Notes from Dan Mullen’s Pre-Spring Practice Press Conference

News and notes from Tuesdays Press Conference with Gators Coach Dan Mullen as we look ahead to Spring Practice starting this week.

  • Will expect speed of practice to be fast paced. Will be patient as they learn how things are going to be run to insure it is done right as they move forward.
  • Expectations of spring practice: Learn how to play hard – will expect players to always give 100% effort at all times. Learn basic concepts of offense and defense. Will start to set the bar with who will earn playing time.
  • Will work with the quarterback group a lot, as his position of comfort.
  • Have an offensive installation plan in place that will be pretty aggressive in terms of players learning the concepts quickly. Ex. learn basic shifts and motions to get idea of overall concepts of offense. Goal is to get them comfortable with the calls.
  • Evaluated a little bit of the current players to get a general idea of what they can do, but nothing in depth on individual players. Really doesn’t want to prejudge people.
  • Position changes – doesn’t expect players to change spots, but also noted that he doesn’t really know where they were in the past. Will put them where they think fits best regardless, so technically some could change.
  • Excited for fans to see the guys in pads and hope they’re excited for practices to start as well. Want to make sure they’re living up to all the other successful sports. Knows Gator fans are passionate about football especially.
  • What are the known factors of the team? Knows that the players are going to play hard and learn to be physical. Very confident in that. Believes players are buying in with no signs of resistance – showing up and working hard in the weight room, adding size, and looking to translate to hard practices.
  • Doesn’t want to get too excited or worried after spring practices – usually not as good or bad as it seems the moment after practice is over.
  • Notices the natural ‘hunger’ of all the players and excitement to get on the field together.
  • Plans to have open practices most years, at different times. Likes to get the fans involved and continue to build excitement (and help the reporters out, of course).
  • Hopes fans aren’t expecting TOO much in spring practice – jokes most guys will need to learn how to break the huddle.
  • Players have a lot of faith in Fileipe Franks (on getting voted onto team leadership council). Should show he is on the right path to doing things the right way when other players voted him in.
  • Asked about how much he has kept up with the Gators in past few years – admits he did not get to watch much of the specifics aside from seeing some scores, hasn’t really had to prepare for them while at Mississippi State, possibly in some crossover film studies he noted a couple things. Knows that the expectations are high at the program and that previous results are not good enough.
  •  Biggest takeaways from being in Gainesville previously, winning National Championships, working with Tebow, etc. – really just enjoyed his time here, being a part of the Gator family. Genuinely happy to be back and be here, notes the constant smile on his face is real and it makes him even more excited to be a part of the University again.
  • He and his wife are going to build a house in Gainesville – *jokes* needs a bigger space now with kids this time.
  • No true freshman really jump out as individuals, but overall has been pleased. Negative tend to jump out more than positives. Thinks he needs to be better at giving positive reinforcement. Benefit freshman have is that he was the one that recruited them, so already know his high standards from the day they met him.
  • Injuries: Malik Davis not playing, Kyree Campbell not playing, Brett Heggie out a little bit, Keivonnis Davis is also out and also notably back with the team after his suspension.
  • Recalls ‘punishing players’ by taking Gator gear away and the Gator Head. Will see which teams (internal mini teams) are doing well each week and which ones need more of a kick in the butt. Motivating is key and knows there are different ways to do that.
  • Wants players to learn what the Gator Standard is. Should always be asking, “did we do the best we could and are we being the best we could possibly be.”
  • Remembers recruiting a young and skinny Frankie Hammond (was asked about the experience working with him). Believes he has a great character and thinks Josh Hammond shows the same great characteristics.
  • Spring Practice is a chance to visit with recruits and see how things are run inside and out with the program. Won’t change who he is or his style when recruits are watching.
  • Aside from CeCe Jefferson moving from DE to OLB, notes that Polite, Zuniga, and Moon will also be tested there as well. Chatfield will have a opportunity when he gets on campus as well.
  • Amari Burney will start out at Safety, but has the size to potentially move into an inside linebacker body. A great athlete with natural skills to play everywhere and be flexible. Nickel-star position could also be in his future.
  • Thinks Justin Watkins might start at corner, but could change here and there as it already has. Wants Watkins to determine where he is most comfortable – has the ability to play both positions, but comfort will be key for him. Will likely need to let him get on the field. Corner is the latest flavor.
  • Chauncey Gardner is going to be more of a safety and possibly nickel.

And that’s that! See you all at practice on Friday.


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