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Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen wants 90,000 at the Swamp next week

Attendance has been restricted to about 20 percent because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen wants to see Ben Hill Griffin Stadium packed like this next week, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen wants to see Ben Hill Griffin Stadium packed like this next week, even during the coronavirus pandemic. [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Oct. 10, 2020
Updated Oct. 10, 2020

Although Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen didn’t blame Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M on the loud road environment at Kyle Field, he did say that it played a “major factor in the game.”

He turned into a public plea to his bosses to make the same thing happen next week in Gainesville, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Related: No. 4 Florida Gators fall on last-second field goal by Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies

“I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully the university administration decides to let us pack the Swamp against LSU,” Mullen said. “I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor. The governor has passed a rule that we’re allowed to pack the Swamp and have 90,000 in the Swamp to give us the home-field advantage Texas A&M had today.”

The rule Mullen is referencing was the recent push by Gov. Ron DeSantis to move the state into Phase 3, allowing stadiums to operate at full capacity. For UF, that’s officially 88,548.

The Gators announced before the season that they would initially limit capacity at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to 20 percent — about 17,000 fans. The announced attendance for UF’s home opener against South Carolina was 15,120.

That’s a big difference from the announced crowd of 24,709 Saturday at A&M. Mullen said he didn’t see any empty seats behind his team’s bench.

Players said afterward that the crowd noise was something the team should have been able to overcome. But Mullen wants the advantage, anyway, starting next week against the defending national champions.

“Absolutely want to see 90,000 in the Swamp,” Mullen said. “Hopefully, that creates a home-field advantage for us next week because now we passed a law in our state that we can do that. We want our students out there cheering us on to give us that home-field advantage.”