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IT40 People in the Media for 12/29/2018

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UF coach Dan Mullen pushes right buttons to get Gators to the Peach Bowl

Not once did he even bother to tune into one of 38 bowls or three playoff games — an exercise in restraint for a 20-year-old male in possession of a remote control.

“We ain’t in it, so what am I watching it for ... to get mad?” Gardner-Johnson said this week.

This season under new head coach Dan Mullen, Gardner-Johnson and the Gators got even.

Following an impressive and improbable five-win turnaround, No. 10 Florida (9-3) finds itself on one of the biggest stages of the bowl season. The Gators are set to face No. 7 Michigan (10-2) at noon Saturday in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The game will air on ESPN.

“We’re back where we belong,” Gardner-Johnson said.

Mullen, the play-caller for two national-championship teams in Gainesville, is far from satisfied.

“You expect to be playing not just in bowl games, you expect to be playing in New Year's Six bowls and championship bowls,” Mullen said Friday. “You expect to be playing great programs like the University of Michigan.”

Even so, a Peach Bowl appearance and top-10 ranking is a solid first step, given the state of the program upon Mullen’s arrival and the ups and downs the Gators endured this season.

Florida now looks to finish Mullen’s first season on a four-game win streak, culminating with the Gators’ first victory in five tries against the winningest program in college football history. Two of Michigan’s record 953 wins came during the past two years against former coach Jim McElwain’s Gators by a combined score of 74-24.

UF’s 33-17 loss against Michigan to open the 2017 season was barely competitive and strongly hinted changes in the Gators’ program were needed.

After two seasons under McElwain, linebacker David Reese sensed things would be different under Mullen following the first team meeting.

“What I knew is he loves to win,” Reese recalled recently. “And he's a family-type guy and winning is important to him. We were on the same page. We were tired of losing. Just knowing that, we bought in as a group.

“And I love his enthusiasm, his energy that he brings every day.”

Buy-in and belief would be critical as Mullen and his staff aimed to completely overhaul the program.

The Gators’ new offseason approach under strength coach Nick Savage would be a shock to the system. On Day 1, the Gators were handed a thick, heavy rope each player had to hold onto — or else — during a run across campus.

“I kind of knew things were going to change then, by the way he was making us not drop the rope and if you dropped it there was big consequences after,” junior receiver Freddie Swain said. “If you’re running down the road and you fall with the rope, your team can’t stop. You kind of got to catch your feet before they drag you down the road.

“If you let it go, you get ripped by the coaches, you get ripped by your team, just different consequences.”

Swain was a fast learner.

“I ain’t never drop it,” he said.

By the start of spring practices, the Gators had gotten in lockstep, knowing the alternative was to get left behind.

“The biggest thing is teaching them to compete at everything we do,” said offensive line coach John Hevesy, who has served on the same staff with Mullen since 2001. “From the day we walked in, it’s in everything we do, whether it’s the classroom, whether it’s the weight room, whether it’s the agility drills, whether it’s in the game, in practice .... everything.”

Mullen likes to say he doesn’t care whether he’s just thumb-wrestling, he wants to win.

Quarterback Feleipe Franks has yet to tangle with his head coach, though other players have — and lost.

“He cheats, though,” Franks joked, noting Mullen likes to start the match quickly and catch his opponent off guard.

The 46-year-old’s competitive edge and youthful exuberance trickles down to his team.

“I think the players feel the passion within him,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “I think when players feel your passion and believe in what you’re selling or what you’re presenting, I think it allows them to buy in.

“As you get guys to buy in, I think it can breed throughout the team.”

The Gators’ belief in Mullen and the program’s direction would be tested.

Following a feel-good 53-6 win over Charleston Southern in the season opener, the Gators were manhandled at home during their first loss to Kentucky in 32 years.

Afterward, Mullen publicly questioned his team’s toughness. The following week Florida responded with a 47-21 romp at rival Tennessee that showcased the Gators’ potential in all three phases of the game.

“I feel like that was the best game we played,” Swain said. “We hit on all cylinders.”

The Gators then rolled to three more SEC wins, two of them against No. 23 Mississippi State and No. 5 LSU on consecutive weeks.

But Florida had to pick itself up again following back-to-back losses to Georgia and Missouri by a combined score of 74-34. Trailing by 17 points at home to South Carolina a week after the Missouri loss, the Gators rallied for a 35-31 decision.

“We could've easily been 4-7, 5-6 this year ... after that South Carolina win, that really changed the momentum of the season,” Reese said. “We almost let that game slip away. But we realized we could be facing the same thing that we previously just faced the year before.”

Instead, the Gators ended the season ranked the top 10 for the first time since 2012 and with a win could finish with their highest ranking since the 2009 team finished No. 3.

Mullen himself has a chance to join Stanford’s Clark Shaughnessy (1940) and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (2013) as the only Power 5 coaches to record double-digit wins after inheriting a team that had won fewer than five the previous season.

“He pushes all the right buttons at all the right times,” senior pass rusher CeCe Jefferson said of Mullen. “He’ll motivate you to make you want to run through a brick wall for him. He understands his players; he’ll sit down and talk with you about stuff. He also knows football — his resumé speaks for itself.

“He’s definitely a guy that makes you want to go out and play for him.”

The 13-month journey for the Gators to reach the Peach Bowl began upon Mullen’s hiring in late November 2017. Looking back, he cannot pinpoint a critical moment or turning point in the process.

“I think the key was a lack of resistance,” Mullen said Friday. “Everything that we asked our guys to do, they welcomed.”

Along the way, little-used fifth-year senior tight end Moral Stephens caught a game-winning touchdown at Mississippi State and one-time college baseball player Lucas Krull threw a first-down pass to Franks on a trick play to beat LSU.

Franks went from the scapegoat for the 2017 season to a solid SEC quarterback, while Gardner-Johnson turned into a top playmaker after a shaky sophomore season and now is headed for the NFL. Up and down the Gators’ roster are examples of players who are making a mark under Mullen.

The college football world has noticed.

“You have freshmen that are playing that have come right in and coached right up right out of high school. That’s been really impressive,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “You’ve got your sophomores, your redshirt juniors, you’ve got seniors, a few fifth-year seniors. That’s really impressive to come in as a first-year coach and get the buy-in from the whole team.

“It’s really a good year of coaching for Dan and his staff.”

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Written by top40

Hello Again and Thanks for reading it is I David "Top40" Ellenberger with an update on the status of my lawsuit against Alphabet inc case #20-CV-04877-SVK  and the website and life in general. By now if you regularly visit InternetTop40.com you may have read this section "author info" or Bio. So I am adding to it with more bio and more info. I originally liked the idea of voting on the internet 20-25 years ago when I first got online with WebTV (does anyone remember that?). The technology at that time was not advanced enough to easily be able to vote online or watch videos or much else for that matter but I was hooked and look at what we can do now with videos, IOT, and everything else, but I digress. I started InternetTop40.com about 5 years ago and the user base has been going up steadily ever since. I wanted to be another Facebook, with music and voting and that is all coming together slowly but surely. BTW if you want to help or have any interest please feel free to email me anytime.  Now in my previous Author Info or bio page I made it clear or at least I thought I made it clear, I am personally suing Alphabet inc. in Federal Court for Fraud. I have evidence to prove they are not counting all the pageviews, among other things and defrauding myself and probably millions of other website owners and content creators out of Billions of dollars. So if I wasn't clear or you didn't know it's true I am suing Alphabet inc. in Federal Court for Fraud the case was recently moved from my state of Kentucky to N. California to make it easier for Alphabet inc. to steam roll me or so they think. Needless to say if you are interested and I hope you are you can look the case up online under my name "David Russell Ellenberger" or the case # which is 20-CV-04877-SVK.

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I'm telling you we can do something and I David Russell Ellenberger an average citizen Content Creator am saying to you, I'm not scared of Google because I have nothing left to loose.  I David Russell Ellenberger am telling you there is something you too can do, if nothing else, tell all your friends to come to InternetTop40.com aka IT40, believe these words and Create your Content. Further I promise to you and all who read this if I do prevail in my lawsuit against Alphabet Inc. I will use half of any monies I may receive to pay "content creators" a living wage. I pledge to anyone who is reading this, I will use half of any monies I may receive to help those who really do want to work on the internet and create content and tell us what they think. I will use half of any money so you can Get Paid, I want you to get paid for the content you create and get paid everyday and Get Paid to Vote create data and to be able to do this work online and from your home or anywhere in the world you care to be. Because in the words of an ancient scholar Y-O-U are the business Y-O-U are creating all the data, Y-O-U are the content creators and Y-O-U are all that matters.

Now the main thing I want you to take away form this and to know, Alphabet inc. is and has been committing fraud against you, me and everyone who uses the internet. I don't think Google started out to defraud the world it has just degenerated into this endless morass of corruption and fraud and no one seems to care, Well I care and I know you care too.  Sadly Google has been doing this with impunity for years and it is only getting worse. Please don't let them fool you with their lies and obfuscation. Do some research create some content build a website and research the analytics numbers you will find I am right. Google owes you, me and everyone online thousands if not 10's of thousands of dollars for all the data and advertising dollars they have co-opted from you and the rest of the world. So join with me don't use any Google products or file your own lawsuit in federal court against Alphabet inc. I will be glad to help you any way I can and show you how to do it if need be. It will take a sincere effort on your part but it will definitely help your self esteem, society and the world.

Now that's about all I have to say on this subject for now.  I will tell you this if you want more information or you have questions or comments for me, my email is [email protected] Thank you for reading looking and listening and believing in InternetTop40.com Please tell all your friends about us and don't forget to vote Thumbs up or down and refresh your page when your done. oh yeah and those funny old men running for president vote on one of them too or not. One last Thing, I need all the help I can get I am only 1 person but together and with todays technology we can move mountains and reframe society and our world the way we want it to be. Thank you ttyl

 

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