Did I maybe write this on Sunday, think I hit publish on it immediately after the 1 p.m. NFL games kicked off, and only realize about nine hours later that I had not, in fact, done that?
No. Of course I didn’t do that. WHY DO YOU ASK?
Anyway, I’m going to try to have something like this up every Sunday morning or early afternoon, along with more postgame thoughts, in the future.
Dan Mullen is a dancin’ man
You know what? I think Dan Mullen likes dancing.
Have to enjoy the Ws! ✊ pic.twitter.com/15HmPyVB1x— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 16, 2018
He’s, um, not particularly good at it, but Mullen has enthusiastically danced to the music at least twice that we know of as Florida Gators head coach: Yesterday, in the locker-room celebration seen above, and on the sidelines in the Gators’ opener, infamously captured by the SEC Network.
Gators up 31-0@CoachDanMullen right now: pic.twitter.com/BZxUnvkZ8C— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 2, 2018
And this is a small thing, to be clear, and not a thing that probably matters much to the Gators’ fortunes on the field, but it is wonderful.
Mullen dancing like a fool — really, like a white dude in his 40s — is Mullen being human and taking life appropriately seriously.
Jim McElwain would talk a lot about loving Earth, Wind, and Fire, but we would see him tapping his foot at practice to “September,” and that was it. I cannot fathom Will Muschamp dancing on a football field, nor do I think Urban Meyer was much of a dancer. Ron Zook, too, probably didn’t dance.
Steve Spurrier? Yeah, I can envision him doing it.
And any part of the human and less self-serious side of a football coach is something fans love to hang on to and root for. People — well, Florida fans — enjoyed Spurrier being an asshole because he would say the snarky things out loud that they (we) whispered. Meyer and Muschamp and McElwain all had their own barbs that Florida fans tried to see as Spurrier-level witticisms because we grew to love Spurrier-level witticisms.
Mullen is now Florida’s coach at a time when Florida’s fans are looking for someone and something to love. He won’t woo every one of those fans by dancing — especially if he doesn’t lead the Gators to enough wins to cut rugs regularly — but his enthusiasm for everything is hard to deny, and he’s easy to root for as a result.
I genuinely love how much Dan Mullen enjoys coaching football. https://t.co/6nWBV6JgMR— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) September 15, 2018
Malik Davis has X-ray, to have MRI
In slightly more serious news, Florida speedster Malik Davis left Saturday’s game with an injury, and would return only in the sense that coming back to Florida’s sideline with a boot on his left foot in the second half is a “return.”
After the game, Mullen updated reporters on Davis:
Mullen says X-ray on RB Malik Davis turned out OK, but they will know more after an MRI. He hobbled off in first half and never returned.— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) September 15, 2018
If Davis is seriously injured, he probably shouldn’t be rushed back: Florida has what looks to be a stable of running backs of comparable quality in Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine, and Dameon Pierce, and while Davis is the fastest of that bunch, he hasn’t yet shown explosive speed in 2018 after suffering a serious knee injury in 2017.
Davis obviously worked hard to get ready for this season after that knee injury, and my guess is he’d rather play than be a healthy scratch, but if he is going to be out for an extended stretch of this season, it might be worth it to him and to Florida to let him sit and take this year as a redshirt season, especially given that his injury-abbreviated freshman year didn’t count as one.
We’ll almost certainly hear more about Davis during Mullen’s presser later today.
The Swamp sets a heat record
How hot was it in The Swamp yesterday? As hot as it’s ever been.
Sorry, Hawai’i... you just weren’t hot enough.— Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) September 16, 2018
We’ve corrected the graphic to show USF as the other scorcher! #GoGators pic.twitter.com/eBFuZHlyeF
Oh, and not only was that game tied for the hottest game in The Swamp ever, it was the hottest September 15 in Gainesville ever ... and that came after a day that tied for the hottest September 14 in Gainesville ever on Friday. And the heat index on the field? An incredible 116, per one UF official.
Any political polemics about global warming aside, the last few days in North-Central and Central Florida have been scorchers — my thermostat briefly read 101 yesterday, and heat indices have been in triple digits throughout Florida this week — and that heat is obviously deeply uncomfortable for basic human existence, much less playing football in pads or standing over metallic bleachers for hours in the sun.
So when idiots hand-wring over attendance (before later conceding that fans just show up when they want to), remember that they largely do so from the relative comfort of air conditioning.
Florida going filmic for highlights
I dunno who convinced Florida’s social media team to use more cinematic filters for some highlights we’ve seen this year, but it’s a great call ...
.@Freddie_iball2 ➡ #Playmaker #GoGators pic.twitter.com/xwCo3wi39r— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 16, 2018
.@ScarlettFever25 ➡ #Playmaker #GoGators pic.twitter.com/nUn5lothOB— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 16, 2018
... at least in moderation.
If every highlight looks like that, instead of what you we see on TV and are conditioned to see from highlights in 2018? It’s going to get stale. But if some do, it’s a cool change-up.
It’s “We Are the Boys” time, too
While I’m calling out a good @GatorsFB thing, I’ll call out a bad one, too.
Tom Petty time.#GoGators pic.twitter.com/fUjyuywDm7— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 15, 2018
The break between the third and fourth quarters has been for singing “We Are the Boys” for decades. It’s been for singing Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” for less than a year.
And while both are very cool traditions that I sincerely hope continue until the heat death of the universe or the end of American football, I don’t think Florida should be advertising its new tradition over or instead of its old tradition.
They’re equally great — the increasingly dated gendering of “We Are the Boys” aside — and uniquely Florida-specific traditions.
Treat them as equally wonderful things, please.