Florida head coach Dan Mullen stood at the lectern of the team media room in front of reporters following Florida’s loss to Kentucky on Saturday with his same, normal demeanor.
Terry Wilson had Florida defenders diving helplessly at his feet.
He started with his normal coach speak he does at nearly every media opportunity — “I give them credit,” “Mark’s (Stoops) done a great job with the program,” etc. — until he got to a specific sentence. One that’s a little different than the phrases he has dropped in the past.
“(We’ve) got to be more physical at the point of attack,” Mullen said. “I think also we have to be more physical up front on the offensive line.”
The Gators were missing tackles all game against the Wildcats. Mullen said he counted 20 which allowed around 168 extra yards. UF allowed over 300 rushing yards, most of which were due to Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson and running back Benny Snell avoiding Florida’s defenders after first contact. It was the first 300-yard game given up by a Florida rush defense since a 2013 loss to Georgia Southern.
Mullen and his coaching staff have been preaching physicality all week, making it an impromptu term for the week.
“Toughness starts with mental toughness before you can get physically tough,” co-offensive coordinator Billy Gonzales said. “So you got to continue to train the body, continue to train the mind.”
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor also echoed the sentiments that the team needs to toughen up starting this week, or repeats of Saturday will happen in the future.
“There’s a lot more sense of urgency in practice,” he said. “I feel like we’re practicing a lot harder and stepping up to the challenge, and it’s showing.”
Freshmen corners stepping up with Marco Wilson now out
Sophomores Marco Wilson and C.J. Henderson have led the Gators on defense as starting corners dating back to when both were true freshmen.
Now that Wilson is out for the season due to an ACL tear, Florida will turn to two current freshmen to fill the void.
“You’ve got Brian Edwards, you’ve got Trey Dean are the guys who are going to have to step up and do that right now moving forward for us,” Mullen said.
The latest depth chart has Dean opposite Henderson, with Edwards backing them both up. The Gators used to have all four play through the course of the game, with Dean and Edwards coming in when Wilson and Henderson needed a break.
But now that Wilson is out, Florida will need its freshman to step up. Henderson thinks his counterparts are more than ready.
“He’s growing fast,” Henderson said of Dean. “He’s not acting like a freshman anymore. He’s learning the plays and he knows what he’s got to do.”
Adarius Lemons transferring from Florida
Running back Adarius Lemons announced his intention to transfer from UF following the Gators’ loss to Kentucky.
“I’m going to miss some of the boys I’ve been playing with for the past two years I’ve been here, I feel I’ve learned a lot from the previous coaches that were here,” Lemons tweeted. “I want to find a school I can help to my best ability and actually use my talent that God has blessed me with. Thank you farewell.”
Mullen announced Monday that Lemons would no longer be with the program and that he would sign Lemons' release for whatever school he wishes to attend.
Lemons didn’t see much playing time at the beginning of last season. It wasn’t until injuries started plaguing Florida’s offense that Lemons saw the field. He played in nine games, recording stats in six of them.
He finished his career at UF with 19 carries for 136 yards and one catch for seven yards.