ESPN analyst Dan Mullen is going against his former team when it comes to the Tennessee-Florida game this weekend in The Swamp.
The former Florida head coach turned ESPN analyst recently broke down his thoughts on the upcoming SEC East matchup on ESPN’s The Matt Berrie Show. Mullen, a coach at Florida from 2018-2021, picked Tennessee to snap the nine-game losing streak in Gainesville this Saturday night.
Much of Mullen’s reasoning is based on his trust between head coach Josh Heupel and quarterback Joe Milton.
“I’m going Tennessee,” Mullen said on the show. “I’m still on the Tennessee bandwagon until they get me off. Josh Heupel, the offense has looked good. Joe Milton can make all the plays and I trust Josh Heupel honestly to put him in positions to succeed. We’ve seen little things that you pause on him at times. Certainly not his talent but I think Josh Heupel does a good job of keeping where the offense is going and keeping it in his wheelhouse and easy for him.”
Mullen and Berrie both discussed the importance of Joe Milton to the Tennessee offense. Milton, clearly through the first two weeks, is the biggest x-factor for the Vols’ offense. Milton has shown bursts before but needs to find more ways to help get the offense in rhythm early into the upcoming SEC contests.
On the flip side of the coin, though, is Tennessee’s defense. The Vols’ defensive unit has certainly looked improved in the first two games of the season with the addition of more depth and growth on the roster.
“I think they’re improved defensively to shut Florida down,” Mullen continued on to say. “I think Utah showed it. If you can stop the run game of Florida and make them one dimensional, really shut the run game down, they’re not going to be very good on offense.”
Mullen coached 49 games for the Gators and while not all at home in Gainesville, the former head coach knows how daunting a task playing in The Swamp can be.
“This is a huge game to go on the road and play at Florida,” Mullen said. “Now, Florida might not be where they were years ago, but they’re still Florida, they’re still going to be a good team, it’s still The Swamp on a Saturday night in a huge game.”
Florida (1-1) will host No. 11 Tennessee (2-0) on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.