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2018 Orange and Blue Debut, Open Thread: Hope springs eternal, but what’s new for Florida?

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Dan Mullen’s first “game” as Florida’s coach is here. Will the enthusiasm endure?

NCAA Football: Florida-Head Coach Dan Mullen Press Conference Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I’m cautiously optimistic that the Florida Gators are going to look awesome in their spring game on Saturday.

If nothing else, Dan Mullen seems to understand the value of enthusiasm to a football program, and the means of cultivating that enthusiasm among Florida fans — something his predecessor, fatally for his tenure in Gainesville, did not. So I expect to see Mullen’s quarterbacks throw deep and to have the Gators on the field play up their excitement and for everything to be run as if this is the most important, hype-worthy event in the world today.

I also expect Feleipe Franks to throw a bad pick, or something, and for Florida’s long-maligned offensive line to be beaten in puzzling and dismaying ways by the defensive line that has been perpetually ahead of it in practices, and for all those headlines from January through March about Florida’s strength and conditioning program to be belied by players who almost certainly must be healthy and available for the Gators to make their fall a successful one to miss the most important practice of the spring.

I’m excited for the new, to be clear — I just think we’re liable to get more of the old than we probably hope for, too, because change is rarely both radical and immediate.

Let’s see what happens on this Saturday.