Dan Mullen

The Gators have returned to practice following their team-wide COVID-19 outbreak that included 31 positive cases in the month of October. Florida has five days to prepare for Missouri after athletic activities have been at a standstill since Oct. 13. 

Games against LSU and Missouri were rescheduled after the Gators didn’t have 53 scholarship players available upon accounting for players in quarantine and those plagued by injuries and positive tests. Now, Mullen is confident that he’ll have enough players for Saturday. 

“The league says if you have 53, you've got to play,” Mullen said. “I’m sure we’ll have 53 guys ready to play.”

However, Mullen wouldn’t answer how many players would be at practice, nor would he disclose if any players were hospitalized. He did say that Saturday was the team’s last positive test and that he’ll release who is available to play on this coming Saturday. 

Mullen, who announced on Oct. 17 that he tested positive for COVID-19, says that his symptoms were minor. 

“I guess being isolated in your house and not being able to see your family, that was probably a low point,” he said. 

The layoff did provide Mullen and the coaching staff plenty of time to look at UF’s struggling defense. 

“I think it gives you just that opportunity to kind of look at the roster, look where everybody is and making sure we’ve got the guys in the right position and doing the right things,” Mullen said.  

The difficulty now is to get a team ready to play in five days after not practicing at all since Oct. 13. Mullen noted that his team was more than ready to finally hit the practice field once again. 

“I think that is something that is big within the team right now, is that ability to get back out on the field, get back to doing football,” Mullen said. “I don’t expect us to come out there and have certainly our sharpest, most crisp practice of the year, but I do expect us to have great energy, excitement and enthusiasm to be on the field to be back out there to get going as we kind of build up to Saturday.”

Contact Brendan Farrell at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Bfarrell727.