New Location, Different Colors, Same Swag
For the 10th consecutive year, Dan Mullen stepped onto the podium at SEC Media Days. However, his first while donning the Orange and Blue. Mullen gracefully mentioned his excitement and honorably of being the new head coach at the University of Florida.
“It’s great to be back at SEC Media Days, going into year 10 for me. It’s all new. We have a new city, a new location for this which is fantastic, I’m at a new school, got new swagged out shoes for everybody. It’s exciting to be back. It’s exciting to get the season kicked off and to get football rolling and get ourselves into the fall. I am very honored and thrilled to be the head coach at the University of Florida,” Mullen said during his opening remarks.
Since participating in Media Days, Mullen’s frequently created waves with his shoe choice. Yet again, Mullen’s fashion statement appeared to steal the show this week, as Florida has switched to Jordan Brand for this football season. Normally rocking the Yeezy kicks during his days at Mississippi State, Mullen unveiled his new “swag” shoes, wearing customized Jordan IV Orange and Blue shoes.
The Gator Standard
Coach Mullen reiterated many times at SEC Media Days, and since arriving in Gainesville, his priority is getting the football program back to the Gator standard and achieving excellence. Winning championships and building a consistently talented team is the goal for his Gators.
“When I took over the program, there are two aspects to it. There’s this year’s team and there’s the program as a whole. Our goal for this year’s team is to get back here (Atlanta) the first week of December and compete for an SEC Championship. That’s our goal with this year’s team. We also have a goal to build the program to be a consistent championship contender. We are consistently working to do it. Certainly, our goal is to find a way to compete for a championship and get back here in December,” Mullen said Tuesday.
Florida returns 19 starters from a season ago, only Kansas has more in the FBS. Mullen has all the tools and experience to quickly bring the sleeping giant back to the national stage. His mission starts with relentless effort.
“One of the things I think if you always see our teams play is that we will always start with our guys is relentless effort. That’s one thing I want from our players. That is one thing we can control every day is the effort in which our guys go out and attack the weight training session, the effort they attack the training table, how they eat, their health and the effort they put into their studies, the effort they put into preparation, and the effort they put into playing in The Swamp and representing the Gator nation everywhere,” Mullen said.
Will Dan Mullen’s offense mirror his offenses from Mississippi State?
Florida has a plethora of talent on the offensive side of the ball, especially when focusing on playmakers. The running back room is five deep and arguably one of the most talented in the SEC and the receiving core is filled with talent with the additions of Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson to help Tyrie Cleveland.
The biggest question amongst fans and media is how Mullen’s offense will look compared to his stint in Starkville. That question was answered Tuesday in Atlanta.
“I have been pleased with the work they’ve (Franks, Jones, Trask) put in and they’ve handled it. We won’t change our philosophy, we will change things we do. One of the first meetings with the quarterbacks, I wanted to sit down and say, ‘You may have watched Mississippi State film from last year, that’s not the exact offense we’re going to run. We’re going to put you in a position to be successful.’ One thing I wanted to do in the spring was, we’re going to put a lot of different things in and we’re going to throw a lot of different things at you. I want you to go as hard as you can, I don’t care if you’re good at it or not good at it. You do it and at the end of the spring we’re going to evaluate what you do well and moving forward we’re going to put you in a position to be successful. That really changed the mindsets of the quarterbacks in the room,” Mullen said.
Mullen is known to be an excellent developer of quarterbacks, from pocket passers to running quarterbacks, his philosophy evaluation has helped produce successful quarterbacks. This season he’ll have to make a decision between Feliepe Franks, Emory Jones, and Kyle Trask. Each bring a different skill set to the table; the success of Florida’s offense will come through the adaptions Mullen makes in this offense to fit his quarterback’s strengths. As fall camp approaches, this quarterback race remains wide open and Florida won’t know until game one, or even further into the season, who will be there quarterback. Mullen’s ability to focus the offense around his quarterbacks should provide excitement for Gators fans.