Mullen still has tricks up his sleeve as SEC play begins

The Gators have been one of the most potent offenses in the SEC and the country through the first two weeks of the season.

Their 609.5 total yards per game lead the SEC and are third nationally. Their 38.5 points per game rank within the top-40 nationally. They’re the nation’s best rushing team by more than 20 yards per game at 381.5.

Quarterbacks Anthony Richardson and Emory Jones are both in the top-10 in the league in rushing.

But coach Dan Mullen still has plenty of bullets left in the chamber. Because their first two games were against overmatched opponents that they could basically beat just by showing up, he was able to hold back on putting some of the more complicated aspects of his offense on film for SEC opponents to study.

He’s going to start reaching into his bag of tricks this Saturday against No. 1 Alabama.

“We’ve kept it pretty simple the first two weeks,” Mullen said. “I think as you go, the different personnel and utilizing different personnel in different ways is something we’ll look at throughout the course of the year that we get into.”

During the preseason, Mullen mentioned that they’ll utilize the depth they have at running back by playing multiple backs at the same time more than they did during his first three seasons at UF.

That hasn’t come to fruition yet. If they’ve played multiple running backs at the same time this season, they haven’t done much with that package. It’s hard to remember any specific plays where two of them were involved.

After the Gators’ win over South Florida on Saturday, Mullen made a passing comment about playing both Jones and Richardson at the same time moving forward. So far, that’s only happened on a Hail Mary attempt on the final play of the first half against Florida Atlantic.

“I have a responsibility to put everybody on the team in position to win, and there’s an awful lot that goes into that,” he said after the game. “I know everybody loves just looking at the two quarterbacks. There’s 10 other guys on the field until I put in our two-quarterback offense, which I haven’t shown yet. Then there’s only nine other guys on the field. When you look at those things, my job is to put us in the best position to win football games and develop this football program to be the best it can be. That’s what we’re doing.”

Everything has been building toward this week since UF lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in December. The Crimson Tide have ruled the college football world for the better part of the last 12 years, and the Gators want to announce their return to the mountaintop with an upset win.

The players, fans and apparently even the coaches have been looking forward to this game for about nine months. The Gators’ offense will throw things at Alabama that the Crimson Tide won’t be able to prepare for in practice this week.

The Gators have operated with only a small portion of their playbook available so far. That’s about to change.

“It’s most definitely a lot,” receiver Jacob Copeland said. “I feel like camp was the thing that showed everything for us. We [saw] what we had to see during camp. We came in, everybody is saying this and that about us in the first two games, but just know they haven’t seen everything.

“We haven’t showed so much because we’re like, ‘You can’t expose your hand like that before you see [Nick] Saban. He’ll build off that, and it’s over.’ I feel like now they don’t see too much. I feel like we’re going to come out at practice this week and execute well and just do what we do.”

Ethan was born in Gainesville and has lived in the Starke, Florida, area his entire life. He played basketball for five years and knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when he was in middle school. He’s attended countless Gators athletic events since his early childhood, with baseball being his favorite sport to attend. He’s a proud 2019 graduate of the University of Florida and a 2017 graduate of Santa Fe College. He interned with the University Athletic Association’s communications department for 1 ½ years as a student and has spent the last two football seasons writing for InsideTheGators.com. He is a long-suffering fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can follow him on Twitter @ehughes97.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I know I know everyone says he’s the “quarterback whisperer”, and he has done a great job in the past, but he is the same guy that kept Kyle “Heisman Finalist” Trask on the bench behind Felipe!!! Trask only got to play because of Felipe’s injury!!! How could he not see that Trask was 10 times better than Felipe!!! I think he is blinded by loyalty!!! If AR is healthy and he continues to start Emory, he is Kirby Smart 2.0, remember Justin Fields on the bench while Kirby stayed with Fromm!!!!! How did that work out????

    • Drjlopez- you can’t just disregard his developing of Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and did Kyle Trask. Also, who do you think developed Franks? Franks is in the league right now as a quarterback because of coach Mullen. Please shut up and enjoy the ride. STOP COMPLAINING. Coach knows what he’s doing. You, however, have no clue abt developing quarterbacks.