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To pack Swamp again, UF's Mullen ready to resort to song & dance to help Gators cause

Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Football

For now, Mullen is pushing for another sellout when 11th-ranked Florida (2-1, 0-1 SEC) hosts Tennessee (2-1, 0-0). The Gators-Vols matchup has delivered plenty of drama and high decibel levels at the Swamp, including during Antonio Callaway’s winning touchdown on fourth down in 2015 and Feleipe Franks’ Hail Mary toss to end a 2017 thriller.

“That’s got to be just fun to even be in that environment, that energy, that excitement, that everybody just feels that while they were there,” Mullen said. “There’s passionate Gator fans out there and I think they need to understand that they are critical in the success of this team. They have an important role.

“Obviously, last Saturday was a crazy environment. We need to keep that going. It does nothing but help.”

Richardson watch resumes

Game-changing backup quarterback Anthony Richardson could have played against Alabama, but Mullen was not ready to risk further injuring Richardson’s right hamstring.

Mullen explained Monday, “There’s a big difference between, ‘I’m cleared to play in the game, I’m not going to be 100% but I can’t make the injury worse,’ and, ‘I’m cleared to play in the game, I’m not 100%, and this one- to two-week injury could turn into a six-week injury.’”

 

Richardson’s ailment and availability consumed Gator Nation’s attention leading up to Alabama’s visit and will be watched closely this week.

After straining his hamstring during an 80-yard run Sept. 11 at USF, Richardson practiced some last week. He then underwent an MRI Friday revealing surprising progress.

“But not still at 100%,” Mullen said. “So we wanted to be pretty precautious.”

Expect Richardson’s workload to increase this week, potentially give the Gators a change of pace at QB and big-play threat. Richardson has accounted for touchdowns runs of 80 and 73 yards and scoring passes of 75 and 41 yards during just eight series.

“In meeting with the medical staff,” Mullen said, “there was a pretty solid feeling if he didn’t play in the game, we continue, we’re ahead of where we were, that he would be 100% by this Saturday.”

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