Take Two: Was Mullen's shot at Georgia wise?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
Dan Mullen knows how to fire up a crowd. And he knows the perception that Georgia is taking over the SEC East needs to be addressed.
At an appearance with alumni and boosters following National Signing Day, Mullen was asked a question about the Florida Gators keeping pace with Georgia after its top-rated recruiting class, which could arguably be the best in Rivals.com history with eight five-star prospects, and its run to the national title game.
Mullen’s response, according to reports: “Making it to one SEC championship game doesn’t make you a dominant program. Two out of the last three years we’ve still been to the SEC championship game. So even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.”
Florida has dominated this series over the last few years, winning three of the last four matchups, but there is a perception that the Bulldogs have surpassed the Gators in the SEC East and won’t look back.
Was it smart for Florida’s first-year coach to say something like that to blunt Georgia's momentum for recruiting purposes, or was it a simple off-the-cuff comment to fire up boosters?
FIRST TAKE: MARK WHEELER, INSIDETHEGATORS.COM
“I don't for one second believe it was a recruiting ploy or for that matter really had any meaning behind it at all other than to fire up the fans who were in attendance. I am surprised that this has generated the hoopla that it has for two reasons: First and foremost, if you read the entire quote – he took just as much of a shot at his own program, Florida, as he did Georgia. He essentially pointed out that the Gators winning the SEC East in two of the last three years doesn't make them a dominant program, either. Secondly, these are exactly the types of things that get said at booster club meetings. If he had said it at a press conference, it would have certainly been more interesting.
"A few years ago former Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers compared Nick Saban to Satan at one of these booster meetings. It was reported, and of course drew some blowback. That is why Florida's sports information has held the policy that while Dan Mullen can be interviewed before the actual event on the record, what is said in the actual speech to the fans/boosters is off the record. As it should be.”
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“Georgia taking over is a concern. If I’m Dan Mullen, recruiting went OK in my first transition year, but Georgia is recruiting on an Alabama-level so I’m concerned.
“I don’t have a problem with Mullen saying it. It enhances the rivalry, it shows confidence in his own program. I don’t think it will come back to bite him. But, trust me, he’s not saying that if he’s not concerned.”