Mullen: Offense Has a Ways to Go

The accumulation of injuries on the offensive side of the ball has slowed the progress of the Gator offense this fall, according to Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.

The offense has lost Cornelius Ingram for the season, Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy have practiced little and offensive line starters Jim Tartt, Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins have all missed time for one reason or another. Florida scrimmaged on Tuesday morning, and afterwards I asked Mullen if the injuries throughout the unit had allowed the offense to be where he wanted it to be at this stage of camp.

DM: "I don't think we're where I wanted to be, a lot because of that. The nice thing is a lot of the guys who have been out have played a bunch of football. So when they get back their adjustment is a lot quicker than it would be guys who haven't played a lot. They can really catch up in a hurry. I don't think we're where I'd like to be right now, but it's nice to see we're developing some depth with some other guys getting playing time."

One place where the Gators are really adjusting to an injury is at tight end where the season ending torn ACL of Cornelius Ingram left Florida with just two guys at that position, Aaron Hernandez and Tate Casey. I asked Mullen about the progress at that position.

DM: "Tate's done a really nice job raising his game. Tate's pick it up and it's the best he's looked since I've been here. But he's got to keep going, though. Aaron Hernandez has been doing a real good, so you feel good. I feel good about those two, the thing now is there's no depth, there's nobody behind them so that's what makes you a little bit nervous."

Mullen also touched on the competition between John Brantley and Cameron Newton for the back up quarterback job behind Tim Tebow.

DM: "We let both Cam and Johnny get a lot of reps today and they both did a good job. There's a lot of positives but we'll check out the film to really see and get into the details of what happened today."

He was asked if there is any separation between the two.

DM: "I'm not even paying attention to that, really. We're just trying to develop all of them right now, except Tim is the starter right now and that's how I look at it. All three of them are getting the same number of reps and to me they're all competing with each other."

While Mullen may not yet be concerned about the pecking order at quarterback with the opener still 17 days away, we media folks are. So he was asked if there was one thing that Newton or Brantley need to do to claim the No. 2 job.

DM: "No. Both of them are just constantly developing as a quarterback in managing the offense and honing their skills. Both of them have slightly different skill sets. Taking what they're not great at and improving it is what we spend a lot of time on in practice, instead of just trying to focus on all the positive things they do."

Mullen also had praise of a different kind for redshirt freshman receiver Deonte Thompson.

DM: "Deonte probably had the play of the day today making a block. He picked up a blitz coming in and hit the linebacker and gave Johnny Brantley another second to complete a pass. I thought that was a big time play Deonte made. He's kind of getting to where we were hoping he was when we got him. He's starting to really develop and come into his game."

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