Gamble said. 

Florida quarterback Emory Jones also had more production last Saturday, accounting for 272 yards of offense (195 passing) and a rushing touchdown. Gamble has seen growth each week from Jones, who struggled with turnovers in his first starts. 

“I think Emory came out and responded really well,” Gamble said. “Emory’s been growing each and every week. He’s been getting better each and every week. I think he’ll continue to. He’s a great quarterback. He can do a lot of things people don’t know about yet. Man, I think he’s going to be one of the top quarterbacks in this league.”

Oregon State for Chatfield

Three weeks after entering the transfer portal, Florida outside linebacker Andrew Chatfield has found a new school. 

Chatfield announced Wednesday that he’s transferring to Oregon State. He put his name in the portal on Aug. 31, but continued practicing with the Gators this month. 

Mullen indicated that Chatfield could remain with the program if he chose to, but has elected to play elsewhere. He finished fourth on the team with 2.5 sacks last season, compiling 13 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss in 12 games played.

Must-see TV

The Alabama-Florida game brought in 7.863 million viewers for the CBS SEC game of the week, according to a network release. It was the most-watched SEC on CBS opener in eight years and was the most watched television program of the day on any network, according to CBS. The game peaked near the end of the contest with over 11.5 million viewers tuning in. Alabama won 31-29 after stopping Florida's two-point conversion with 3:10 left.

2022 schedule

The Gators will head to College Station for the second time in three seasons to face Texas A&M next year, the SEC announced Tuesday night.

September 3 – Utah 

September 10 – Kentucky 

September 17 – South Florida

September 24 – At Tennessee

October 1 – Eastern Washington

October 8 – Missouri 

October 15 – LSU 

October 22 – BYE

October 29 – vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)

November 5 – At Texas A&M 

November 12 – South Carolina 

November 19 – At Vanderbilt 

November 26 – At Florida State

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