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John Raoux/Associated Press
Florida coach Dan Mullen was happy after a big win against Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville.

Georgia football: What Florida and Dan Mullen said after a deflating 16-point win

Dan Mullen found a few ways to describe how his team soundly handed the Georgia football program a bitter 16-point defeat on Saturday.

“It feels great obviously winning this big-time game,” Mullen said. “It has put us in a decent position to get ready to go beat Arkansas. We have got Arkansas in seven days. That’s what it has put us in a position to do. We have to go beat them in seven days from now.”

“But besides that, at the midpoint of the season, we are in first place in the East, so a big win. I’m really proud of how our guys played and responded, you know, against one of the top defenses and one of the top overall teams in the country.”

Aside from those coachspeak nuggets, he soon cut right to a point which summed up why Florida was better than Georgia in 2020.

Mullen did not even need a red lightsaber in order to do so.

“I think we are coming together as a team as our guys look and they say ‘Hey it is fun to play defense when you know your offense can score points and its fun to play offense when you know your defense can make stops when they need to’ and I think that’s how you see the team starting to come together, enjoy it and trust each other a lot in those ways,” Mullen said on Saturday night.

Mullen has Kyle Trask. It was more than enough to shred a depleted Georgia defense and secondary. The stark point here is that Trask continued to make clutch throws even after All-American TE Kyle Pitts left with an undisclosed injury after a violent collision with Georgia’s Lewis Cine.

The Florida coach counted up three starting offensive linemen that his side went without in stretches of the game. That did not limit Trask on a day in which he completed 30 of his 43 passes for four touchdowns and one interception.

These will be the toughest points for DawgNation to digest here.

  • Georgia had only allowed 38-plus points four times during Kirby Smart’s tenure as the head coach at Georgia. Trask and Mullen and the Gators had 38 points at the half.
  • Florida’s 571 total yards were the most compiled against any Georgia defense since 2001, when
    the Gators amassed 584 total yards in a 24-10 win.
  • Trask had set a single-game school record for passing yards against Georgia after the end of
    the third quarter. He went on to throw for 474 yards.

A larger sample of the comments from the winning side follows below.

Florida coach Dan Mullen

On the early 14-0 early lead for Georgia: “One of the funny things is you are sitting there and we are saying ‘Hey we want to start fast’ it was a big deal to us, you know, because last year, you know, with the game how it played out last year you are looking at it and if it is going to be that type of game. We wanted to try to play with a lead and force them to kind of extend the game and not let them slow the game down.” 

“Obviously we didn’t get lined up the right way on the first play and we give up a 75-yard touchdown. They have explosive players. Uh, you know, then they convert a pass and score again down 14-0. I think our guys were kind of, you know, maybe a little shell-shocked coming out at that point of what was going on. But we did a nice job. Settled down. Nobody panicked I don’t think. Everybody was kind of like ‘Whoa’ but I think once we went down and got that first offensive touchdown I think that attitude of our sideline changed and everybody kind of remembered ‘Hey you know what we can play pretty good defense and get 11 guys running to the ball as hard as we can and we can score points’ and I think everybody kind of all of sudden realized we’re fine and we’re going to be okay in this game.”

“You know we came back and we got hot offensively and guys started making plays.”

On the play of Kyle Trask: “I think you know Kyle did a really good job managing the game. I think he missed a couple of things, you know, you look and we had some missed assignments out there on the touchdowns we gave up. Even the Pick-6, we had a receiver kind of go the wrong way. A couple of indecision I think he has got to improve on that could have cost us there in the game but a lot of great decisions as well.”

“I think he did a good job of managing the game and making the throws he needed to make. Obviously, we would have liked to have been a little bit more efficient there in the second half. Kind of slowed down a little bit in the second half. But we’re also playing with a lead and trying to manage the game and how the game was going at that point.”

“Obviously, when they kicked off and we’re at the point where we needed to get another touchdown. We didn’t end up doing that but overall Kyle he prepares really hard studies the game a lot, puts a lot of time in, and obviously, he’s an accurate guy with the ball and he’s a confident guy. The guys believe in him and you know he’s not afraid. He doesn’t just hone in on one guy. He’s not afraid. He’s going to go around and take what the defense gives us and he does a nice job of doing that. You see that by all the different receivers that get catches.” 

On what is the ceiling for his team: “Uh, I don’t know. We’re playing good football. I’d love to see us be able to play with our team. The full team. We’ve been playing short-handed just about every game this year. At times this weekend, we were short-handed. I know Georgia was, too. A bunch. You know but I don’t know where are. We’re at the point right where we’re in first place in the East at the midway point. How far can we go? I don’t know. Hopefully, we can, you know, get back to work tomorrow and find a way to beat Arkansas next week. If people are worried about anything but that, then we’re not going to continue to enjoy great things we have been enjoying so far this year. Do you know what I mean? I know our guys have played hard every single week. I think we’ve improved every single week. I think there’s a bunch of things we can improve upon off of this game and that’s on us as coaches to make sure that we are getting the players coaching up in the right position doing what’s right and getting ready for Arkansas next week. That’s what is in our control right now.” 

On having what was described by a reporter as having a stranglehold in the SEC East and celebrating pretty wildly after the win on the field: “Yeah, well you know, you got to.  We got to have some fun and enjoy this, too. I know it has been a very tough difficult year for everybody in every aspect of things. You know, but when great things happen to you, like this win for us tonight, you still got to be able to put a smile on your face and enjoy it.”

“I’m just so happy for the guys. I’m proud of our guys. I told them before the game I was really excited to watch them play tonight because they have worked their tail off to be in this situation and I enjoyed watching them play and I enjoy celebrating. It was a great celebration. We are going to celebrate tonight, too and I am going to have fun tonight and then bright and early tomorrow morning we are going to get on to Arkansas.” 

On what the win means as a progression or evolution of the Florida program or a changing of the guard in the SEC East: “I don’t know about that. I mean it means I think like last year everybody you know was like ‘Okay where are we at?’ after the game. Where we are at is we have got to prepare for Arkansas next week at home. That’s really where we are at. I don’t know if this will have an effect on next year’s game. Like last year’s didn’t affect this year’s game. I think everybody likes to look at that. I think it puts us in first place at the midway point in the East and now we have a tough schedule ahead of us and we have got to try to stay there and find a way to get to Atlanta.” 

On if he felt beating Georgia was a hump he had to get over: “I don’t know about that. I mean it was really a big win for us, you know? Anytime you have a top 10 matchup those are big games. I don’t know. Hopefully, if we can find a way to continue to improve we might get more top 10 matchups as the year goes on and we’ll see how that goes.” 

On the 212 yards worth of passes caught by his running backs against Georgia: “Ok. I don’t have all the stats here, but that’s a good day for them. I know how everybody says whoever runs for the most yards wins. Because it was running. Maybe it is whoever’s running backs get the most yards wins, right?”

“Well you know those are the matchups when you look at matchups. Kyle Trask does a great job. He’s not going to force a ball. If they are going to bracket and take away and double people, he’s going to go to who you are not doubling or covering.”

Answering a question from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson why he “quasi-jumped” into the stands to celebrate the win: “It seemed like there were a lot of students there and they were juiced and they were trying to get me to jump into the stands right there next to us. Some of our players were up there. You got to enjoy it. I might be 48 years old but I am still really young on the inside. So I got to still enjoy some of that stuff. Some of our players were up there and I decided to jump in with them. I had my mask on though, Andrea, the whole time.”

On what impressed him the most about his offense: “Uh, you know what I was pleased with our efficiency. I thought we made a lot of big plays, too. I thought you know one thing in the second half I thought we did a good job managing the game. I think we really needed we really wished we would have made another play or two there in the second half to open it up.”

Mullen counted up a lot of the Florida injuries. He counted up that his team was down three starting offensive linemen and what he termed as “the best playmaker in college football” in Kyle Pitts.

“You’re down a lot of guys but we did a great job managing there in the second half and finding ways to make plays,” he said.

Florida OLB Brenton Cox

On what it meant to him personally to beat Georgia: “Actually, this means a lot. Just to overcome a team that I left. Basically just to win a game that I already knew I was going to win. It is basically just a mental thing for me. Like I mean I’m at a loss for words. I’m just too excited.” 

On giving up a 75-yard touchdown run to Zamir White on the game’s first play: “That first play was definitely a test of adversity. We just knew what we had. We knew they would start fast. We knew they would hit us with the run. We knew we had to come to the sideline and get it fixed. That’s pretty much it. For the rest of the game, we had to make adjustments. That was it. Do whatever we had to do to get the win.” 

On if there were any adjustments after that 14-0 start or whether it was a mental adjustment between the ears: “It was in between the ears like you said. We needed to start fast and we didn’t and that on a lot of games we have issues with that. Holding the offense to a three-and-out on the first [drive] of the game. Unfortunately, in this game, it happened on the very first play of the game with Zamir White I think for 60-plus and we just had to go to the sideline, get it corrected, come back out and dominate.”

On the celebration on the field and the fact Florida now controls its fate in the SEC East: “The celebration was overdue. We obviously really wanted this win and us being in control we take it one game at a time. So to next week, starting tomorrow, we will be 0-0. This game was important but we’ve still got more to go. Still got more to do. Bigger accomplishments.”

On what was the difference for Florida in the victory: “I can honestly say one team wanted it more than the other in this situation. Both teams have good players. Both teams have good coaches. Both teams got everything. Pretty much everything equals out. It all comes down to who wanted it more and as you can see Florida did.” 

Florida QB Kyle Trask

On his mental preparation before the biggest game of his career: “Mentally I was trying to treat it as if was any other game. You want to come into a game clear-minded and just locked in on the game plan. Just trying to take it one play at a time.” 

“As far as the game plan goes, I think the coaches put together a great game plan. I think we watched tons of film on them and I think we executed pretty well throughout the game.”

On the second-half game plan trying to hold a big lead: “I don’t think we were that conservative. We were trying to still push the ball downfield. But I think Georgia did a great job making adjustments and we had to adjust to their adjustments to continue to move that ball down the field and get a couple of field goals to kind of put a dagger in the game.” 

On what was the biggest difference in this win versus the recent losses to UGA: “I mean this year we just have such an explosive offense and such a great team from top-down. We just have a lot of confidence. A lot of energy. We went down 14-0 early and this team had no panic. It kind of just shows the character of this team. We are never going to get down or panic in any situation. We’re always going to fight and take one play at a time. That’s what we did.” 

On the plan to feed the ball to the running backs in this game: “Yeah. Definitely. When you are making a game plan you want to try to find as many mismatches as we can. We were having some good success with the running backs on their linebackers and we just tried to take advantage of it.”

On what does the win mean to Florida and what it felt like when it set in that they were going to beat Georgia: “It means so much. Having that losing streak that we had with them the past couple of years, it just means the world to this team to finally get over that hump and be able to win against this very good and well-coached Georgia team. I can’t be more proud of the guys right now.” 

On putting up these numbers and setting SEC and team records in 2020: “I mean, yeah, obviously it feels good. But at the same time, I know what that means. I know that is just a reflection of this offense and it is also a reflection of how hard and how well these coaches have been making game plans. Getting us in the right situations. Getting us good matchups outside and our receivers making plays and our O-line blocking well. So it is just from top-to-bottom just a reflection of this offense.”

Florida CB Kaiir Elam

On falling down 14-0 to Georgia early: “The mood on the sideline was just to keep our heads up. Keep playing. The first two touchdowns were off like just busted plays and we knew we are the type of team that we shouldn’t be giving up any plays. So that was like added motivation to keep going.”

“I’m just happy nobody put their heads down. Everybody was motivated to get back out there and just play Gators football. I was just proud to see that.”

On how it felt to pick off a pass against Georgia: “It felt amazing. I should have caught the second one. I actually should have had three [interceptions] so I have to just go back to the drawing board and watch the film on Arkansas tonight and keep going.”

On how Florida didn’t have any interceptions in the first four games and was able to come away with three against Georgia: “It was awesome. It was something going into the game we said we were going to do and we did it. Our goal was to get three and we accomplished it. It was real big.”

Rewinding Georgia-Florida

The stories so far on DawgNation.com 

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