Dan Mullen knew Saturday wasn’t going to be a cakewalk against Tennessee in The Swamp.

In fact, the Volunteers raced out to a 14-10 lead over Mullen’s Gators before Florida seized control of the game.

The Gators eventually racked up 505 total yards and 283 rushing yards against the Volunteers defense. Florida has owned Tennessee in recent history, winning the last 5 games and 16 of the last 17 overall.

Still, Mullen knew this Volunteers team was different under first-year head coach Josh Heupel, and he paid the Vols new head coach and the team a major compliment after the game.

“I mean, coming into the game, I mean, that was a different-looking team than I saw last year, to be honest with you,” Mullen said during his postgame press conference. “How they played, the intensity, the toughness, the physicalness they played with, you know, I give them some credit. I think they’re a much-improved football team.”

It’s true — there’s no comparison to the Vols now than when Jeremy Pruitt was the head coach. The program has life, and while it may lack in overall talent to win big in the SEC, Heupel and his coaching staff have the Vols on the rise.