FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla -- With team practices in the books and less than 36 hours until kickoff, head coaches Dan Mullen of Florida and Bronco Mendenhall of Virginia are set to meet with the media in a joint press conference today.
Stay tuned to the Sports Illustrated - GatorMaven live blog for quotes and updates from the press conference.
9:32 A.M.: Mendenhall says that player leadership determines the outcome of bowl games.
9:30 A.M.: Mullen notes that Virginia brings blitzes from everywhere. Notes that Mendenhall and Virginia cause a number of issues defensively, disguising pressures and affecting the run game with confusing looks for the quarterback.
9:26 A.M.: Mullen says the history of the Orange Bowl is special, noting it's the first bowl game he was a part of as an assistant at Syracuse. Notes he also loved watching it growing up.
9:23 A.M.: Mullen says that the hardest part of preparing for QB Bryce Perkins is using extra defenders to stop the run, which is difficult as Perkins has also grown as a passer. Says that with that growth, Virginia has created a mismatch.
9:19 A.M.: Mullen says Kyle Trask has handled the noise and preparation as a starter well, noting that Trask continued to prepare until his number was called.
Regarding Emory Jones, Mullen says he has learned from Trask's development track. "They bring very different skill-sets to the table, which allows us to play both of them."
9:17 A.M.: Mendenhall says Florida wide receiver depth and talent is a challenge for Virginia. "It's one of the first things that jump out on film." Says it will require innovation and coaching to neutralize it.
9:16 A.M.: Mendenhall says he intends to use Virginia's loss to Clemson moving forward, rather than putting it behind them. He wants his team to learn and grow from it.
9:14 A.M.: Mullen says "our guys love to play football", but that he has tried to make the bowl game a great experience for his team. The Gators have gone to Dave and Busters and the beach for fun activities outside of preparation.
9:10 A.M: Continuing on the NFL, Mullen notes that football as a whole shares ideas regarding RPOs and styles of offense. "To stay ahead of the coaching curve", Mullen says the Gators might have to go back to the I-formation and T-bone offense, sarcastically.
9:06 A.M.: Mullen says the program "is in a great position right now, and everyone knows how much I love being a Florida Gator" regarding NFL rumors.
9:04 A.M.: Mendenhall says Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall, one of the team's best players who suffered a season-ending injury, has grown into a "very unique role" - he's developed a relationship with the team Chaplin to give spiritual advice for the team. He has also helped coach and develop players, all while he prepares for the 2020 NFL Draft.
9:02 A.M.: Mullen says an Orange Bowl victory would mean a lot to the program, both to send Florida's seniors out on top and some momentum entering the offseason.
9:00 A.M.: Check out our stories from the previous media availabilities at the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl. Florida offensive coordinator John Hevesy, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, and multiple players received time at the podium over the past few days to discuss their preparation for the bowl game, the activities they've done in Miami, preparing for life after Florida football, and more!
Story on Florida preparing for "dynamic" Virginia QB Bryce Perkins: https://www.si.com/college/florida/football/florida-preparing-dynamic-virginia-qb-bryce-perkins
Story on Florida's pass game success and route running: https://www.si.com/college/florida/football/florida-receivers-break-down-2019-pass-game-and-route-running