As most of his players begin returning to campus for voluntary workouts head Florida football Coach Dan Mullen had a hard time containing his excitement.
Speaking with former NFL punter Pat McAfee on Wednesday, the host asked Mullen a slew of questions about how Mullen and the Gators have handled the COVID-19 pandemic, and the conversation gradually turned to football. McAfee asked Mullen if he expects his team to go undefeated this year.
“When I look at our schedule every year I assume we are,” Mullen said in response. “If I looked at it the other way and said, ‘Hey I don’t see us winning that game’ I guess I would tell the coaches, ‘Hey, why don’t you go home (this week)? We’re not going to win this game anyway.’”
A football team at the University of Florida has never finished undefeated. Mullen was quick to point out that he has two national championship rings from the University of Florida — which got quite a reaction from McAfee and his team — but that neither of those teams went undefeated.
“I’m not guaranteeing (going undefeated),” Mullen said. “I’ll be honest with you. I have two National Championship rings here at Florida and we didn’t go undefeated in either of those two seasons. We still won a National Championship.”
Mullen did the virtual interview while sitting in his office inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mullen mentioned that most of the Florida Gators will return to campus and begin voluntary workouts this Monday, June 8, but not the whole team. Some players have, for varying reasons, decided to stay at home at this point. While most of the team will be going through workouts with Nick Savage and the Gators’ conditioning staff in the weight room, all meetings will continue to be held virtually.
“(Some) guys are kind of in a routine at home and they feel comfortable with their settings and feel that they’ll be able to take care of themselves there. Even though we can come back and have voluntary workouts we’re still going to be in virtual meetings — Zoom meetings — that we’re going to be using,” Mullen said. “For us, hopefully, it continues to progress in that direction. I think anytime, there is so much change going on and change is very uncomfortable for people. That’s one thing that is hard. Change is uncomfortable for a lot of people and we’re changing, not the social aspect of everything but we’re changing football right now. We didn’t have spring practice. We’re not back as a team going through summer conditioning as a whole team together right now. It is going to be a great deal of change for us football-wise getting back together. When you handle everything that’s going on with Coronavirus right now its’ adversity you’re dealing with and an adversity that we hopefully attack head-on and that we get better with.”
Even with the chaos and uncertainty that has surrounded the offseason, Mullen continues to adapt and change the way he and his staff are operating and working with their team. He’s not short on confidence either.
The full interview can be watched below (interview with Mullen begins around 1:44).