Mullen clarifies recruiting comments, decision to cancel media for Florida players

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
View Comments

Florida coach Dan Mullen has been criticized nationally for his recruiting comments Monday, as well as his decision to make players unavailable to the media. 

Before taking questions on Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference, the only additional availability for UF reporters this week, Mullen made an opening statement to provide some clarity.

“First, I’d like to touch on something for all the Gator Nation and all our great fans, something that was taken out of context in Monday’s press conference. As it pertains to recruiting, our staff recruits nonstop. We grind at recruiting all day every day,” Mullen said. 

Whitley's Believe It Or Not: Down on Dan? The Gators could have done a lot worse

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

More:Pierce: Gators can't let mistakes, lack of execution carry over into final third of season

How much does Mullen make?:College Football Head Coach Salaries

“We're always recruiting and working the best to get great players that fit the Gator Standard and bring them here to our program. As I said on Monday, we just weren't going to get into the specifics of everything we do in recruiting and how we do all of that until after the season.”

Mullen’s biggest priority right now is getting his Gators to rebound from a 4-4 start and losses in three of their last four games. After a team meeting Monday morning, Mullen said he called off this week’s media sessions so the players could focus on football and preparing for the South Carolina game. 

“There were some people that were concerned about our player availability,” Mullen said. “The focus of which we have to take and the approach we need to take in the final third of the season,  I felt that the best for our players is to make sure our focus is completely on the work that we have to do.” 

Dan Mullen says players have responded in terms of fixing 'mindset'

Following the 34-7 loss to Georgia, Mullen mentioned his team’s “mindset” 16 times in his post-game presser and how he needed to get it fixed. He’s been pleased with the response from his players. 

“We’ve had unbelievable energy at practice this week with our guys. I think their focus has been fantastic,” Mullen said. “I don’t think there’s anybody pleased with exactly where we stand at this point of the season. But there’s also guys who understand there’s a lot more football to be played and opportunities to get us where we want to be moving forward, which is finding a way to win a game on Saturday. So I think it’s been a really good week of practice for us.”

Aside from last Saturday, the Gators’ other three losses have all been decided by one score. Different issues cost them the game each time, be it penalties, special teams mistakes, turnovers or tackling woes. 

Mullen believes a couple of factors can help improve the team’s mindset and lead to more consistent play. 

“There’s two aspects to me, which is expecting good things to happen to us and making plays,” Mullen said. “When bad things happen, they were really bad for us — and they were different bad things in each game. So part of it is, one, to eliminate the mistakes, which you want to do. The second part of it really is when something bad happens during the course of the game to put the brakes on. 

“Say, ‘Hey, we have the confidence whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams for guys to believe we’re going to step up and go make that play.’ And turn adversity to just a minor adversity, not into something major that has cost four losses on the season. I’m sure Saturday there will be some adversity during the course of the game. At that point, everybody dig in and we’re going to limit the adversity we face or limit the negativity of what happened on that play and get the momentum back in our favor as fast as possible.”

Mullen singled out multiple team leaders who have helped him instill that mindset this week: linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, safety Rashad Torrence II, defensive end Zach Carter, quarterback Emory Jones and Florida’s veteran running backs. 

UF quarterback Anthony Richardson has yet to practice after sustaining a concussion against Georgia, so Jones is expected to start at South Carolina. 

“Emory’s been able to come in and do things when we need him to do things,” Mullen said. “I think his demeanor amongst the team of people looking at him and how he’s able to continue to improve, continue to keep the right mindset with the team certainly helps a lot.” 

Saturday's game: Florida vs. South Carolina

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

When: 7:30 p.m. 

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

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

View Comments