New Florida Gators head football coach Dan Mullen took the podium for the first time on Monday in his introductory press conference.
He talked about his excitement to accept a job at Florida and return to the school he once won two national titles at as an offensive coordinator.
Here is what he said:
• Mullen said he has a great responsibility to not only develop great football players, but to develop great young men.
• Mullen grew up a Florida Gators fan and was inspired by Steve Spurrier.
• “There is an unbelievable standard of excellence here at the University of Florida … I accept that.”
• Mullen said he is committed to getting this team back to national championship level.
• “I do know this—we will be the hardest playing team every single Saturday when we take the field.”
• Mullen said he and his wife were in a good situation at Mississippi State, but were ready to take on a new challenge.
• “I don’t know if there’s anywhere I’d rather be than here. I don’t know if there’s a better job in the country than this one.”
• Mullen’s first message to the players in today’s team meeting was about academics. He expects the best in the classroom from his student athletes.
• He told the players they better rest up in the month of December, because the new offseason conditioning program is going to be like something they’ve never experienced in their lives.
• “I don’t think there’s anyone in this room who loves scoring points more than me. I’ll put up 100. I’ll keep going.”
• Stricklin first reached out to Mullen on Friday. He told him he was not actively pursuing jobs, but the opportunity to coach at Florida is something that would interest him.
• Mullen said he did not have a chance to watch much film on Florida this season, but he thinks that is a good thing because he is not judging anyone beforehand. “Everyone has a clean slate to start over and show what they can be.”
• “Recruiting is the lifeblood of the program.” He said he and his staff have to do a great job of recruiting to get Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin caliber players back to Florida.
• “When you have that Gator on your chest, just about every player in the country wants to hear what you have to say.”
• Mullen said he does not have a prototype quarterback to fit into his offense.
• He wants a quarterback who has tremendous leadership and intelligence.
• Mullen said he learns the most about coaching quarterbacks from his quarterbacks than anyone else.
• A new staff likely won’t be finalized until after the New Year, because recruiting takes precedence right now.
• Open practices will be based on the time of year it is. He expects practices to be open in the spring.
• Freshmen will be allowed to speak to the media once they have played in a game.
• Mullen said if his wife did not pick Florida, they would not be at Florida. “Those decisions come from the top down.”
• Mullen said discipline is very important to him. Along with that, he said he thinks people often forget college football players are 18-22 year olds, and that everyone makes mistakes around that time in their lives.
• Mullen said it is unbelievable to have someone with the experience and knowledge Steve Spurrier has available to him, and he will use it.
• Mullen still has a great relationship with Tim Tebow. He said he is like a family member to him, and they would spend Thanksgivings together when he was at Florida.