Notes from Dan Mullen’s April 2nd Press Conference – Spring Practice
Updates from Coach Mullen (video at the end)
- Big week coming up, moving practice from Tuesday to Wednesday.
- Next scrimmage will be on Saturday, have to keep improving as a team.
- Likes how the players are going at it – starting to understand expectations in regards to effort and energy.
- Tackling the learning curve very well overall and happy with progress.
- QBs were ‘okay’ in the scrimmage. They put a lot on their plate to see how they could handle it. Need them to all forget about the previous play and move onto the next, managing the game snap by snap.
- Regardless of what the previous play was you will always be judged by the next play. Need to learn this to be successful at the position (QB)
- Thought about making QB’s live in the redzone, maybe in the future, but would rather be cautious.
- Wants the QBs to focus on decision making – example, if you don’t make a good decision on 1st down, don’t force something on 2nd down. All QBs are young and don’t know Mullen’s style, so want them to focus on managing the game to put the offense in the best position. Get the team in the right play – mistakes need to be forgotten and take what the defense gives you regardless of what just happened before.
- Learning curve for all the QBs and they are clearly fighting through the human nature of the game. It was the first scrimmage, so you would expect some errors. Going to spend a lot of time on technique when looking at film.
- Franks is learning, was already int the film room looking at his mistakes. Wants Franks to lighten up some. Thinks he needs to better learn the situations; no matter how good things are going for you, you’re just one bad day from being out of it. Going to be a lot about managing the situations, but he is very hungry to learn more about the position.
- Thinks Lemons is an explosive player, but he needs to be able to execute on EVERY play, not just a handful. Never going to be successful until you learn to be an every down player. He’s a young player who needs to learn – not just about putting the ball in your hand and running.
- Never had a situation like Trask (never starting in HS), but have had some that didn’t start until their senior year like Brian Johnson or Nick Fitzgerald. His job is to play as hard as he can and improve to the best of his ability. The past is the past.
- No group really stood out to him as ‘impressive’ during the scrimmage.
- Felt the scrimmage was ‘herky jerky’ and kind of sloppy, on both side of the ball. Wants to see execution on both sides of the ball – really just wants cleaner football to be player.
- Was happy with how the players played – thinks they played hard and are giving the effort he expects of them. “If you go hard, we can teach you to play football”
- Thought the defense had good energy during the scrimmage, with some flashes by the offense. When things were good everyone had energy and when they weren’t going well it died some – wants to improve on that.
- Seemed like they were trying to ‘figure out the coaches’ rather than just going out and having fun.
- A bunch of defensive guys graded out – didn’t really want to name individuals. Thinks everyone made good plays and bad. Wants to improve consistency.
- Expects everyone to be able to make great plays, but needs the team to play well consistency.
- Felt Trask managed the game well outside of a tough interception. Did a good job communicating.
- Wants to grow from this practice and be able to break down certain play-calls for the QBs and explain why certain checks are made.
- The offense needed to learn with some adversity – a few drop balls, a few ‘would he have gotten that 1st down?’ calls, and overall just too ‘quiet’. Wants guys to want the ball in their hands no matter what is going on in the game – if you drop 3 passes don’t be shocked to still get the ball on the next play.
- Players need to get more personal confidence – thinks defense has good energy throughout, offense needs to develop more. To be expected at this point in season.
- QBs need the reps to be able to experience how to handle adversity that comes with good plays and bad plays. It’s never as good or as bad as you think, but always about moving forward. Make their standard to always perform at a high level regardless of what others are thinking or saying; self-evaluation through experience.
- Accolades are fine but they are a small piece of a big picture. Get away from the ‘superficial’ accolades and realize that the contributions to the team, that may go unnoticed, are more important.
- Thought we looked athletic rushing the passer in the scrimmage. Have some good depth at pass rush up front, need to develop those in the middle a bit more.
- Having multiple rushers is a huge advantage.
- Thought Clayton did well, player really hard. Has to learn to play hard ‘the right way’. Had good plays but also had some reckless ones to correct. Would still rather see the player go hard and make mistakes than not.
- Question about Grimes and Jefferson – if there’s a 4.3 student who can catch deep balls, we’ll take anyone! One of these days they will be with us, hopefully sooner than later. They’re working hard and hopefully they get rewarded with a chance to play.
- Cleveland is hopefully back doing stuff this week. Lingering hamstring injury from the past.
- Reps today are critical towards development for every player, even those maybe not playing in 2018. Making sure they get as much experience as they can. Might deplete performance depth in practice, but helps in the long-term.
- Thinks Moon is progressing well, especially being moved closer to the ball. Needs to learn to technically use his hands – thinks the position switch is comfortable and will be better for him.
- Efforts in recruiting in California – main focus, regardless of where they are, is all about going out and branding yourself. Thinks the attention says a lot about the program, school, and SEC. Staff and players are working hard, trying to catch up and stay 2 years ahead in recruiting. Feels like they still need to work hard to catch up with other schools/classes.
- Offensive line needs to improve its depth. Two guys down, so the trickle down effect of injuries can hurt when playing 3-deep. Consistency is the biggest problem – sometimes we look good and other times we’re crashing into each other and losing the team important yards.
- Hopefully can whittle down to 7-8 guys that you can trust and can solidify the unit to make it look a bit cleaner.
- RBs are running hard and he likes the depth of the unit. Not going to run the ball in scrimmage just because it’s a strength. Wants a balanced unit. Thinks RBs will be a major factor in the future as well.
That’s it for Mullen today – go Gators!