The Florida Gators have had a disappointing season up to this point to say the least. They sit at 4-3 (2-3 SEC) following a bad loss this past Saturday on the road against LSU, who had already been working towards parting ways with head coach Ed Orgeron well before the game.
There are a lot of questions that have been asked about the current state of the football program. The one question that’s being asked the most is whether Dan Mullen has lost the locker room. My answer to that question is very simple: hell yeah he’s lost the locker room.
As someone that is a former football and baseball player, I know exactly what it looks and feels like when a coach loses the locker room. You can tell by the players’ comments during Saturday’s post-game press conference that they’re frustrated. Mohamoud Diabate, one of the team leaders, spoke to the media after Florida’s loss in Baton Rouge and his post-game comments were very telling.
Diabate was asked if he was confident in the defensive scheme. He responded by saying: "I'm confident in my teammate’s ability to play hard. I'm confident in my teammates." He was also asked if they made any adjustments during the game to stop what looked like the same play that LSU continued to run and this was his response, "We made the adjustments we were given to make.” Now I don’t know about you, but to me those comments don’t exactly scream support and confidence in your coaching staff. Once you lose the confidence of your players you are headed down slippery slope that will take nothing short of a miracle to get the locker room back.
But more than that, it looks like Dan Mullen has lost a lot of the fan base as well. As a fan you are going to cheer hard and give your coach the benefit of the doubt more times than not because you want him to succeed, but there isn’t much favor left in the fan base for coach Mullen. Fans have been frustrated, and rightly so, about the same issues that have plagued a Dan Mullen coached team not just at Florida but dating back to his days as Mississippi State. These issues include, the defense being out of position because of the scheme, blind loyalty to coaches, not playing the best players and lackluster recruiting.
The University of Florida is a championship caliber program for all athletics. The football program wants and needs to get back to that standard and changes have to be made for that to happen. Mullen can’t continue to be the same coach he’s been over the entire course of his head coaching tenure. The loyalty, playing players due to seniority instead of talent and lackluster recruiting has to change in a big way. When I think about the situation Coach Mullen and the Florida Gators are in right now I think of a quote I saw a while back, “Do you hate losing so much that you’re willing to change, or do you hate change so much that you’re willing to lose?” If changes aren’t made starting now and continuing into the offseason, Dan Mullen will find himself looking for another job very soon.