Dan Mullen’s days in Gainesville appear to be numbered. Shifting gears away from Tennessee for a minute, this is a huge storyline we’ll be paying attention to as the season wraps up — can Mullen salvage his job at Florida? Does Florida even want him to do that at this point?
Really since the end of last year, things have been weird with Mullen and Florida. In fact, Mullen’s name was tossed around in NFL circles during last season’s hiring cycle. Now for a few weeks, the hot seat talk surrounding Mullen has really ramped up.
Florida sits at 4-4, fresh off of a blowout loss to Georgia. Getting blown out by Georgia is something a lot of teams will do in 2021, but means more in this situation with Mullen going through year four at Florida. Your main competition just crushed you, and your program appears to be on the downward trend when it should be peaking.
The on-field performance only adds to the questions surrounding Mullen. His recruiting has always been a major question, and it’s pretty clear that he’s never going to be able to hang with Kirby Smart and Nick Saban on the trail. The Gators have the 22nd ranked class in the 2022 cycle, per 247Sports — more evidence that Mullen can’t recruit at an elite level.
Culture issues have now come to the surface, and you’re seeing more and more stuff like the below piece from Bruce Feldman weekly.
“They play with zero discipline. They don’t play hard.” Florida is 2-7 in its last 9 games against Power 5 opponents. What the heck is up with the Gators? We talked to almost a dozen coaches in the SEC to find out: https://t.co/woCvrhDJO9— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 1, 2021
Florida does have a soft finish to the schedule and should be favored in each of their next four games (South Carolina, Samford, Missouri, Florida State). Does 8-4 get him anywhere though? Perception is probably a big factor here — his Gators can’t just go squeak by a few of the worst teams in the power five to close the season. If Florida slips up at all in the next four weeks, that could be the nail in the coffin.
Either way, the relationship between Mullen and Florida seems to have deteriorated. Both sides might benefit from a breakup here. The question is, is the timing right? Both USC and LSU already have openings that will undoubtedly pull a couple of big names off of the board immediately. Could it be a situation where Florida gives him another year and forces him to make staff changes? That’s certainly a possibility, too.
Let’s see what happens.