SDS: Realistic set of expectations for Dan Mullen's first year at Florida

Discussion in 'Main Sports Forum' started by BMF, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. BMF

    BMF Junior Member
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    Here's a realistic set of expectations for Dan Mullen's first year at Florida

    https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/f...istic-expectations-mullen-first-year-florida/

    Dan Mullen was hired to do a simple job in Gainesville — get Florida back to being a force in the SEC and make it one of the premier programs nationally.

    All Mullen has to do is take a 4-win team and dethrone the emerging beast that is Georgia. And if he really wants to bring Florida “back,” he might as well knock off Alabama in an SEC Championship or two.

    Easy enough, right?

    If that happens in Mullen’s first year, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin will just give Mullen a blank check at season’s end to sign his lifetime contract. More realistically, though, the Gators will still be looking up at their division rivals. You don’t erase 42-7 that quickly against the national runners-up.

    Their realistic task for 2018 is getting back to respectability. What does respectability look like? It lies somewhere between what Florida and Georgia did last year.

    Mullen is capable of getting Florida to respectability. After all, he got Mississippi State to 8 consecutive bowl games. That was after a 5-7 first season in Starkville. So should Florida fans expect the same?

    Not exactly.

    To try and assess a possible win total for Year 1 of the Mullen era, we should probably try to figure out the keys to Florida’s success.

    Obviously the first thing that Florida fans want to see turned around is at the quarterback position. That production won’t be measured by passing yards. Ironically enough, Mississippi State actually finished No. 112 in passing offense compared to Florida at No. 101. Expecting Feleipe Franks or Emory Jones to start passing for 250 yards per game would be unrealistic.

    What is realistic is getting 25-30 touchdowns out of the quarterback position. Mississippi State got 37 scores from its signal-callers last year, and 40 the year before. That was without Dak Prescott.

    Florida got 10 touchdowns from the quarterback position in 2017. Ten.

    That’s rock bottom.
    I’d be surprised if either Franks or Jones had double digit touchdowns as a passer and as a rusher, but I’d be more surprised if Florida’s starting quarterback didn’t account for at least 20 scores.

    There’s no reason that Florida can’t improve its No. 108 scoring offense. Even if Mullen’s quarterback doesn’t turn into Tim Tebow overnight — that’s not happening — the Gators still have too many talented offensive weapons (Kadarius Toney, Lamical Perine, Jordan Scarlett and Malik Davis) for Mullen to struggle like Jim McElwain did.

    It’s not crazy to suggest that Florida finishes in the middle of the national rankings in terms of scoring. The 16-point showings against Missouri should be a thing of the past.

    The offense is going to get all the headlines early on in the Mullen era, but I’m intrigued by what comes of this new 3-4 defense.

    Nationally, I didn’t feel like Todd Grantham got enough love for the job he did completely turning around Mississippi State on that side of the ball. He helped maximize the freakish abilities of Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat, both of whom earned first-team All-SEC selections.

    Grantham is going to have similar talent to work with in Gainesville. Cece Jefferson probably doesn’t return to school if not for the chance to work with Grantham. Having other veteran playmakers like David Reese and Jabari Zuniga back is only going to help with the transition.

    It’s hard to judge Florida’s 2017 defensive numbers because of how horrific the offense was. Even the best units can’t hold strong if they don’t ever get a break. The Gators were a solid unit that finished with mediocre numbers after falling apart down the stretch.

    That shouldn’t be the case in 2018. In fact, I expect Grantham’s unit to be Florida’s backbone in the early stages of the Mullen era. That doesn’t mean there should be a drastic imbalance like there was in the McElwain era. Why can’t Florida have a top-25 scoring defense in 2018? Mississippi State did it in a tougher division in 2017. Surely that’s a perfectly realistic expectation.

    So what does that mean for Florida in 2018? If there’s going to be improvement on both sides of the ball, how much will that show up in the win total?

    I don’t think you see the Gators play down to their competition like they did for far too often with McElwain. That will go a long way toward easing the stress that Florida fans felt throughout SEC play. There should be actual offensive progression, which will be a new sight in Gainesville.

    If I had to set a way-too-early regular season win total, I’d probably put it at 7 or 8. Maybe Florida beats LSU or Mullen rallies the troops in his return to Starkville. They could still be subject to a disappointing loss in the first half of the season as the offense transitions. Still, a trip to the TaxSlayer Bowl doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world considering the mess that was 2017.

    Mullen’s task is not easy, but he can make Florida’s rebuild look a lot easier than McElwain did.
     
    • MJMGator

      MJMGator Slightly amused
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      I expect about 8 wins. I also expect to be competitive in every game and the team to not quit like we’ve seen time after time when adversity strikes.
       
      • Acecustis

        Acecustis Well-Known Member

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        Just get back to a bowl game and beat the Noles. We still have a talent problem that isn’t getting fixed with one recruiting class
         
        • Okeechobee Joe

          Okeechobee Joe Lost Ball in High Grass
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          Play in a manner so we don't say: "Not this shyt again." That's all
           
          • FireFoley

            FireFoley Senior Member
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            I was never and still am not in the Cousin Eddie camp. but as I say about all our coaches and teams, I am not a numbers, scoreboard or records person in the short run. I am a quality of play and process person. If there seems to be an improvement in process (management included) and quality of play, that would be great. but it does not take long to see if it is not. Innate abilities are usually obvious quite early on.
             
            • Gatorraid81

              Gatorraid81 Well-Known Member
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              I expect to win them all.
               
              • LagoonGator68

                LagoonGator68 Well-Used Member
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                Little head vs. Big head....such a quandary for Feleipe.....
                 
              • LagoonGator68

                LagoonGator68 Well-Used Member
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                Pussy is 15-0 every damn year!
                 
                • '78

                  '78 Dazed and Confused
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                  Franks' job is to come in the game on third-and-31 and heave the ball as far as he can.
                   
                • LagoonGator68

                  LagoonGator68 Well-Used Member
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                  That would suit me just fine
                   
                • '78

                  '78 Dazed and Confused
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                  Are you saying you always score?
                   
                • LagoonGator68

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                  That's not what I was saying, but it is true.
                   
                  • Swamp Donkey

                    Swamp Donkey Piehole stuffed douchebag
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                    I dont find that ironic.

                    Prophetic is probaly the better word.
                    mmmmm.... right.

                    Yeah.... ok. SOS never went to Taxslayer bowls. Tough sell for those trying who claimed we just hired an offensive guru.

                    I agree that that Taxslayer or similar is likely however. We will grind the ball into the teeth of SEC defenses built to stop the other 14 grind the ball offenses.
                     
                    #13 Swamp Donkey, Feb 11, 2018
                    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
                    • Alumni Guy

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                      Tax Slayer Bowl is reason to be happy. Sad to say, but there's some truth to that...

                      Thanks Butters. Butters is like the smell when you leave your car windows down and it rains. Stinky and takes for ever to leave.
                       
                    • ltraz

                      ltraz Well-Known Member

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                      Great response.

                      I just don't want us to be outcoached. I don't want us to look like msu did against umass last season and I definitely don't want our D to look like they did against uga or auburn; like they knew what plays grantham was running. That's so much more important than wins & losses, bc it would indicate that we actually have the chance of being elite once we get the talent. If that staff looks like it has then we're still going to sh!t the bed a couple times a year even with talent and never make a playoff.
                       
                      • NVGator

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                        W- Charleston Southern
                        Toss- Kentucky
                        W- Colorado State
                        W- @ Tennessee
                        L- @ Mississippi State
                        L- LSU
                        L- @ Vanderbilt
                        L- Georgia (Jax)
                        W- Missouri
                        W- South Carolina
                        W- Idaho
                        L- @ FSU

                        I see 6-6 to at best 8-4.
                         
                        • BMF

                          BMF Junior Member
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                          Spurrier went to the Taxslayer (Gator bowl) in 1992, beating NC State.
                           
                          • Theologator

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                            Year after year there is some faint hope of the offense improving to at least average. Here I go again...

                            I start with expecting our team to be tougher & higher effort. There’s no doubt the loss of Scarlett & Callaway and others hurt badly in terms of X’s & O’s, but maybe worse in terms of team chemistry. That should be much improved. I don’t expect much from the xfers even if they are cleared to play. But there MUST be 3-5 decent WRs among those 12 and 2-3 TEs that can play. The huge question mark is how fast Jones or Franks can learn and excel.

                            7-5 or 8-4 and fighting hard all season is reasonable to expect.
                             
                            • CaseyGator

                              CaseyGator Ox’s Favorite Poster
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                              You’ve just made me realize I’m one of the unreasonable fans who expect too much. I was thinking 10-2. :banghead:
                               
                              • Gatorraid81

                                Gatorraid81 Well-Known Member
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                                Mullen should be able to find a way to beat Vandy, all the other games you have as losses seems reasonable. I’ll gladly take a loss to Vandy if it meant we’d beat the Noles.
                                 

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