Chomped From Inside

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Steve Spurrier created the Gator Standard, Urban Meyer exemplified this standard by taking the program to new heights, and after two failed coaching hires, and numerous embarrassing losses; Dan Mullen was the man hired to awaken the sleeping giant.

Year one under Mullen saw a quicker turnaround than any realistic fan could have expected (and could’ve asked for). Bad losses occurred, and red flags appeared, but they were excused due to the upward trajectory of the program in only one season.

Fast forward to year four, the bad losses and red flags remain; this time, Mullen has run out of excuses. I am no insider, and don’t claim to have any secret knowledge inside the University of Florida’s football program, but several things have made me scratch my head.

Mullen’s ego is disproportionate to his on-field accomplishments. What big game has he won? He has been extremely close twice versus Alabama but lost at both contests.

I would think he’d carry himself with a chip on his shoulder, but quite the contrary. Dan Mullen refuses to hold himself to the Gator Standard.

He does not hold himself accountable! After his second loss to Kentucky in four years, being the first Florida coach since Doug Dickey to lose multiple games to Kentucky (for reference on how long ago that was: Jimmy Carter was President), Mullen snapped at a reporter who asked if felt outcoached tonight.

Mullen’s quoted, “NO! But 382 yards, I guess that sputtering. I don’t know. We had 382. They had 211 yards. I wouldn’t think that would be the case. I think guys did some pretty good things right there, moving up and down. I think we got to really look at the penalties that we have and how to get ourselves in better situations that way. I got to do a better job coaching up the PAT/field goal group. They’re a physical group. We outrushed them. We outpassed. We out total gained them. The time of possession, we were better on third down.”

BUT COACH, AT THE END OF THE GAME, YOU DIDN’T OUT SCORE THEM! SOUNDS PRETTY OUTCOACHED TO ME!

Mullen has also refused to make changes to his coaching staff. He has selectively neglected staff incompetence, especially in recruiting SEC-level talent.

He has yet to win a game as an underdog in his tenure at Florida. Fans will calm down and Florida will finish the season with eight or nine wins. Dan Mullen isn’t going anywhere soon.

I am not one of those calmed down fans. The stench from the Gators’ loss to Kentucky is lingering like burnt popcorn after the worst movie ever. Another loss like the last one and noise will build in the program for an exit.

Mullen will be a name next to Zook, Muschamp and McElwain, and be another coach that can’t return Gainesville to glory.

Let’s not forget that most Gator fans (and I) are already miffed with him for not starting Anthony Richardson.

If Mullen wants to win championships, he is going to have to change.

First, he will have to make significant changes to his coaching staff. Next, he is going to have to give a Damn about recruiting. Finally, he is going to have to hold himself to the Gator Standard.

Mullen has steadied the program, and now, can he take them up to the next level?

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