Behind the Numbers: Florida Gators Head Coach Dan Mullen

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.


Season Comparison

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
41st Offensive Explosiveness 109th
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
39th Scoring Offense 109th
25th Opponent Punt Return Yardage 107th
33rd Punt Return Yardage 115th
18th Opponent Kick Return Yardage 128th


Miscellaneous Numbers

  • 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.


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Daniel Thompson
Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan oversees the IT consulting practice of a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, bourbon, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan can be found on Twitter at @DK_Thompson.