There has been quite a lot of change for the Florida Gators over the last few years. We’ve gotten a new athletic director, a new head football coach, a new locker room, and now, a new quarterback, following the loss of Feleipe Franks due to a season ending injury. With so much change, it’s nice to know that some things stay the same, like beating Tennessee, and a weekly press conference with Dan Mullen.
As per his usual, Mullen led off with a quick injury update. Feleipe Franks underwent surgery to repair his ankle on Monday morning and everything went well. CJ Henderson and Jabari Zuniga will be gametime decisions, meaning they are trending in the right direction. Meanwhile, Kadarius Toney remains unable to practice.
Mullen and the Gators will face Towson this week, but many among the fans and media are already looking ahead to the top 10 homecoming matchup versus Auburn, a week from Saturday. The first question Mullen fielded was in regard to the team’s focus and not looking past Towson.
“The focus… the key to the game, the key to anything, we talked to the team this week… obviously there will be a lot more hype on next week’s game. You know, national hype. It’ll be the CBS game of the week. But for us to even have an opportunity to win that game, we’ve got to improve this week. It’s one of those things. You look at the steps we took… I thought we took some really good steps. I thought we played a lot better against Tennessee than we had in the previous weeks. That had a lot to do with because we practiced better that week. You know, we took care… our scout teams executed a little bit cleaner, offense and defense finished plays of practice a little bit better. I thought we did an amazing job with our Friday night and early Saturday morning, even though it was a quick turnaround, the preparation going into the game. Guys really honing in on their routine and getting ready to perform on a Saturday. If we don’t continue to take a step forward with that this week, it’ll show. And it’ll show not just this week, it’ll show the next week, the week after that, the week after that as you continue to move forward. So that’s the message for the guys. We have great goals for the season, for the team and they all include continually improving from one week to the next. And that’s got to be the focus.”
With Towson up next, Mullen took the opportunity to explain what kind of opponent the Gators will be facing.
“They’re a very good football team, when you look at them, and obviously play in one of the best conferences in their division. You know, Colonial Athletic Association, I mean, got a lot of great football teams and a lot of depth. Probably, really similar to the… probably SEC with the depth that their conference has, of great football teams. They’re a top ten nationally ranked team. When you look at them, very very sound football team. Solid football team, back-to-front.”
With Franks’ surgery taken place Monday morning, before the press conference, Mullen was asked if he had spoken with him since his surgery. With what could have been a weighty subject, Mullen managed to add some brevity with his response.
“No. He would be like, ‘heyaaughwobeb,” referencing his quarterback’s post-anaesthesia state. He did clarify that he would be speaking with him Monday evening when he would be more coherent.
Jonathan Greenard has become an instant star since transferring to Gainesville this summer. Mullen talked about what he has done, since his arrival, to achieve that status.
“If you look at Jon’s personality, and he’s a worker, you know I mean, he’s gonna show up and he’s gonna go hard every single day. He goes hard at practice every day. He works hard in the weight room. So the minute he got on campus, he’s looked, and he’s worked his tail off. Right? So, if you have that personality where you’re gonna go work, I think guys respect that, on the team.”
Other topics that were addressed, included the future of Florida scheduling, some of Mullen’s favorite HBO programming, and his regular attire. The Gators will be looking to play more Power Five programs in their out of conference schedules, moving forward. Florida will be featured on a “Hard Knocks” style show by HBO, chronicling the team’s preparations. And Meghan did not pick out Dan’s clothing for the filming of the show.
Continue to follow Chomp Talk for all of the latest news and information regarding your Florida Gators! Coverage of Saturday’s game will begin on Thursday.