There were four, nearly universal, senses on Sunday when the Florida Gators hired new head coach Dan Mullen.
There was a sense of relief that the process was done.
There was a sense of joy that it was familiar name and that he is known for offensive prowess and quarterback development.
There was a sense that the Gators settled on the familiar name rather than swing for bigger fences.
There was a sense of cautious optimism – something Florida hasn’t had in quite some time.
No, hiring Dan Mullen probably wasn’t the sexiest pick.
No, hiring Dan Mullen probably won’t make the Florida Gators immediate National Championship contenders.
No, Dan Mullen isn’t perfect.
And no, there is nothing wrong with that.
Hiring Dan Mullen was more than just hiring a coach – it was about hiring the right coach.
The right coach for Florida’s culture.
The right coach for Gainesville.
The right coach for filling in the missing pieces that have been missing for seven seasons.
And more importantly, the right coach wants to be here.
Chip Kelly did not want to be here.
Scott Frost did not want to be here.
Dan Mullen wants to be here.
And because of that reason, he is the right coach for Florida.
Now, let’s look at some numbers behind Dan Mullen’s nine years as Mississippi State University head coach.
But first, in Dan Mullen’s last season at Florida the Gators ranked sixth in the country in total offense – in the last seven seasons, they haven’t ranked better than 83rd.
Here are a few notable comparisons for Mullen’s Mississippi State Bulldogs and Jim McElwain’s Florida Gators.
|Mississippi State||Stat (National Rank)||Florida Gators|
|8th||3rd down Conversion Percentage (Offense)||116th|
|23rd||Yards Per Rush Attempt||58th|
|42nd||Percentage of Plays that Resulted in a First Down or Touchdown||112th|
|112th||Yards Per Pass Completion||96th|
|86th||Time (Seconds) Per Play||116th|
|25th||Opponent Punt Return Yardage||107th|
|33rd||Punt Return Yardage||115th|
|18th||Opponent Kick Return Yardage||128th|
- 19 games with more than a six-yard per play average over the last three seasons. (Florida had 10.)
- 11 games with over 70 offensive plays in 2017. (Florida had one.)
- Averaged 5.9 yards per play during his nine years at Mississippi State and 71.07 plays per game. Since Urban Meyer has left, the Gators have averaged 4.5 yards per play and 64.9 plays per game.
- Averaged fewer penalties per game and fewer penalty yards per game than Florida in all nine seasons.
- Despite only starting the season ranked once in nine seasons by the AP, his team ranked 20th or better in the rankings in seven seasons.