ORLANDO — Dan Mullen wrapped up his pre-spring football camp speaking tour in Orlando on Wednesday night.
He spoke to the boosters in Gainesville right after announcing his signing class in February. Monday night he was in Jacksonville to speak with the UF Alumni Association and Gator boosters and Tuesday he did the same in Tampa.
The purpose of these in the past has been to go out build excitement, collect donations, and speak with fans throughout your home state. Previous coaches have had opinions on how many meetings they should have to go to, or if they should have to go to them at all.
Mullen says he enjoys going to them and offered an explanation as to why.
“It’s great. I’m going to expect on April 14th (the Orange and Blue game) everyone of these people showing up in The Swamp supporting us,” he said of the booster group he was about to speak to. “So I’m going to thank them for all the support they always give us. It’s great for me to get out, they get to come see me, we get to visit them. We’re always asking people, we need you to come support the team, we need you in Gainesville, we need you supporting us. So I wanted to make sure we come out and personally thank them for all the support they’re giving us.”
There are strings attached. Mullen knows that the Gator Nation is strong. He experienced that through the joy of winning to national championships during his last stop in Gainesville. He experienced it in 2007 when scoring 30 points a game but faced wrath when the winning margin wasn’t big enough.
He knows the passion of the Gator Nation and, from afar, he’s seen that it isn’t quite the same as it was his last go around. That’s where he wants something in return from the fans. He wants that in return from the fans. At each stop Mullen has asked those in attended to show up to The Swamp and make it one of the best atmospheres
“I’m going to talk to different student groups and different organizations,” he began. “Going over to fraternity houses, going over to the sorority houses — even more important the sorority houses. I mean, if I want all the guys to show up, if I can get the girls to show up…. Hey, all the sororities are going to the spring game, well that answers the fraternity question.”
Mullen has a plan for the football team. At each stop he’s told those gathered that there isn’t anyone in the room that wants to win more than he does. That there isn’t anyone in the room that loves scoring more points than he does. That’s his job. He’s taking on the responsibility of fixing an offense that has been broken since he left for Mississippi State. The fans can’t score points for the team but they still have a role.
Mullen is making it clear to every fan that they need to play their role because it is intrinsically tied in with the team.
“We want to get back to being a championship program. That’s going to take all of us. Every single person has a role to do to bringing us back to being a championship team. Whether you’re the starting quarterback or the person screaming on third down in the swamp creating a hostile environment for opposing teams. We gotta pack the Swamp every Saturday in the fall and bring it back to being the most intimidating environment in college football.”