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Florida head coach Dan Mullen, center, celebrates with players on the sidelines during the final moments of an NCAA college football game against LSU, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Mullen Excited for Saturday in the Swamp

“Home opener.”

Florida head football coach Dan Mullen kicked off his comments on the game this week with those two words.

“It’s exciting for us to get back in The Swamp and get in front of our fans,” Mullen said ahead of Saturday’s home opener against the UT-Martin Skyhawks.

AP Photo/Phil Sandlin
George Edmondson, also known as “Mr. Two Bits” acknowledges the roar of the crowd before the Kentucky Florida NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fl, Saturday, Oct., 25, 2008. George, who is 86 years old and has been leading the Florida fans in cheers before games since 1949 will retire this fall. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Despite the uncertainty of Hurricane Dorian, Mullen assured that Gainesville’s weekend would be full of excitement ahead of Saturday’s game. Ahead of Saturday’s game, a tribute will be made to the late Mr. Two Bits, formally known as George Edmondson. Edmondson, a staple at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, passed away in July.

 

Behind the bye

Coming off of their wayward win against Miami, which was originally slated for August 31st, the Gators were gifted with a bye week much earlier in the season than usual.

As a result, Mullen and his coaching staff formatted last week’s practices to resemble pre-season camp. While Mullen certainly addressed issues from the Miami game, he used the majority of last week tying up any loose ends from fall camp.

Last week’s practices allowed the Gators to focus more on individual drills and other fundamentals before shifting focus to UT-Martin.

The next time the Gators have a bye week comes in late October after a seven week stretch of games.

Scheduling is something… isn’t it?

“There’s not always a lot of teams jumping up and down to play us,” Mullen said when asked about his philosophy on scheduling.

The conversation likely arose due to the fact that Mullen’s Gators dropped three spots to number 11 in this week’s AP poll — despite their win over Miami.

As for the teams that leap-frogged the Gators, Texas checks in at number 9 after thumping Louisiana Tech 45-14 and Notre Dame climbs to number 8 after toppling the Louisville Cardinals, who were 2-10 last season.

Given this, it’s no surprise Mullen questioned the currency playing tougher opponents and what it really does for a team.

Opinions are like…

You can finish that heading however you see fit. Nonetheless, Mullen continuously stresses the importance of blocking out outside noise; especially if your name is Feleipe Franks.

While quarterback Feleipe Franks is no stranger to criticism, some were especially critical of the redshirt junior’s performance and antics during the Miami game. However, coach Mullen has told his quarterback time and time again to be deaf to the critics.

However, Mullen also pointed out the importance in deciphering whose criticism is important.

“If I’m criticizing you or coach Johnson is criticizing you, you need to worry about that criticism,” Mullen cracked.

Sights set on Skyhawks

Everything else aside, Mullen and his team are focused on what’s ahead; a Saturday showdown in The Swamp. The Gators will kickoff their home-field debut against the University of Tennessee at Martin this Saturday night at 7:30.

About Ainslie Lee

Ainslie is a journalism major at the University of Florida where she specializes in Sports Media. Her main passion is college football as it was a huge part of her childhood. Ainslie serves as a current correspondent for the Ocala Star-Banner, a newspaper for the Ocala, Florida area. She currently covers Marion County high school sports.

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