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Florida Gators plan to have Dan Mullen as assistant in title game

GAINESVILLE — Florida coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday that offensive coordinator Dan Mullen will coach Jan. 8 in the BCS national title game. Mullen was named coach at Mississippi State last week.

"I think he's going to coach," Meyer said. "I talked to him (Monday) and the plan is I think he's going to come back right after Christmas. Unless something changes, it looks like that's (Mullen coaching) going to happen."

Mullen was in Mississippi as the Gators practiced Tuesday, but Meyer said he's not concerned about Mullen's ability to help the Gators prepare.

"When guys become head coaches, I hear that comment 'Is he going to give 100 percent?' and I laugh inside because of course he's not. He's got a job to do. Is the best chance of us winning that game (with Mullen), with the mechanics of the game the way we do them, probably yes. So right now I'd say the plan is he'll be up in the press box and we're going to go."

NO NOTRE DAME: Despite his comments on a South Florida radio show last week that Notre Dame is his "dream job", Meyer reiterated that he's committed to coaching at Florida.

"I grew up in the north and that was my dream job," Meyer said. "Probably always will (be), but that has nothing to do with this. This is my dream job. This is my job. I hope to be here for a long, long time. … This is everything I want in a school. This is the best job in America. You don't give your life to a school like our whole staff has. We plan on doing this for a long time."

INJURY UPDATE: WR/RB Percy Harvin (ankle) attended practice, but is not running. OL Carl Johnson (knee) and WR Louis Murphy (knee) are being treated for "cartilage issues", Meyer said, but both are expected to play.

FSU: Datko honored

TALLAHASSEE — Even when his staff recruited Andrew Datko last winter, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden never expected him to start at left tackle as a true freshman.

The Fort Lauderdale product not only did so in each of the Seminoles' final 11 games, but performed well enough to earn freshman All-America honors Tuesday from Sporting News.

"It's very difficult, especially at that position," Bowden said. "But he has really been a plus for us. Amazing."

Datko, 6 feet 6, 285 pounds, credited line coach Rick Trickett's demanding practices.

"I'm not one of those big 300-pound guys, so I have to use my technique to beat these guys," Datko said.

Around the nation

AP ALL-AMERICA: Florida LB Brandon Spikes was the lone state player on the first team as AP released its All-America list. Harvin made the second team as an all-purpose player and QB Tim Tebow was third-team.

Florida State K Graham Gano and DE Everette Brown earned second-team All-America honors and S Myron Rolle is on the third team.

For USF, DE George Selvie, a first-team pick last year, was on the third team.

BUFFALO: Coach Turner Gill is staying at least another season and won't interview for any other jobs after receiving a one-year extension and raise.

PENN STATE: Coach Joe Paterno, who turns 82 Sunday, agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2011.

Times correspondent Ira Schoffel contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires. For more news on instate colleges, go to tampabay.com/sports and click More Sports.

Florida Gators plan to have Dan Mullen as assistant in title game 12/16/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 11:28pm]
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