What Dan Mullen said about Alabama, Mac Jones entering SEC title game




What Dan Mullen said about Alabama, Mac Jones entering SEC title game

The Sunday before the SEC Championship Game means an afternoon media teleconference with the two coaches.

The tone for the two sessions -- first with Florida’s Dan Mullen before Alabama’s Nick Saban -- differed. The Gators are coming off a surprising 37-34 loss to LSU entering the 7 p.m. CT Saturday league title game in Atlanta.

Mullen faced a long line of questions asking him to comment on Alabama’s unbeaten team, namely the offense.

“Obviously they got talent at every position all over the field,” said Mullen who faced Alabama annually as Mississippi State’s head coach from 2009-2017. “Not a lot of weaknesses in any aspect of their game. Obviously they can put up a lot of points offensively. They can do it through the running game, they can do it through the short passing game with getting the ball to their athletes in space, letting them go make big plays, or they can do it with shots deep down the field. They do a great job protecting the quarterback and let him take those deep shots down the field.”

The Kyle Trask vs. Mac Jones subplot will certainly be a talking point as the two quarterbacks were the top Heisman Trophy contenders entering Saturday’s game. Mullen has a reputation for developing passers, so he was asked about Jones’ big season in Tuscaloosa.

“Very similar to Kyle,” Mullen said. “Does a great job managing their offense, distributing the ball to all the different play-makers, getting them in the right plays at the right time, taking what the defense gives him. He’s had a great season.”

And DeVonta Smith, the other Heisman contender in crimson?

“Obviously he’s got electric, scheme-breaking speed,” Mullen said. “He’s a great route runner. He’s a very, very polished football player with running his routes, the discipline of his routes. Then he has hands that he makes some absolutely spectacular catches. I think a pretty good combination. That makes him a very dangerous player out there on the field.”

Looking at the scheme from Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, Mullen said he does a great job of using the personnel in the locker room to fit their skills.

That said, Mullen doesn’t think his third Florida team will be intimidated playing an Alabama program with that kind of talent and recent success.

Florida hasn’t won an SEC title since beating the Tide in 2008 while Alabama’s claimed six league crowns since then including twice in games against the Gators.

“Well, I think guys come to Florida, our guys think they’re pretty good players, too,” Mullen said. “I think they’re going to be excited for this opportunity to go compete. Our guys are competitors. They love playing the big games. I think they’re going to be excited for this opportunity.”

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