For the Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) there isn't much hope at the end of the tunnel following an incredibly disappointing loss to the LSU Tigers on Saturday. Losing to LSU is one thing, but Florida lost to a team that is planning an exit strategy with its sitting head coach in Ed Orgeron, a team that had already lost all hope in its young season.
Now, Florida is facing its own crossroads under head coach Dan Mullen, though it doesn't appear he's on his way out just yet, and after the team's 49-42 loss on Sunday, he didn't have many solutions but wants his team to keep on grinding.
“We’re all frustrated," Mullen said on Saturday following the game in response to a reporter asking what his message to Florida fans was following the loss.
"We’re still grinding away. Look at LSU. They were facing a bunch of adversity last week. They came out and played really well today, created four turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. To go and run the ball. This is the SEC, you have to bring your A-game every single week."
For Florida fans, losing two games in a season is not unheard of, and almost expected, especially with the likes of Alabama and Georgia on the schedule. Losing three games before the team even got a chance to face off against the Bulldogs? That's a lot different, and their frustrations have grown plenty over the past few weeks.
"From what I see the majority of our fans, we have some of the best fans in the country the Gator Nation," said Mullen. "The positivity they have, the support they give to the team is really amazing.
"I appreciate all their support and what they do and continue to back everybody in the program. All our fans, everybody, our students, I think they do an amazing job.”
Florida fans have expressed plenty of frustrations following the team's third loss of the season. With the Bulldogs on their way to Jacksonville in two weeks, there isn't much in the way of optimism, but there probably shouldn't be, at least not after the team laid an egg in a very winnable game in Baton Rouge on Saturday.
When asked about the "Gator standard" on Saturday after the team dropped its sixth loss in its past eight games against Power 5 opponents, Mullen simply stated the team needs to play better, coaches need to coach better.
"We gotta play better. We’ll evaluate it all. We gotta coach better, play better, look at our personnel," he said. "Make sure we’re putting guys in the right position to make plays. Get better.”
Even with a bye week now in front of the football program, Mullen suggested that he wasn't even sure whether or not it'd do any good, stating he will know more in two weeks. "I'll tell you in two weeks whether a bye week was good or bad,” he said.
Certainly, the Gators and Mullen are frustrated, that much is an understatement. Now, they'll have to go back to the drawing board to see what corrections they'll need to make, and try to grow and learn from it over the next few weeks.
A change will likely be coming following the year, and that much shouldn't be surprising to anyone.
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