The presence of Dan Mullen has created a buzz around Florida’s football program. Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut turned that buzz into the roar of 53,015 people.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen said he thought Saturday’s festivities were a success. He expressed what could be viewed as endless gratitude for the program and its supporters.
“To come out, and have a crowd the way we did and to get excited about it that’s going to motivate that team this summer,” Mullen said.
— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) April 15, 2018
All eyes were on quarterbacks Kyle Trask, Feleipe Franks and Emory Jones on Saturday. Trask got the start for Team Blue with his backup being Jake Allen while Franks took the game’s first snap for Team Orange while being backed up by lauded freshman Emory Jones.
The trio combined for 388 yards through the air, an average completion percentage of 56 percent and four touchdowns to just one interception.
Although 112 of those yards and two of those touchdowns were not to current Florida scholarship players, but to alumni as former Gators Travis McGriff and Lawrence Wright caught the TD passes to the delight of the crowd. They were two of hundreds of Gator football alumni that attended the event.
Franks’ production came on the ground where he totaled 63 yards and two touchdowns. Mullen said he’s seen that kind of running ability in Franks and he wants his quarterbacks to be willing runners.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) April 14, 2018
“I want to a lot more out of them moving forward,” Mullen said. “I saw some good things and I saw some missed, simple things.” The Gator coach also says he wants his quarterback to be game managers and do the things necessary to win games.
Mullen on quarterbacks being game managers:
Return of Familiar Faces
Now to those alumni TD strikes…both members of Florida’s first national championship football team. The first one was a 48-yard strike to the infamous Lawrence Wright from Kyle Trask:
— OnlyGators.com Florida Gators news (@onlygators) April 14, 2018
The next was a 60-yard bomb from Feleipe Franks to Florida’s all-time leader for receiving yards in a season, Travis McGriff.
Franks hits ex-#Gators standout Travis McGriff for a 60-yard TD pass, which is followed by McGriff getting a piggy-back ride from Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Spring Game, full bloom.
— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) April 14, 2018
Mullen said the play was supposed to be a trick play where former QB and teammate Doug Johnson would hit McGriff. He jokingly said that Franks was “padding his stats.” He said having those players on the sideline and involved in the game is another way to pass the traditions of the Gator Nation and connect older fans with younger ones.
Expectations and Having Fun
Mullen pointed out the success of the alumni he had on the sideline and preached once again on what he calls the “Gator Standard.”
“I’m competitive and I want to win,” he said. “But, we’re going to have fun.”
He said he hopes the fans “go all-in” on what it means to be in Gainesville and be a Gator. The Gators will now go all-in during the offseason and summer workouts before gearing up for the fall.
Junior linebacker David Reese said the summer will be taken to review schemes and learn them to the best of their abilities. And he says the strength and conditioning part of the program will also be stressed under new coordinator Nick Savage.
“I’m excited to see what Coach (Nick) Savage says about our team because he said he could usually tell a team’s record when they come out of the summer,” Reese said.
Mullen’s attendance expectations:
Mullen said it not just the players on the field, but the Gator Nation as a whole that goes into getting the program back to where it needs to be.