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What Dan Mullen said about last season’s controversial comments

Mullen’s 2020 included wanting to pack The Swamp and calling the thrown cleat against LSU part of a football move.
Gators coach Dan Mullen's 2020 season at Florida included a brawl against Missouri.
Gators coach Dan Mullen's 2020 season at Florida included a brawl against Missouri. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP ]
Published Feb. 17

Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen drew national attention repeatedly last season for actions and comments that had nothing to do with football.

After the defeat at Texas A&M, he said he wanted to pack The Swamp to full capacity amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He played a role in the ugly brawl against Missouri and wore a Darth Vader costume afterward. He said the infamous thrown cleat during the LS-Shoe loss came as part of a football move and that the UF team Oklahoma obliterated in the Cotton Bowl wasn’t really the 2020 Gators.

Which led to this question during Tuesday’s news conference: Is Mullen doing anything differently to make sure he’s sending the message he wants to send?

Related: What’s Dan Mullen’s long-term future at Florida?

Because the question and answer are all about messaging, context and interpretation, here’s Mullen’s full answer:

“You know what? As I told the guys, there are probably some times I said things that, you know, maybe regrettable, maybe didn’t come off the right way, maybe got interpreted a different way and probably in the time and the light, maybe, got legs of its own in what happened. So, you know what? You’re always trying to improve, always trying to get better and look at that.

“I think one of the things to do is as you look back and reflect and say, ‘Hey, at that moment is that the right way to approach something?’ You know what I mean? And we’re in very unique times right now, you know, of what goes on and sometimes a message, what your message that you’re trying to get out might come across to somebody differently and then all of a sudden it kind of gets legs of its own and goes in a different direction out there. So, I don’t know. I’m still trying to be pretty friendly with everybody and all of you (reporters). I’m still pretty open, I haven’t gone to the one-word answers yet to kind of change that aspect of it and maybe not put my foot in my mouth or anything like that. But we’ll see. I’m going to try to keep a positive message, I guess, and keep us on path for where we need to be as a team.”