The way Paul Finebaum sees it, Dan Mullen went from owning the college football offseason to getting owned by Kirby Smart in a very short span of time.
The momentum of Mullen’s Florida program had reached its pinnacle recently but that momentum has not only seriously been halted, it’s now trending in the wrong direction and taking a serious backseat to what’s going on in Athens right now under Kirby Smart. With the Gators already behind the Bulldogs on the field, the popular SEC Network host recently suggested that Mullen has just been smacked with a serious case of karma following some bold offseason commentary.
The biggest story in the SEC last week was Chris Steele’s decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Steele, a freshman defensive back from California, is the highest-rated prospect signed by Mullen during his tenure in Gainesville but it appears the high school All-American will never play a snap for the Gators. Adding to those woes, the program has suffered several decommitments in the immediate aftermath of Steele’s decision to leave the program.
How big of a perception hit is this news, considering the Florida coaching staff reportedly had a chance to avoid this issue had it simply granted Steele’s request to switch dorm rooms? Finebaum was asked that question during his weekly Monday morning appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program, “The Roundtable.”
“Devastating. Primarily because of Dan Mullen’s mouth. He’s been running it for months, frankly, he’s been running it since he was born,” Finebaum joked on the air. “I was in his office three and a half weeks ago, I heard him running his mouth about Georgia and it caught up to him and now all those people who have been sitting around going, ‘I wonder why he’s doing that?’ are turning on him.
“Is it a cataclysmic event? No. Losing recruits happens all the time, players get into trouble all the time but I think it’s a little bit of karma flying back at him. I thought Kirby Smart won the day and maybe won the war by just shooing Dan Mullen away the other day like a fly on your sandwich at a Fourth of July picnic. We talk with our helmets is what he said and I thought that was the appropriate answer.”
If you missed Kirby Smart’s comments that Finebaum referenced, they came during the Georgia coach’s appearance at the Regions Tradition golf tournament last week in Birmingham.
“I just don’t think you need that,” Kirby Smart during his segment on “The Paul Finebaum Show.” “That is not going to make Georgia great. We are not going to move up in the rankings by what I say. We are going to do it by how we play. We want to talk with our helmets. That is what we always talk about, we want to play a physical brand of football and not do it with our mouthpiece.”
Finebaum closed his thoughts on Mullen by noting that Florida’s coach had been winning the offseason but the timing of all this bad publicity could not have been worse for the Gator coach. With not much going on in the college football world, much of the focus from the media is going to center on Gainesville until something else makes headlines.
“Dan Mullen was winning the offseason, I don’t think anyone was even close to him and now he’s given all of us, let’s let the audience in on a secret, without a lot of oxygen in the college football platform right now, something to talk about,” Finebaum concluded.