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Dan Mullen soaked in being part of Gators family Saturday

Olivia Stacey

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

About six weeks after being hired, new Florida football coach Dan Mullen took center stage, or rather, center court during halftime of Saturday’s basketball game against Baylor.

In front of a crowd of 10,623 Saturday at the O’Connell Center, Mullen fired up fans about the future of Florida’s football program under the new coaching staff.

Here is some video of the new boss mugging with Dick Vitale of ESPN, hanging with “Rowdy Reptiles” student section and more:

“We are going to give you a football team, I promise you, that you can be proud of both on the field on Saturdays and in the community,” Mullen said. “Our guys are working their tails off right now to live up to what we know the Gator standard is.”

In front of an amped up crowd, Mullen promised to bring back a national title to Gainesville.

“That standard is not just SEC, but national championships,” Mullen told the crowd. “That’s what we promise we’re going to bring back to you here in the Swamp in Gainesville and put the Gators back on top as the most dominating team in the United States of America.”

Several top tier recruits, who the Gators are hosting this weekend, were in the stands on official visits. We wrote earlier in the week about the progress that Mullen and has staff have made, especially in re-establishing some firepower to the offense.

Mullen, who was hired to replace Jim McElwain, is a familiar face in Gainesville. He helped lead the Gators to two national championships earlier in the 2000’s, as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. So, he has credibility on that front.

Plus, he put together a successful nine year run in the SEC at Mississippi State that included his Dak Prescott team being unbeaten and ranked #1 in the country in October of 2014. They eventually finished that season 10-3.

It was a successful P.R. Saturday all the way around, as the Gators hoop team ranked 20th, went on to wipe out Baylor, 81-60.

Olivia is a multi-faceted sports reporter based in Tampa Bay where she has covered events from the College Football National Championship to the Stanley Cup Final. A native Floridian, she grew up rooting for Tampa’s sports teams, and graduated from East Lake High in Tarpon Springs. Olivia continued her education at the University of Florida where she received her broadcast journalism degree.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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