Mullen struggles, but Florida could have done a lot worse


Before we debate whether Dan Mullen would rather discuss recruiting or put a fork in his ear, let me offer a little perspective to the “Mullen Must Go” crowd.

Florida could have done a lot worse when looking for a coach in 2017.

That year arguably produced the worst recruiting crop in NCAA history. If it had been the Miss America pageant, almost all of the contestants would have ultimately gained 80 pounds and stopped shaving their armpits after securing the crown.

The SEC had five openings beyond Florida. Texas A&M’s $ 1 billion investment in Jimbo Fisher appears to be paying off. Arkansas hired Chad Morris, Ole Miss went with Matt Luke, Mississippi State took Joe Moorhead, and Tennessee hiked the aisle with Jeremy Pruitt.

All were fired, though Pruitt left a farewell gift of NCAA violations and threatens to throw a pile of dirt if Tennessee doesn’t pay its $ 13 million buyout.

As for the other big hires of 2017, Kevin Sumlin was fired by Arizona and Willie Taggart did not last two years at FSU. Chip Kelly is 15-25 at UCLA and is off to a good start. Scott Frost is 15-26 and all but one dud in Nebraska.

“There are no new answers,” he said after Purdue beat the Cornhuskers on Saturday.

Frost could have said that in Florida, since he and Kelly were on the Gators’ very short list of candidates to replace Jim McElwain.

The best hire of 2017 turned out to be Mario Cristobal. Oregon was lucky because he was on staff and available when Taggart fled for FSU.

None of this will or should reassure frustrated Gator fans. But as depressed as they were, things could have been a lot worse. Ask anyone in Tallahassee. …

Now about that opening question. The answer is “fork in the ear”.

Asked about recruiting during his Monday Zoom call with reporters, Mullen reacted as if he had been asked for his social security numbers, account numbers and computer password.

“We are in the season now,” he said. “We will be recruiting after the season, when the recruiting time comes, we can talk about recruiting. “

According to Kirby Smart and Nick Saban, it’s still recruiting time. Perhaps that is why they have so much more to say. …

Stallion of the week: Keep it vacant until the Braves win the World Series.

Dud of the week: Piotrek Muaboy. In a groundbreaking inter-gender MMA fight, the Polish MMA fighter who calls himself “165 centimeters of pure sex” defeated a woman named Ula Siekacz. At the risk of sounding biased, any man who fights against a woman should go through “165 centimeters of pure wimp”. …

With the World Series in Atlanta, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred endorsed the “Tomahawk chop” because a local group in Cherokee said he wasn’t offended by the gesture.

Coincidentally, last week, PETA officials called on MLB to stop using the term “lift pen” for “arm barn.” The animal rights group says the “bullpen” has “speciesist roots” and mocks cows held for slaughter.

Manfred rejected PETA’s request after local cows said they were not offended by the term. …

Music news: ABBA is releasing a new album on Friday, which brings us to this week’s trivia question. What event happened most recently:

ABBA broke up.

Georgia won a national championship

The Whig party won the presidency.

And yes, I think I better get into the cracks of the UGA National Championship while the graduation is still good. …

Statistics of the week: The FAU team beat UTEP 28-25 last Saturday. This dropped the miner’s record in the Eastern time zone to 0-26-1.

In related news, Florida’s record in the Eastern time zone fell to 0-1 when it gave up 21 points in 135 seconds. …

In a bold move to cut hot air emissions, delegates to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Monday approved a resolution that would force PETA officials to stop talking until 2079. …

Answer to the trivial question: ABBA separated in 1982.

The last Whig President was Millard Fillmore in 1853, who almost lived long enough to see the last Bulldogs National Championship. …

After Mullen’s performance on Monday, UF canceled all media interviews this week except for the SEC-mandated coach conference call on Wednesday.

I don’t know how the program changes the negative mood, but a bunker mentality is probably not the best approach. …

The NCAA slapped the USF with three years of probation last week for violations under ex-coach Charlie Strong. Six staff members who were not designated as field assistants were allowed to coach during practices.

USF administrators had warned of such shenanigans, but watches with radio headsets would alert staff members if compliance officers abandoned the practices.

Translation for UF fans who are hoping Strong returns as defensive coordinator next year: he’s now less fortunate than Jeremy Pruitt. …

True confession: Journalists are supposed to be objective, but I used to secretly cheer on Snake Stabler and I loved De Niro in “Raging Bull”. I hope that doesn’t make me a more mischievous closet. …

That’s about all the space we have for Whitley’s Believe It or Not this week. If you run into Dan Mullen at the grocery store this week, don’t ask him about strawberries. They are out of season.

– David Whitley is the sports columnist for the Gainesville Sun. Contact him at [email protected] And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWitley


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