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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Mike McDaniel

ESPN’s Dan Mullen Sideswipes Florida’s Billy Napier With Ironic Jab

ESPN college football analyst Dan Mullen coached the University of Florida from 2018 to ’21, compiling a 34–15 record as the head man for the Gators.

Florida won 10 games in Mullen’s first year and 11 games in year two, before going 8–4 in ’20. Mullen was fired after 11 games in ’21 as the Gators went 5–6 on his watch before his departure.

Mullen appeared on The Matt Barrie Show to discuss this weekend’s college football slate, and of course, Florida’s primetime game with Tennessee this Saturday came up in the conversation.

“This is a huge game [for Tennessee] to go on the road and play at Florida,” Mullen began. “Now, Florida might not be where they were a couple years ago, but they’re still Florida. They’re still gonna be a good team. It’s still ‘The Swamp’ on a Saturday night.”

Not too shabby for Mullen to get a subtle jab in on Florida’s lack of success since he was fired in Gainesville. There is no doubt that the Gators program will always have a special place in Mullen’s heart, especially considering his success as the team’s offensive coordinator in the Tim Tebow years and his fun early run as the program’s coach a few years ago.

In Mullen’s defense, his analysis is pretty spot on. Florida went just 6—7 in year one under the coach who replaced him, Billy Napier, and is 1–1 so far in 2023 with an unimpressive performance against the only quality team it’s played—Utah. 

Time will tell whether Napier will get things turned around in Gainesville, but Mullen hasn’t turned a blind eye to the performance of his former program.

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