When Dan Mullen was the coach at Mississippi State, he didn’t refer to Ole Miss by name. Instead, he called the Rebels, the “school up north,” as a way to spice up the rivalry.

“The Mississippi State-Ole Miss game is one of the great rivalries in sports,” Mullen said Monday at a press conference as the Florida coach prepares to play the Rebels this week in Oxford. “So to be involved in that, such a huge, huge deal.”

Holding the Egg Bowl trophy is something that is really special, Mullen said. Rivalries and traditions are what make college football so special, he said. He didn’t want to give Ole Miss credit by naming it, “we were the state university of Mississippi.”

“I don’t think I said Ole Miss for nine years, now I say it,” Mullen said. “But that was just all part of the rivalry. It became a pretty big deal. Early on, it was kind of, when I first got there, teams were kind of fighting for their identity and then all of a sudden, during the time when I was there, both teams became top 10 national programs. I think that kind of also bring it to that level, or the rivalry brought it to that level, or the intensity got both teams to that next level of playing. It certainly became a big deal and it became a huge game.”

Mullen also shared that an Ole Miss lady used to tell him she prays for him every day when he was at MSU.

“I pray somebody hires you and gets you the heck out of here,” he recalled her telling him.

In an update to the Gators injury report, Mullen said lineman Ethan White, who had knee surgery, would be out this week, but is expected back soon. Mullen also confirmed that Ethan Pouncey is out for the season after hip surgery. Pouncey previously shared an Instagram photo of himself using crutches.

Mullen also said Florida has not had any players opt out, but added, “it’s only Monday.” Mullen did not release any numbers of players being affected by COVID-19 or contact tracing.