JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ten wins and a spot in a New Year’s six bowl. Not a bad start to the Dan Mullen era in Gainesville. This season the Florida Gators head coach will be expected to improve upon what his program did a year ago.
It’s a challenge he embraced while speaking with local media before meeting with the Gator club of Jacksonville on Wednesday evening.
“For me personally it doesn’t change,” said Mullen. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. I try to win all the time. We’re always putting pressure on ourselves to win. Outside of the program I’m not sure. That’s not something I pay a lot of attention to. Because last year there may not have been a lot of pressure to win from the outside. But there certainly was from my office. This year there’s going to be more pressure to win. Well not any more than last year or the year before coming from my office. So for us within the program I think we put a lot of pressure in ourselves. I would imagine there’s a lot more expectations from the Gator nation out there after the success last year and the direction the program is headed.”
Recruiting is the base for any successful football program. Florida has a handful of players from the Jacksonville area on their roster. Mullen would love to see more players from the First Coast make the short trip to Gainesville.
“If you’re a young kid growing up in Jacksonville I certainly hope that you would want to play at the University of Florida,” said Mullen. “You’ll be part of the Gator nation if you get that opportunity. It’s not just while you’re in college playing for Florida. It’s a life changing deal to be part of this University. You look at the Gator nation. There’s no stronger brand to Jacksonville than being a Florida Gator. So I think for the young men it’s not just when they’re playing but for the rest of the lives this would be really special.”
Recruits from all over the state of Florida have August 24th circled on their calendar. Florida will be playing Miami for the first time since 2013. The rivalry made this one of the most anticipated matchups of the 2019 college football. Now that the game has officially been moved up a week the game has been placed on an even higher pedestal.
“It was already a big game,” said Mullen. “Now it’s really the kickoff game of the 150th season of college football. So it’s such a special deal that the excitement around that game will certainly build as it gets closer. So that will be a lot of fun.”