“Didn’t they say that last year?”

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.

38 Comments

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38 responses to ““Didn’t they say that last year?”

  1. For Kirby to be able to take the approach he takes — directly drawing from Nick Saban’s demeanor in press conferences — he has to be or become Saban.

    Meanwhile, Mullen’s better for quotes and, therefore, better for journalists than Kirby is, as is Mike Leach. This means that the press slobbers all over them and their 8-4 seasons as if they are the second coming of Pop Warner himself.

    Liked by 8 people

    • rigger92

      Pretty much what I was thinking. CKS has built another Alabama and until the team get’s Alabama results from year to year it will be all too easy for the press to grab that low hanging fruit. To be fair, I think CKS is pretty much getting Alabama results, the post season is the only shortfall. Also, I would say that this season feels like a “restart” to Kirby’s program and I would call it another “year one”.

      Goofball down south is just a veteran coach that does things. That he gets a pass for losing 4 straight? I’d ask a reporter if they think that CKS would ever end a season like that. I sure as hell don’t see it.

      Liked by 7 people

      • RangerRuss

        Mostly agree. Kirby has taken the best aspects of Saban’s operation and incorporated them into UGA’s program. That’s simply good business. To say we are “another Alabama”?
        No.
        Hell no.
        FUCK NO!
        This is Georgia. Never to be confused with those hygienically challenged, ignorant sacks of shit. We are much more than just football. I’ll leave it at that.
        As for Mullen? Mike Griffith described the gators as a clown show and Sideshow Dan as head clown. Griffith is growing on me.
        Fuck those motherfuckers.

        Liked by 5 people

        • Down Island Way

          Be careful RR, that might be a foot fungus or a griffmold that’s growing on you, when somebody calls another a clown, that’s cause they be a clown too…

          Like

          • RangerRuss

            I’m an old Grunt that takes care of his LPCs (leather personnel carriers) and his wore out feet. Nothing growing on those dogs.
            Like it or not Mike Griffith has become one of the voices of the Dawgs. I liked it yesterday. He went off on Mullen and his circus. I’m still pissed off about that cheap, late hit on SBIV last year. Payback is gonna be a bitch.
            FTMF.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    May the reign of Mullen continue in the swampland to infinity and beyond.
    Pain is coming to the banks of san juan del rio!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Down Island Way

      Still believe that late contract extension still stings today for the FU hc, he swims in his own press B.S….handbag/state press wants so much to have a born again corch, digging up tebow images or low and behold, the second coming of the old ball sack that can entertain them, that’s what the national press will roll with…#FTMF

      Liked by 2 people

    • moe pritchett

      “San Juan Del Rio”

      Ya gotta say that with a Baja Georgia accent ya know. John Wayne style.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think back when he was in Starkville, being a fanboy for Dan Mullen was a way of signaling that you were a smart college football fan. Nick Saban was very quietly beating the rest of the sport into submission, but meanwhile you had this interesting story about the weirdo oc from Florida getting Miss St to a consistent 8-9 wins a year. Sure, he’s not winning titles but he’s elevating the program through his playcalling, or whatever.

    Add to that, he likes to run his mouth a lot at the podium. His pithy remarks help make the Egg Bowl one of the most interesting rivalries in cfb in that era and he earns the nickname Sideshow Dan.

    Now the homer media has been through several bad coaching hires at this point and they desperately want to believe Dan will bring them back to the glory days. They’ve unintentionally tefloned him from legitimate criticism, too; we’re constantly being told he coaches talent up but when he loses to the likes of Georgia or Bama we’re also being told, “but if he just had the talent he’d own those teams!”

    I still don’t get it either but it’s pretty damn funny.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. akascuba

    Mullen called last a great success. Hmm 8-4 at FU a great success here’s wishing you many more 8-4 seasons. Stricklin himself coming from MSU believes that’s pretty good too. Wonder how the Ole Ball Sack feels about it.

    The meme can’t die with so many pundits having bought in.
    Recruits know he’s a jerk. Given the talent in Florida and how bad FSU and UM are Mullen should be having top 3 classes every year. Must be his dancing that attracts those that commit.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. originaluglydawg

    Most sports journalists are just lazy. They pick up on a meme and live off of it as long as they can. A few of their favorites are that Mullen had State at number one: UGA hasn’t won it all since ’80, and Kirby doesn’t know how to handle QB’s. All are bullshit, but they get old Lazybones through his chore.
    Any amount of investigating and actual thought would put every one of these to rest.
    But that would take some effort.
    Most posters on GTP have better insight into what’s going on in the SEC than do the Bozos that are getting paid to write stories about it.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. Ran A

    If that’s what helps them sleep better at night. Oh wait, making sure his contract extension only had a $12MM buy out – that’s what helps them sleep better. Words are words, but money talks and the money says, if your goofy backside continues t do goofy things and make poor QB decisions (Franks vrs. Trask) and if you do not figure out how to recruit an OL – we’ll write you a check and you can go be JAX’S OC.

    With that said, he has them kind of snookered. Even Andy Staples, who I think tries to keep his ‘homeroom’s’ out of his craft, has bought in a little more than he should. I was listening to him a couple of days ago and you can tell, he thinks Richardson might just take them to the promise land.

    Strange time in Gainesville… I’m kind of enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. californiadawg

    He’s been a HC for 11 years. He’s never won the SEC. He’s never had a team close to a Natty. Meanwhile Kirby did both in year two, and holds a 4-1 record against Mullen.

    Yet Sideshow is the better coach and developer of talent because he’s a mediocre recruiter which forces him to get more out of his players and 2020 proves he’s better even though our QB situation was an injury-plagued stage five shitshow and he went on to lose his final four games? Make it make sense.

    I wonder if the media favors Darth Vader because his off-field clownery brings in more clicks than a more focused and business-minded coach like Kirby.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cali, your first paragraph perfectly encapsulates all this hypocrisy bullshit…if dopey the dipshit clown starts winning SEC championships, then you can pontificate about how good he is among his “betters” that have won the conference championship and/or national championships…until then shut the fuck up. He’s not comparable.

      Liked by 3 people

    • TEXBaller

      0-10 v. Bama all-time is Cool Dan. 0-11 after tomorrow with many questioning Florida’s future.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    “That team last season was loaded”.

    By that measure, the fact they lost 4 games should be considered a coaching failure.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    Mullen is right there running with them, ergo they have his back? Huh?
    Garrick McGee’s point of reference is Bobby Petrino, so maybe Crabby Dan is tolerable by comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This video still comes to mind when I think about the Handbag in Charge:

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2024)

    The Myth of Sideshow Dan the Clown persists because it must.

    The media does not give up its favored narratives lightly.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. biggusrickus

    In three years, Mullen has made their offense better and their defense worse than when he arrived and has actually accomplished less than McElwain in a couple of respects. He hasn’t had a faceplant year, and he probably won’t, but singing the praises of last season, when their claims to fame were beating a depleted Georgia team and staying within 6 of Alabama while losing three other games, is weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ASEF

    Dabo got the same kind of adoring press before he got successful enough for media types to take a looooooong look. And then the “cute idiosyncrasies” suddenly snapped into focus: asshole.

    And the other part of it is the necessity for a divisional foil. How hard did the press build up Les at LSU as a running counter to Saban? Then Malzahn? Then Eddie-Eaux?

    Conceding the SEC-E in week 2 ain’t going to generate any clicks, especially in Florida. So Dan gets puffed up.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. 3rdandGrantham

    Last year was supposed to be Mullen’s equivalent of our 2017 season. They had a senior laden team with a high-profile QB and playmakers. Literally everything fell into place for them last year, including facing a UGA team with a starting a QB who was 3rd string at best in the preseason.

    In the end, Florida ends up with an 8-4 record and really nothing to show for it. Overall, a huge disappointment in the end. And yet Dan is giving a mulligan anyway it is continued to be praised as a great coach, all while Kirby is impugned for doing less with more.

    Kirby already has more wins against ranked teams on his resume in just over 5 years then Richt accomplished in 15 years. Kirby also has the third most wins as coach during that period as well. Oh, he’s also 8-1 combined against Mullen, Riley, Swinney, and Kelly…yet you will never hear any of this from pundits or certainly not from other fans, as they are too busy propping up someone whose best season was basically equivalent to a typical Jim Donnan season here.

    I don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TEXBaller

      I like how you threw in the Richt comparison. Its me, you and JCDawg v. the world!

      Like

      • Guess what? You can respect what Richt did during his time at Georgia while at the same time believing Kirby has elevated the program. 3&G has never accused Richt of being a con man. JC’s comments have been personal and taken shots at the former coach’s integrity. If you want him to be part of your cabal, feel free.

        Liked by 3 people

        • 3rdandGrantham

          This is correct – I have all the respect and admiration for CMR in the world. He certainly had his shortcomings, then again pretty much every coach did in some capacity also.

          I do, however, respectfully disagree with people who have tried to compare Kirby with CMR. I honestly don’t feel there’s much of a comparison, has Kirby without question has elevated the UGA program to consistent new heights.

          Like

          • I think it’s appropriate to compare Richt’s last few years to Kirby’s first few years. Richt did exactly what Kirby did through his first few years. He elevated the program beyond what Goff and Donnan did. Kirby has done the same with the program he inherited from Richt.

            The fact that a lot of people either can’t see that or refuse to see it drives me nuts.

            Like

          • Ran A

            Kirby and Mullen is the correct comparison. With one being all class and other being about as classless as they come.

            Liked by 1 person

  15. MGW

    Probably because Florida has sucked for so long now that they’ve become the underdog.

    Like

    • MGW

      Now, why Lincoln Riley gets a pass is an far greater curiosity for me. Maybe because maintaining a high level program in the Big 12 helps ensure the SEC gets two teams in the playoff less frequently (even if he never can win the big one in spite of a pair of heisman winners)?

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Castleberry

    Staples was mentioning Mullen for the USC job on their latest podcast. I’d hate to see that. I’m fine with him right where he is.

    Liked by 4 people

    • stoopnagle

      Yeah, I read that too and thought it was curious because it came after a lot of comments about how USC needs a good recruiter to fight off Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State from taking the SoCal players. Mullen ain’t that guy, but I guess Jimmy Sexton has to earn his money.

      Like

  17. archiecreek

    MuLLLet running laps with players after practice?????
    does it have anything to do with his undisciplined player throwing a shoe during an SEC game and embarrassing the ditch lizard college???
    Asking for a gump corch.

    BIG SMILE!

    Liked by 1 person

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Yep. How does running laps with the players help? Does anyone think it would’ve made Saban, Bryant, Lombardi, Walsh, or John Wooden, etc., etc. better coaches? The crazy ship some writers come up with…

      Like

  18. uga97

    If Jones starts hr will be pulled out by halftime. They can’t afford to let it get too far out of hand. But Grantham.

    Like

  19. Munsoning

    My take: certain sports media doofuses pretend Mullen can coach because Flurdah is the closest thing Georgia has to competition for the SEC East crown. The narrative is better if Kirby has a rival or nemesis in the East.

    Like