Everything is so weird.
I’m going to start just like last week because nothing that’s happening this season is normal. I mean that from a football standpoint, but also a little bit of an existential one.
From a football standpoint, a spunky but still flawed and rebuilding football team ventured to take on a top 10 team in their home stadium and came up short. Sure, Florida was playing without countless players due to the virus, and they were coming off a short week of practice after having to take two weeks off, but they’re still Florida. The Gators are a legitimate top 10 team who were figuring things out before the forced break. And while it took them a little bit to get going — thanks in part to a stingy Mizzou team — they eventually figured it out.
There are football things you can and should read into this game. Such as Mizzou’s mental and physical errors which led to a sequence of events to put them down 20-7 going into halftime, when they very well could have been ahead based upon their play over the first quarter and a half. A turnover here, a blown coverage there, and suddenly a spirited effort early pushed you back into a corner.
Then there’s the lack of discipline showed as the game was slipping away, and the offensive line struggles which led to more heat on Connor Bazelak than he’s experienced the last two games. The defense held on and bent early, but didn’t break until the offense put them in some precarious positions, and then the Gators capitalized. Florida is probably the best offense Mizzou has faced so far, and they were able to flip fields and change the flow. Mizzou’s one good drive (their second drive) netted 71 yards and a missed Field Goal. The other 9 offensive drives (before late garbage time drives) managed just 53 yards. Against a depleted defense.
It’s safe to say Mizzou just isn’t quite a finished product yet, despite the success of the previous two weeks.
But the main story might end up being the general idiocy and tomfoolery coming from the head Gator, Dan Mullen, which very much led to the halftime melee. Mullen has had a pretty rough few weeks when it comes to generating poor press. I’m sure Gator fans are fine with it, because he’s still winning games, but this:
Dan Mullen recently:— Jacob Bogage (@jacobbogage) November 1, 2020
- called for a full crowd at The Swamp
- contracted the virus himself
- said it was “unfortunate” and “disappointing” that players would miss practice so they could vote
- instigated a halftime brawl
Is problematic. Saying stupid things isn’t new for football coaches. They’re notoriously out of touch and generally detached from all things current events. As it’s seen as a character flaw to somehow not spend every waking second devoted to football. But Mullen has proven to be especially dense and his reaction to an — admittedly — late hit by Trajan Jeffcoat on Gator Quarterback Kyle Trask was absurd. Yes the hit was late, but to seemingly go after whoever Mullen was after is a serious lack of emotional control reserved for the likes of... oh, i don’t know... Gregg Marshall. Let’s review:
Notice Dan Mullen at the bottom of the screen at the beginning of this clip. Get the hell out of here with that energy, man. https://t.co/BK962qI2Oy— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) November 1, 2020
SEC Network says Dan Mullen told them he was trying to get his team off the field. He went after a ref on the field, according to the tape. And then he did this after the field was cleared. pic.twitter.com/PPw1t8kJZy— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) November 1, 2020
Mullen’s instigations led to a brawl. Players exchanged blows, and the head coaches looked like this:
A couple AP images from tonight's game pic.twitter.com/3DlWXo4LKB— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 1, 2020
Mullen’s last few weeks have been a disgrace https://t.co/dhhfLQNtQf— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 1, 2020
Dan Mullen needs to be fined.— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) November 1, 2020
I agree. Mullen should be embarrassed for himself and his conduct, but he’ll deflect. Which will prove to be a great example for the young men he’s trying to lead. Then in the postgame press conference Mullen showed up in a Darth Vader costume and denied he’d done anything wrong. Cool.
Earlier this year I talked about how impressed I was with how Eli Drinkwitz, a young man running his first high major program and just two years into his head coaching career, was seemingly handling the bumpy newsworthy offseason stuff with incredible poise. His leadership was a big reason Mizzou so easily navigated some tough news cycles. He’s like the anti-Mullen.
Hopefully Drinkwitz will be able to finish his rebuild and get the kinds of players in place he needs to execute his vision. Because I’d rather support a team with a man who knows how to handle himself in difficult situations, and even better when that man wins football games.
Mizzou has next week off to lick some wounds before they take on Georgia. The Bulldogs are an elite defense, but they have a very pedestrian offense.
Here are your other SEC scores:
- Alabama 41, Mississippi State 0
- Georgia 14, Kentucky 3
- Texas A&M 42, Arkansas 31
- Auburn 48, LSU 11
- Ole Miss 54, Vanderbilt 21
South Carolina and Tennessee had the week off.
Yesterday at Rock M
- Missouri vs Florida football GameDay: info, where to watch, predictions
- Who’s the scariest player Mizzou ever faced?
- Gamethread: Mizzou vs Florida
- Florida Defeats Mizzou in the Swamp: 41-17
- Five takeaways from Missouri’s loss in The Swamp