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Another Dent in Dan Mullen's Armor

Nick Roush03/01/21


Article written by:On3 imageNick Roush


[caption id="attachment_267671" align="alignnone" width="1466"] (Photo: © Dale Zanine | USA TODAY Sports)[/caption] You hear that? It's a faint sound, but it's there. That is the sound of the wheels falling off of Dan Mullen's Florida football program. Mullen has been successful on the field. The Gators are 30-9 since he became the head coach, including two New Year's Six wins. In 2020 he had a Heisman Trophy finalist in Kyle Trask and a generational talent at tight end, Kyle Pitts, that will be one of the first ten picks in this year's NFL Draft. Off the field, it's been a different story. He isn't lying with shark but he went on a bizarre "pack the stadium" rant after they fell to Texas A&M, he wore a Darth Vader costume to a postgame presser and his team's brawl at halftime against Mizzou were all black eyes on the Gators' brand, a point of pride for athletic director Scott Stricklin. In addition to the off the field antics, they lost momentum on the field as soon as an LSU shoe was hurled through the air at The Swamp. Florida lost its final three games of the season, including a blowout loss in the Cotton Bowl while seemingly half the roster opted out of playing in the game. You can see the momentum slipping on the recruiting trail too. Florida isn't even the best recruiting team in the state, finishing behind Miami at No. 13 overall. To make amends for poor high school recruiting, Mullen has hit the portal hard. On Sunday, it hit back. Arik Gilbert is arguably the most talented non-quarterback to ever enter the transfer portal. A five-star prospect just a year ago, 247 Sports ranked Gilbert as the best player available in the portal once he announced his intentions to leave LSU. On the final day of January,  Gilbert committed to Florida. On the final day of February, he re-entered the transfer portal. https://twitter.com/arik_gilbert/status/1366111703663063060?s=20 Gilbert was LSU's leading receiver when he left the program. He might have been Florida's best skill player in 2021. It's great news for Kentucky fans for multiple reasons. In the short term, a mismatch problem has been eliminated in the Wildcats' Oct. 2 date with the Gators at Kroger Field. There's no reason to completely short-sighted. There's plenty of smoke around Mullen in Gainesville as he attempts to negotiate a contract extension with Florida brass not long after his name was floated for NFL coaching vacancies. This could turn into a fire at Florida, one the Wildcats can dance around to the top of the SEC East.

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