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What Dan Mullen Said After No. 11 Florida Lost to No. 1 Alabama

"That was a fun game to be a part of. You love these games ... it was great SEC football."

No. 1 Alabama's 18-point first-quarter advantage proved too big to overcome, as No. 11 Florida's comeback ran out of time at Spurrier/Florida Field, for a 31-29 loss. 

Here's what Gators coach Dan Mullen had to say after the game:

"First off, awesome environment today. I want to thank Gator Nation. It was great to see The Swamp alive and it was an unbelievable atmosphere. The fans certainly did their part. The margin of error in this game was so small and Gator Nation definitely showed up today. I definitely thank them for what they did.

"That was a fun game to be a part of. You love these games. It's been 10 years since you've had that game in The Swamp, and hopefully we play it more often. To be honest, I hope we play it again really soon later this season. I want that opportunity. But it was great SEC football."

On his main takeaway from this game:

"When we play big games, the margin for error is going to be so small. You look at the turnover margin, we had one and they had none. We gave up some first downs on penalties -- pass-interference calls, which were judgement calls that could go either way. But we gave up too many first downs, penalty-wise, to allow Alabama to keep their drives alive. A couple of errors early on weren't good, and a missed extra point. We had a missed assignment on the two-point play. 

"You're going to go back and watch the film and you're going to see a bunch of things to be honest with you. But I like the attitude of this team. I like the effort this team has and I think it's going to be very exciting to see our response at practice this week. I never doubted the effort that our team was going to give and I never doubted the attitude our guys had. Our guys expected to win the game today coming into it. I know they are disappointed, but you play in championship-level games and the margin of error is going to be extremely small. We have to embrace that at practice this week. We have to come together as a team with the positive energy of eliminating every little error at practice within our preparation and have it show out in our performance against Tennessee next week."

On how close Florida was to having Anthony Richardson play:

"When you have a hamstring, it's not like a sprained ankle. When you look at injuries, there are injuries that are like, 'Hey, he can go on it and it's not going to get worse. He might not be 100 percent, but he isn't going to make it worse throughout the course of the game.' Today, he wasn't going to be 100 percent, but if he played he could have definitely made it worse. So that was one we talked about going into the game. 

"We went to get an MRI yesterday and he was ahead of where we thought he would be, which was really positive for next week. He knew he was going to go in on back-up mode only to be a drop-back passer. Fortunately, Emory [Jones] stayed healthy. I thought Emory really stepped up his game this week and I thought had a really good game. It will be great to, hopefully as the week goes, get Anthony back 100 percent as well."

Why is Florida so much trouble for Alabama? 

"One thing is when a lot of teams play Alabama, they sometimes don't think they are going to win the game maybe. Our guys certainly expected to win the game and played that way. We did last year and we did this year. I think that was maybe a big part of it. They came to Florida and our guys are excited. Where we are headed as a program, I want a team that can compete for championships on a consistent basis. To do that, you are going to have to beat Alabama. 

"Last year it was six points and this year it was two. Hopefully we get one more shot at them and get an opportunity to compete for another championship as we move forward. That's where we want to be in our program and that's how our guys prepare and expect heading onto the field."

There are no moral victories, but you prove that you can play at that level with games like this, don't you? 

"Absolutely. Coming into the game, I don't know if they knew where they were at, and we knew were we were at after the first two games of the season. Game 1 you're learning new things. They're certainly a different team from what they were last year and we're a very different team from last year -- even though we played nine months earlier, or whatever it was. Two different kinds of teams lining up against each other today. You know, after the first two games you still have some questions. 

"I think we have the opportunity to be a pretty good team this year. There's a lot of things that we have to fix up, and we have to get better at. I think we have an opportunity to be a pretty good football team. Give them credit, they're an excellent football team. Obviously Nick does a great job within the program, and continuing to have guys play at a high level. 

"I thought we had a good plan, offensively and defensively, and I thought our guys executed well for the most part."

On what the defense can take away from the game moving forward:

"I thought Todd [Grantham] and his staff had a great scheme today and really did a good job putting guys out there in positions to make plays on the field. On the back end, we have a very young secondary going against a bunch of talented guys. I thought they really stepped up and played well.

"A couple of penalties here and there that were bang-bang plays, but I liked the aggressiveness and the confidence our guys played with."

On what the game can do for Jones and his development/confidence:

"For him, I think it gets him relaxed. In the first couple of games, you learn a lot. I haven't called plays with Emory as the primary quarterback before and he hasn't been out there on the field running plays. When you're the starter you have to come in and manage everything. There's a lot on your plate. 

"He was just relaxed and comfortable with everything happening out there on the field way more than he was the last two weeks. I think he's getting into the flow of the game plan. I think you saw him being a much more comfortable guy out there today. Even his interception was a great read -- he made the perfect read, but the ball caused a sail on him right as he got hit on the release.

"If you look over the first couple of weeks, I thought he did pretty well with some of the drastic errors. But, I can't even think of a bad error he made today throughout the course of the game."