A sign of the times and the state of the Florida football program.
Traditionally, the Florida Gators and head coach Dan Mullen will wrap up every game - win or lose - by joining the school band to sing the university’s alma mater song, a norm throughout Gators football history.
But after back-to-back blowout losses, Mullen and the majority of his team have made quick exits to their locker room and skipped the custom, aside from a handful of players and assistant coaches.
Is singing a song usually what pops into a head coach's head after a football game? Probably not. But it’s a tradition at the University of Florida, specifically since Mullen reinvigorated it’s importance shortly after his hiring as head coach.
“You know, one of the things, heck, in everybody within the program. That's why we go after the game, win or lose, we're going to go sing the alma mater with the band because they're so critical to our program,” Mullen spoke of the song in 2018.
“The cheerleaders and the band. They kind of ignite the students and the students ignite the fans,” he continued. “And everybody creates an environment that's unbelievable, and we are in that together.”
But now, Mullen has dismissed the ceremony twice in as many games as his team has deviated from its winning ways.
Mullen was asked, simply, why that was the case on Saturday night after Florida's 40-17 loss to South Carolina.
“I didn't, we're on the road right now. So, yeah, that's on me," Mullen responded. "To be honest with you, I didn't even know we had our band here today with that. We’ll sing with the band next week in the Swamp.”
The issue is, Mullen did know the band was with the team in Columbia. He was greeted by The Pride of the Sunshine during the team's Gator Walk into Williams-Brice Stadium. The band was also seated on Florida's sideline, no more than 25 yards away from where coaches and players stood all game long.
If Mullen had said that he and/or his team were simply too distraught to sing the song at the conclusion of each defeat, odds are he would have been forgiven by the Florida faithful, at least somewhat.
Instead, Mullen was caught in a falsehood, which only adds to the frustration of UF fans that have seen their team fall apart under his leadership this season.
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