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Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen talks start of spring ball

Moving up the Miami opener to Aug. 24 won’t affect the Gators much
Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen high-fives fans during Gator Walk toward Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville in September. [BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times]
Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen high-fives fans during Gator Walk toward Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville in September. [BRONTE WITTPENN | Times]
Published Mar. 11, 2019

GAINESVILLE — Florida coach Dan Mullen addressed reporters Monday, one day before his Gators open spring practice.

A few highlights:

The quarterback battle, like every position, is open. That’s what Mullen said, at least, when asked about Feleipe Franks being set as the returning starter. “Is it set?” Mullen responded. I’m not necessarily reading anything into that, despite the talent of blue-chip redshirt freshman Emory Jones. Mullen later said that he wants Franks to expect to be the starter but know he must work hard to keep that title.

The bigger battle will be on the offensive line. UF loses both starting tackles, including potential first-round pick Jawaan Taylor. That means there will be a lot of reps available this spring and this fall.

The recent announcement that UF and Miami will play a week earlier (on Aug. 24) doesn’t really affect the Gators’ preparation leading into the opener, Mullen said. It will give the Gators a third open date thanks to a quirky calendar. Is that a good thing? “Ask me in December,” Mullen said.

Mullen on possibility of his Gators making a big jump in Year 2: “We’ll take a jump if we work harder. If we do what we did last year, then we can’t expect to be better than we were last year.”

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