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Chomp: Spring camp concludes, where does Mullen rank among coaches?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.


Hey, Gators fans!

Spring football practice has officially wrapped up, and you’ve got to feel good that Florida got in a full camp unlike last year.

This week, Gators Breakdown host David Waters and I take a look at where things stand with several positions coming out of camp and some other offseason notes.

And the season is over for Gators men’s basketball.

🏈 Mullen says Jones is QB1

Coach Dan Mullen spoke to the media one last time this spring and in that news conference, Mullen said he doesn’t really think about the quarterback position in terms of a starter.

“You would have to say yes,” Mullen said when asked if Emory Jones is the starting quarterback going into the offseason.

But Mullen also mentioned he doesn’t think about it that way because two quarterbacks need to be prepared to start.

👍 Running backs, linebackers impressed this spring

Mullen said he feels really good about the running backs and linebackers coming out of spring. That was expected for the running backs since the Gators can go five deep there with Dameon Pierce, Nay’Quan Wright, Malik Davis, Lorenzo Lingard and Demarkcus Bowman. Lingard had several big runs this spring.

It might come as a surprise that the linebackers were mentioned as a position Mullen was impressed with. Senior linebacker Ventrell Miller was held out this spring as he recovers from a shoulder injury. Two young linebackers, Ty’Ron Hopper and Derek Wingo, needed to step to provide depth behind Mohamoud Diabate and Amari Burney. If spring is any indication, Florida has some newfound depth there as both Hopper and Wingo made plays all spring. Hopper may have been the player of the spring.

In the latest episode of Gators Breakdown, David Waters is joined by Will Miles, with Read and Reaction, to review this spring and give their thoughts on key positions and players.

💨 Kyle Pitts showcases his speed

A video of tight end Kyle Pitts preparing for the NFL draft certainly has the internet talking.

While Florida’s Pro Day isn’t until March 31, the caption on the video says the John Mackey Award winner ran a 4.46 40-yard dash.

With that speed, News4Jax sports reporter and anchor Jamal St. Cyr says, it seems like Pitts is a lock to be a top-10 pick. Jamal even takes a look at whether the Jaguars should make moves to get the game-changing tight end.

🤔 Where does Mullen rank among coaches?

It’s the offseason, so let’s debate who the best coaches are.

The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman recently released their lists of the top 25 college football coaches, and I found it interesting they had Mullen in different spots.

Unsurprisingly, they both had Nick Saban as No. 1. But Mandel had the Gators’ coach in his top 10, coming in at No. 9, while Feldman had Mullen seven spots lower at No. 16.

Mullen has two consecutive double-digit win seasons at Florida, but last year’s 8-4 season ended on a sour note with three straight losses. It’ll be interesting to see how the 2021 season will shape the perception of Mullen.

😔 No. 15 seed ends Florida’s NCAA tournament run

Following No. 7 seed Florida’s 75-70 overtime win over No. 10 seed Virginia Tech, the Gators crumbled to No. 15 seed Oral Roberts in the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The Golden Eagles, which upset No. 2 seed Ohio State in the first round, were able to overcome an 11-point deficit to defeat the Gators 81-78, denying Florida a trip to the Sweet 16.

The Gators had 20 turnovers in the end and they had only three made baskets over the last 9 ½ minutes. Florida slowed the tempo down -- a decision by coach Mike White that many fans have second-guessed. But White said he was worried about fatigue.

“We were tired. These guys get you in rotation. I was hoping slowing it down would help us make better decisions,” White said. “We made some erratic decisions. We made some passes that boy I wish we had back.”

Since the loss, sophomore Tre Mann has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft.

“I’d like to thank COACH WHITE and his STAFF at the University of Florida for believing in me and helping to shape me into the man and player I am today. Thank you to all my TEAMMATES who shared the Gator uniform with me for the last two seasons,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

The statement goes on to say: “To GATOR NATION, your love and support will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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About the Author:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.