Gators football: Dan Mullen wants Florida to lock in this week, calls off media sessions

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports

For the second time in three days, Florida coach Dan Mullen was asked to address the state of recruiting after losing his two top commits in late October. 

It was the first question he received during his Monday news conference, the team’s only media availability this week. 

“We’re in the season right now. We’ll do recruiting after the season,” Mullen said. “When it gets to recruiting time, we can talk about recruiting. Next question.”

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Of course, there’s not much to talk about right now with Florida’s 2022 class currently ranked No. 35 nationally by Rivals. Following the 34-7 loss to Georgia, Mullen was asked if the Gators are doing well enough in recruiting. 

“In recruiting? I don’t know, we just finished the game. It’s a game day today,” Mullen said Saturday. “Yeah, we have to continue to recruit harder, we have to continue to get better, we have to continue to get great players. 

“I think our guys recruit hard. We have to find guys that fit the Gator Standard and are excited to come play with the Gators and have guys that have that great energy and have that great desire to come play for the Gators.”

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UF announced Monday that there will be no media availability with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham or players this week. A program source told the Sun that Mullen wants his team to lock in and focus with all the outside noise. 

“We have to live in the reality world, not in the perception world. The noise is kind of the perception on the outside, a lot of it,” Mullen said. “These guys are 18, 19, 20 year old kids, a lot of them. So, they’re on social media all the time. They’re out there with their friends. I try to pay a little bit of attention. I don’t pay much attention to it, personally. 

“I’m focused on how we’re getting better, but I pay enough (attention) so that I know what our guys will have to deal with. But then we get back to the reality. Hey, ‘Here’s things we did well. Here’s things we did poorly. Here’s areas we need to improve in.’ We kind of live in that world to address things.”

Mullen offered no injury updates Monday and said “we’ll see” regarding quarterback Anthony Richardson’s status for the South Carolina game. Richardson made his first career start against Georgia, but took a hit to the head/neck area in the third quarter and did not return. 

Florida coach Dan Mullen, second from right, talks to players in front of the bench during the second half Saturday against Georgia in Jacksonville.

Mullen said his biggest concern right now is trying to beat the Gamecocks. Florida is 2-7 in its last nine games against Power 5 opponents, including losses in four of the past six games. 

“We gotta go find a way to win this week. Beating South Carolina, that would probably be the biggest concern right now. We’ve got a good South Carolina team, a night road game in the SEC. We gotta go win that game,” Mullen said. “I’m going to be in South Carolina next week and we’ll be there with a team that’s going to be ready to go compete. 

“Not a team that’s like, ‘OK, I guess there’s a game on the schedule, I guess we should get on a plane and drive up there and run out and stand on the sidelines for a couple hours until the game ends, you know?’ That ain't how it works. I guess I’ll look. If guys don’t want to compete, then we won’t bring them on the trip.”

Up next

Who: Florida (4-4, 2-4 SEC) vs. South Carolina (4-4, 1-4)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850