Florida head coach Dan Mullen, left, talks with wide receivers Kadarius Toney (1) and Jacob Copeland (15) during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, Pool)

Mullen, Gators shift focus to Texas A&M

After another high-scoring win, Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators are already turning their focus to their next opponent. This time it will be their toughest opponent of this young season: the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen yells to a referee about a missed call during an NCAA college football game against South Carolina in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP, Pool)

Improvements still to be made

In Week 1, the Todd Grantham-coordinated defense allowed the Ole Miss Rebels to post over 600 yards of total offense. Against South Carolina, the Gamecocks amassed 329 yards of total offense. Undoubtedly, this is a great increase for a defense that has been the backbone of the Florida Gators for years. However, there were certain areas that need improving

For one, South Carolina went 5/6 on fourth down. The only failed fourth down conversion came on South Carolina’s last offensive play, which helped to ice the 38-24 win.

In his press conference today, Dan Mullen said the biggest area for improvement on the defensive side of the ball is preventing fourth-and-short scenarios. South Carolina, like many other teams in the SEC, can take advantage of these short-yardage plays.

However, the offense also takes some of the blame for the closer-than-expected game. The offense must do a better job of staying on the field to allow the defense to catch a breath and prepare for their next drive.

The struggles of putting the game away appeared greatly after Florida went up 38 to 14. Dan Mullen says his Gators will not be a complete team until they can put games away on both sides of the ball.

Mullen called the entire second half “extremely disappointing” because of the way his offense became complacent with the ball.

The Gators need to focus on putting games away quickly as they have their toughest matchup of the 2020 season so far in Week 3.

Turning focus to the Aggies

Prior to week two, the Florida-Texas A&M matchup opened as the highlight matchup in the college football world. However, Alabama knocked off Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny stadium this weekend, and pushed the Aggies to No. 21 in the AP Poll.

Despite the losing to the Crimson Tide by 28, Jimbo Fisher’s squad still carries a deep lineup. Dan Mullen says this upcoming game poses the biggest threat for his Gators so far.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws a pass against South Carolina during an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP, Pool)

For the Gators, passing carried the offense to the two victories.

However, Mullen says the coaching staff enters the game looking to go 50/50 on rushing plays and throwing plays. So far, Dan Mullen and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson called 74 attempted throws to 53 attempted runs.

Despite the game plan calling for even distribution, Mullen will call plays based on what the opposing defense is showing.

Beyond that, the obvious concern for the Gators is defense.

Still, Mullen says that simply getting more game reps and getting into the flow of games will yield better results. He argues that success was evident against South Carolina, where their tackling greatly improved. This led to cutting their yards allowed almost in half between the Ole Miss Game and the South Carolina game.

It should be interesting to see if Grantham’s defense can continue this trend against a Texas A&M offense that looked lackluster against Vanderbilt and shut down against Alabama.

About Kyle Fansler

Originally from Seminole in the Tampa Bay area, Kyle is a contributor for ESPN Gainesville as well as local NPR and PBS affiliate WUFT. Kyle wants to get into sports with a lofty dream of being a sports broadcaster. He was raised playing soccer and baseball while watching hockey and football, so the knowledge about various sports is fairly extensive.

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