I really don’t get it. What is Dan Mullen’s secret to the national press largely giving him a pass?
They did, and the Gators beat the Bulldogs 44-28 and won the East. If a late onside kick ricocheted differently, Florida may have upset Alabama and won the SEC. That team last season was loaded. It had a Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback, Kyle Trask, and the highest drafted tight end in NFL history, Kyle Pitts, who was selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Kadarius Toney, a human joystick at receiver, was taken 16 picks later by the New York Giants.
The season should have been viewed as an all-around success — a key step forward in Mullen’s rebuilding efforts. Four years after returning to Gainesville, he had led the program to within shouting distance of the College Football Playoff and had broken a drought of offensive skill players selected in the first round of the draft that dated back to Tim Tebow in 2010.
The “but” that follows isn’t how Florida still managed to lose four games last season with a loaded roster. It’s about Mullen showing his ass, which may reflect his personality, but has little to do with his ability as a coach. Maybe it’s all about projection, though.
“I continue to believe that his best coaching days are ahead of him,” Stricklin told the Sentinel.
A big reason for that is Mullen’s work at quarterback. Back in August, Mullen expressed overwhelming confidence in Emory Jones, who waited three years behind Franks and Trask to finally become the starter. Mullen went so far as to say he saw some of Lamar Jackson in Jones’ ability as a runner, invoking the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and 2019 NFL MVP.
But through two games, while Jones has run the ball well, he has been consistently inconsistent as a passer. Against Florida Atlantic and South Florida, his passing numbers were nearly identical: Each game he had a 63% completion rate, fewer than 200 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Yeah, that’ll get it done.
One thing they can’t take away from ol’ Dan: “But Mullen won big, leading State to its first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2014.” Well, technically speaking, I guess they can. MSU was No. 1 for exactly one week and wrapped up that season losing to Paul Johnson in a bowl game.
Maybe it’s the feels.
McGee, a former head coach himself, wishes people could see how the team responds to Mullen — how when it comes time to run extra laps after practice because someone missed a class, Mullen is right there running with them.
“That’s why players are like, ‘We have his back all the way,'” McGee says.
Like I said, I just don’t get it.