There’s a lot Dan Mullen admittedly doesn’t know right now. So instead he’s operating within what he does know.
“As of right now, we’re planning a training camp as normal. We’re planning a normal regular season because that’s what we can know at this point.”
While the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to keep the entire country—and subsequently college sports—in flux, Mullen and the Florida Gators are keeping their focus on the things they can control.
“I think it’s a waste of energy sometime to speculate on all the different things that can happen. What we have to do is be prepared to adjust to whatever does happen. As we get knowledge and as we get information and some solid fact, we’ll adjust accordingly at that point.”
It’s advice that really can be applied to a number of areas of our lives currently and as Mullen said it while on a call with local media, I couldn’t help but think of something my dad has said my whole life; “When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.”
When you don’t know what tomorrow holds, focus on today. When you don’t know how others around you are going to react, just do what you know is right. When you don’t know how you’re going to possibly cross the chasm in front of you, just take one step at time where you know you can.
No matter what Las Vegas or the experts or your neighbors cousin who is a psychic says, no one really knows what is going to happen in the world the next few months, let alone with college football. That’s a scary thought for sect of the population—coaches and athletes—that depend largely on routine. So when that is ripped out from underneath them, what do they do?
What they know to do.
“I’m trying to focus on with all our guys - which is really hard to do with everything going on with the pandemic right now - is worrying about what we can control … what we know and what we can control.
"I think one thing that is difficult as you brought up is routine. I think it’s difficult not having a routine for the coaches and it’s not having a great routine with the players right now. I think that is tricky.”
Training camp for the Gators is scheduled to begin August 7 and Mullen is treating that as a given right now, because it’s the only solid date he has. As for anything after that?
Well before he can answer that question, his phone rings.
“Hold on one second for me because we are in the middle of several different recruiting visits, so hold on.”
In a way, that five minutes that Mullen left the Zoom call with local reporters to take a call from a recruit, was the most normal part of everything. Because when you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do…and in the SEC, that means recruit every day or die. That’s the routine that Dan Mullen can keep up with right now. And it’s the model by which he’ll lead his players as they continue to return to campus.
"Our coaches’ life right now, we tried to create as much of a positive routine for our players as we can. A positive routine for the coaching staff. And continue to be productive on the things we can worry about and the things that we can control. And that’s the one thing that is. One of the hardest things that we have probably had to deal with, to me, is not being around our players. I love the personal interaction of our players. When you get on a team meeting and you get on the Zoom call and you’re looking at ever how many boxes and can fit on per screen, and then I try to scroll through the screen just to even see everyone’s face. I think one of the hardest ones is not dealing with the personal face-to-face, the personal interaction with our players on a regular basis.
“I think you can talk to a lot of our players, if there’s one thing they’re hungry for is to get back to somewhat of a routine. Even though it’s still kind of a very limited routine, but to have as much of a little bit of routine they can fall back on as possible. I think that’s been one of the trickier parts of things. But, you know, as you keep hearing me say, it’s obviously much easier to say than do, which is to try and worry about what you can control.”