Florida football: Dan Mullen has built an Urban Meyer-like resume entering Georgia game

By Adam Silverstein
October 31, 2019
Florida football: Dan Mullen has built an Urban Meyer-like resume entering Georgia game
Football

In Year 2 as head coach of the Florida Gators, there is no question that Dan Mullen has turned the program around. What seemed to be a rudderless ship under the last regime and was a program treading water late under prior leadership appears to be moving forward in a consistently positive direction with Mullen at the helm.

And when a team like Florida has success under a new coach, the immediate reaction is to draw comparisons to prior men in that same job. This becomes particularly interesting in Mullen’s case considering he gained national relevance as a two-time national championship-winning offensive coordinator for the Gators under former head coach Urban Meyer.

When one looks at where Mullen stands compared to Meyer in the middle of Year 2, it is strikingly similar and undeniably impressive, especially considering where Florida was prior to Mullen taking over and what Meyer accomplished at the end of his second season.

Here is where Mullen stands compared to Meyer entering the Bulldogs game at the midway point of their second seasons. The Gators were coming off a loss at No. 11 Auburn in 2006, while they are two weeks removed from a defeat at No. 5 LSU in 2019.

Urban MeyerDan Mullen
Record15-4 (9-4 SEC)17-4 (9-4 SEC)
vs. Top 256-34-2
vs. Top 103-13-2
vs. Rivals5-15-1

Then consider that Meyer took over a 7-5 team with top-tier recruiting classes from Ron Zook and a tremendous defense under Charlie Strong. He had Chris Leak at the helm of the offense and brought in freshman impact playmakers Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. Mullen inherited a 4-7 team with slowing recruiting from Jim McElwain and one of the worst defenses in program history under Randy Shannon. He is winning with a backup quarterback in Kyle Trask (after losing starter Feleipe Franks to season-ending injury) and has gotten through the first half of the season with an extremely banged-up defense.

In short: What Mullen has already accomplished is even more impressive. The question is where Florida goes from here in 2019.

We already know what happened from this point forward under Meyer in 2006. Florida led Georgia 21-0 and forced five turnovers to hang on to a 21-14 win in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. It won close games over Vanderbilt, South Carolina and at Florida State in November before heading to the SEC Championship Game, where it defeated Arkansas 38-28. UF advanced as a one-loss team to the 2007 BCS Championship Game, eventually routing No. 1 Ohio State 41-14.

Do Mullen and the 2019 Gators have that same magic? If Florida does get by Georgia on Saturday in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, can it avoid a trap game in two weeks at Missouri or what would be a disastrous home loss to end the regular season at home against Florida State? If it does advance to the SEC Championship Game, is it talented enough to take down an Alabama or perhaps LSU in a rematch?

The season will swing in either direction on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. The only thing known to this point is that the Gators are better under Mullen than they have been since Meyer left, and that counts for plenty.

One Comment

  1. SW Fl Joe says:

    He’s more Mark Richt than Urban Meyer

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