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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 5, 2020
DAN MULLEN: We needed to take one running back in this recruiting class, and we decided early on he was the guy, and so sometimes you'll consider other guys if it's somebody that we thought was special but we didn't really find that guy that we felt all in on yet. I don't know, it's still a long way. So we'd consider somebody else. We had to get the one, and he was kind of the one early we identified, and that kind of filled up the running backs, so we've looked for someone special beyond that that if we wanted to sign over at the running back position.
Q. How big of a gut punch was Avante?
DAN MULLEN: No, it was good. I mean, I like him. I thought this was a really good place for him to be for the type of kid he is. I think he's a really good person and like him as a kid, and I always wish guys the best. I think we had one of the top defensive back signing classes already in the country, so really not that much. It would have been kind of a nice addition to that at the end, but I think if you look at who we brought in in this DB class, I think we have one of the top DB classes already in the country, so it's not that big a deal.
Q. How much did it change things logistically for y'all and with relationships having Larry Scott move on last week?
DAN MULLEN: It really didn't affect -- you know, I think that's part of early signing with some of that stability. I'm really happy for Larry. The opportunity to be a head coach, you know, he and I met and talked about that, and those opportunities are hard to come by. Wherever you are, just the opportunity to be a head coach, and it was something that I think he'd gotten the opportunity to be an interim head coach. He'd been in the mix for several jobs, didn't get it, and had this opportunity, and he and I met on multiple occasions on it and saying, you know, I just -- I want to give it a shot, and I could never blame anybody for wanting to try it. I love what I do. Obviously everybody wants to have the opportunity to be a head coach and run your own program and implement it your way.
So I'm really happy for him. But it really didn't have any effect on anything down the stretch.
Q. When will the waiver process start for the transfers?
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, we're going to start them now. I know in compliance they've got a lot of things going on. When you deal with that, it's a long time from now that we need to, so we'll start the process, and usually we kind of go one at a time with those guys to see how it all goes.
Q. I know you've had him on lock for a while, but you mentioned some of the defensive guys you've gotten. How much does Dexter mean to what you're looking to build to the future?
DAN MULLEN: Well, huge. You're looking at a guy -- I think in this league, you've got to be able to dominate the line of scrimmage. You really want to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and it really helps if you look at my history with defensive linemen. I don't know, we got to see the Super Bowl the other day, an unheralded guy Chris Jones, well, he'd been an unheralded guy I guess for a long time. He was a major impact player. And you go to the Fletcher Coxes and the Jeffrey Simmons and all these NFL superstars, guys that can change games on their own.
I hope that he's one of those guys. I think he's got the potential to be. We're going to coach him, develop him, help him continue to grow, but Gervon is a guy who can come in and be one of those guys that can change games by himself.
Q. Prior to Williams switching, it seemed like you guys had locked a lot of the in-state recruits. How good does it feel to know and lock down kind of the home state crowd?
DAN MULLEN: Well, I think it's huge. You look, we are the University of Florida. This is the flagship school of the state, and this is where kids in the state want to come play. They want to represent the state of Florida and play at their home university. So I think that's so important for us to have those top players come here and play.
You go back and you look at the 2006 and 2008 National Championship teams, there were a lot of guys from the state of Florida on that roster. We still nationally recruit, but a lot of the top players in Florida back then we always deciding to come to school here, and it's great that we're kind of building that again back into the future.
Q. What do you see in Henderson, and who would win in a match-up between him and his brother?
DAN MULLEN: Well, his brother has probably got a little more technique on him right now, but I think it would be interesting, because with Xzavier the one thing you see when you put him next to him, he's bigger than his brother. You know, and he's still in high school. He hasn't been through the program developing yet. He's an elite track guy, so I think he's got the potential -- once we coach him up a little bit, I don't know, I might have to go with Xzavier right then once we get him coached up a little bit, with some technique things to go work on, because the physical tools, he might win that battle with physical tools.
Q. How big was the addition of the two receivers, especially given you just had one signed in December?
DAN MULLEN: Well, one of the things that we look at is we go -- within the program is making sure we don't -- it's not about quantity to me, it's about quality, it's about getting the right guys in this program and making sure we do it and not just, hey, we're just going to fill a spot to fill a spot, to get the right guy. So I think we felt pretty confident after the first signing period. We felt pretty confident with some of the guys that we were going to get, and obviously we ended up getting those guys that we think are major impact players for us.
You know, when you look at who we're bringing in, who we're returning on the team, I know it might be some new faces, but there's some very talented guys that are out there. There's some familiar faces coming back, obviously, at the top of the depth chart, but as we like to roll receivers through, I think there will be a lot more names that are household names at the end of the season.
Q. What's it say about the enthusiasm or buy-in that only one guy went to the NFL this year instead of four, and there are 11 early enrollees this year?
DAN MULLEN: Well, I think one thing. The early enrollees, I think that's a big benefit. That's always a personal choice for kids, and I explain that to them that way because I can give you pros and cons on both sides of it.
The NFL deal, I think there's a lot more trust in the program, and I think when we sit down with the guys now, having been here for another year, and they look, and we say, hey, we explain the whole process. I think last year there were probably some guys, look, and said, hey, you just got here, I just met you. I'm going to listen to these people over here. I just met you. And this year now I think there's a lot more trust in the program that we sit down and lay out and give them the exact same information as we gave the guy before, I think there's a lot more trust in them looking at it and making good decisions.
I think hopefully it works out for everybody. You never know. But I think everybody that made decisions, whether it was to leave or come back, made very good decisions.
Q. Dan, you addressed the needs on the offensive line. Now you've got basically three deep at every possession on the offensive line, added the depth on the defensive line. How good do you feel now, like it is a line of scrimmage league. How good do you feel about your depth?
DAN MULLEN: Well, the depth is getting there. We've got some really solid young guys. Now we've got to get that depth of not just bodies but guys ready to play. The great thing is having a bunch of those guys enroll early so that they get to go through spring and they get to train, they get to transform their body a little bit.
At this time last year, everybody was looking at an Ethan White, right, and saying, okay, who's this major project, but by about game 7 or 8, he was ready to go. By coming in early, learning the system, getting to play, getting in shape, going through off-season conditioning. Having our guys enroll early on the offensive line gives them that jump and that advantage to do that which can give us the opportunity to add depth right away this season.
Q. Also, the overall roster it seems that you've kind of plugged the holes in the last two years. You've got what you could really call an SEC roster now.
DAN MULLEN: Well, thanks, we'll see. We'll find out next fall, won't we.
No, I think one of the things I tried to do was get the balance back within the roster, which is always going to be a little bit fluctuating with guys -- with the world of transfers today, with guys leaving early to the NFL and that. But you want to be able to get -- honestly, in the '21 recruiting class, which we're meeting on to start with today and making sure -- obviously not starting today, we've been on it for quite a while, but when your complete shift is 100 percent that, which to be honest, 90 percent of it has been that for a while, too, but in the '22 class, you want to get to the point now where you are kind of recruiting a team. You have that balance. You're recruiting a quarterback, a running back, a tight end, a couple three wide receivers, four O-linemen, four D-linemen, an outside backer, two inside backers, five DBs. You kind of recruit that roster and that balance all the way through the program, and I think we're getting closer to doing that, kind of recruiting a team each year.
Q. Coach, any possibility of adding more high schoolers to this class, either today or down the road?
DAN MULLEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. There's always a possibility of everything, right? It's college football. There's everything, right? Heck, it's only 2:10, you know. I met with savage, everything good, the roster, everything is in good shape. It's only 2:10, so everything is good at this point, but we'll see. It's only 2:00 in the afternoon.
Q. What do you like about Justin Shorter's game?
DAN MULLEN: Well, obviously he's a guy that's got tremendous size and athleticism. He's a mismatch at the outside, got great speed, good hands, good route runner, can be a mismatch. So I love that part of him, watching him on film, both from high school and at Penn State.
But then when you get around him and you get around him as a person and his family, great kid, high-character guy, hard worker, really fits what we are as a program, and that's what I'm really excited to get him here. I know he's really excited to get here and be a part of it, and I'm really excited to get him here.
Q. You mentioned kind of the high school and college film. With him and Lingard, how much of it is high school film, how much of it is trying to balance what you've seen from them in college?
DAN MULLEN: Well, I think you start with high school, know what I mean, because a lot of the times we're watching the high school films now so you're comparing them to the guys you're currently recruiting. You say, okay, boy, where would we rate him right now, and he would be rated really -- this is where we would rate him in this current recruiting class. And then you'd go and try to watch some college film and see, and understanding he's a young guy adjusting to that part of it, and you just see is it the stuff that we saw in high school, are we still seeing that type of player in college, and that's how we evaluate it.
Q. All three receivers, 6'4". How much do you like big receivers? Do you kind of target them?
DAN MULLEN: Well, I like receivers that can catch, run and score touchdowns. No, a lot of it's creating match-ups. So what is your match-up advantage. 6'4", you have a height advantage. A guy that runs low 4.3s you have a speed advantage, a guy that's lightning quick. You're looking for what are the things -- what physical traits maybe create match-up problems for defense. We were able to get a bunch of tall guys that create size match-up problems for defenses. They all have great ball skills and all are pretty fast, have speed to take top off of coverages.
It'll be interesting moving forward. We're going to look, next year you balance it out some with we've got to get some guys in the slot or guys that are after-the-catch dynamic guys, as well, so -- but that's for this time next year to talk about those guys, I guess.
Q. When you're evaluating your assistant coaches, your staff, how do you measure their recruiting success, and where do you kind of place that as far as what their ability of how important that is for them?
DAN MULLEN: Well, I think it's a huge, it's a major part of their evaluation as a staff. Now, how do I evaluate it? I evaluate it, did you do a quality job recruiting guys in your area, did you do a quality job recruiting guys at your position, not just the guys that we got, did we do a good job recruiting. When you look back and say, did we do everything we could to get this guy, and if the answer is yes, you know, hey, he just didn't come to you, he went somewhere else.
You know, if the answer is no, then what were the mistakes, what were the issues, what did we do wrong, what could we have done differently, and you know, and that's kind of what would go into their evaluation. I'll tell you you did a great job, you did everything we could have done to get this guy, and as I look at it, I go back and hey, we talked to him, I wrote him letters, we did this, we visited him. Every time we could get to the school, we went to the school. We saw him play a game. We had him on campus multiple times. We had him on campus with an official visit, with the family, home visits, everything we could do. Kid decided to go somewhere else, I mean, that happens.
And so for us, that's kind of how I evaluate with the assistant coaches, and if there's something we missed, then that's what you've got to fix and that's what you put as the negative aspect of what would be in the evaluation of the recruiting process of that coach.
Q. (No microphone.)
DAN MULLEN: Well, I mean, it's early. We'll see. But I mean, as far as the guys maybe that don't get all the attention, Tre'Vez Johnson is a guy I said right from the beginning that some people might sleep on. Lamar Goods, I'm really excited to have him. I've seen him really progress since he's been on campus.
You know, those are a couple guys that jump out to me that maybe weren't -- I could say Gervon Dexter. That's not like going out on a limb maybe, or Xzavier Henderson, that's not really going out on a limb, that way. But it's kind of those guys to me -- I think generally speaking, if you see a guy, most of the times that we recruited that might not have all the stars or accolades, those are probably the guys that I would say, because we saw something in them. That's what got them here, right.
I think if you look back last year and everyone -- I'll take Ethan White. I think he was our -- according to websites, he was our lowest ranked recruit, and he played the most. Honestly, I think it's two years in a row because I think actually Evan had that the year before. He was our lowest ranked recruit and he played the most. It's kind of a deal that way.
But I think when you see some guys, I think when we evaluate, we trust our evaluation process and what we do and what we see. You know, and I think you might see that in some of our wide receivers coming up this year, the ones -- I'm talking about the ones that signed last year that everyone was like, oh, okay, all right. Wait and see. I'll let y'all be the judge of that afterwards, those three young wide-outs.
Q. You won't face him potentially until 2025, but what do you think about Mike Leach landing at -- an SEC title game maybe.
DAN MULLEN: That would be awesome.
Q. Landing at Mississippi State.
DAN MULLEN: As long as we're there, I don't care who we're playing. '25?
Q. What do you think his addition does for that school? I think you told us after the game last year you guys went out to --
DAN MULLEN: I did, and I've studied him, I talked to Mike. I think Mike is a great football coach. I always think -- I'll talk like Scott and I will have casual conversations, like hey, job is open, who do you like, who are candidates you like, and he'll ask me. Mike is always someone that's up there for me. And especially like you look, he -- I think he has a great system that he believes in and he knows inside and out. And when you have that, I mean, that gives you -- you're very comfortable with what you do and you know what you're doing and you're trying to build around that.
You know, I mean, you look and where he's been and where he's had success, and I don't want to downplay schools, but he's had a lot of success at Texas Tech and Washington State and they're not the schools that you're calling your premier schools in the conference.
You know, and now he's at Mississippi State. I can understand and respect that. I was at Mississippi State, and I love Starkville, love the people of Mississippi, love Mississippi State, but no one is jumping up and saying, this is the premier program in the Southeastern Conference. But you know what, he's had a lot of success winning at schools that weren't.
And so I obviously haven't done it as well. I have a lot of respect for him, and I think he'll do a great job there.
Q. This is a little out of left field. A couple years ago the helicopter recruiting kind of made a buzz. With the tragic death with Kobe Bryant, does it make you take pause for a second?
DAN MULLEN: It does. I'll be honest with you. I've gotten on them a bunch in recruiting, and I more or less do it out of necessity within looking at a schedule to get it done. I think there's probably a lot of people that just do it for flash, just hey, spend whatever, do whatever, let's make a splash and try to land a helicopter. Mine is more out of necessity of I have to get to these six locations in one day, and that's the only way you're going to make that happen. So I've done it out of necessity.
We have a lot of our coaches who aren't big fans of it. My wife is not a big fan of it. So obviously when you see those tragedies, I mean, it just -- I mean, like our whole staff, that was kind of everybody in shock when we saw that. It happened -- we were in a staff meeting, someone came in and said it, so I think everybody was kind of like, that can't be right.
But it does give you pause to think -- and to do that. Even my son, we flew down to the Super Bowl on Sunday, and he's like, hey, this is the first time we've gotten on the planes -- I'd been on them, but he was nervous. He's like, this is the first time we've gotten on the plane since what happened to Kobe. So he was a little nervous.
You know, and you don't always think of that. But it really makes you appreciate what you have, and it makes you appreciate to go enjoy and live life every day. I think he's a guy who certainly did that, and if you want to judge success in life off of how much you impact people's lives, which I think is the best way that you can judge success is how you impact other people's lives, he had a very, very, very successful life, and it was a very tragic end.
Q. Have you held a couple spots maybe open for, say, a graduate transfer after the spring?
DAN MULLEN: Well, we'll see. I don't know how many spots we've held, but in today's world, there -- a couple years ago if a guy transferred it was a little bit bigger deal than it is now. You know, and you look at some of our guys, we had two great players transfer in December out of our program who -- I mean, both played significant playmakers for us, but are going into their final year of football, so you sit down with them and you understand, years ago that probably -- even up to three or four years ago that probably wouldn't have been the case. Those guys would have stuck it out, finished with your program.
There's always going to be that possibility for another spot or two coming up that we'll create, and there may be some openings that get created within our team.
Q. Is this a situation where maybe that you'd be taking -- you're already thinking, okay, if somebody comes up at say this position, I'll be looking at such-at-such --
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, some of it is when you look at the roster, what we'll do is you'll look at a roster and you'll look at a gap if there's any gaps in the roster and say, okay, that would be somewhere where we'd consider a transfer. Hey, we don't have any sophomore this positions, so if a transfer came open, that would be something we'd consider. Or hey, we feel good but a grad transfer would help us at this spot, then you'd consider a grad transfer as kind of a one-year player type of deal.
You know, or you get a two-year grad transfer like we did with Adam Shuler.
I think part of it is we have had a lot of success with our transfers. I think part of it is we vet, do our homework and we don't just bring guys in just to fill like depth to be like the backup or whatever -- a backup player as a transfer. Our guys that come in, we're bringing them in to make an impact on the team, and that's why we've had success, and I think that's why guys probably when they look at us, if we go after them as a transfer that we're a very attractive option.
Q. A couple housekeeping things. There's been some chatter about some new analysts joining the program.
DAN MULLEN: We haven't heard anybody yet, but I usually wait until after signing day because a lot of times everybody is -- they're looking for on-the-field full-time position jobs. As that kind of wraps up, then it is. I don't want to hire a guy and then he leaves a week later. But we have a list of candidates in choice. We're not going to hire all of them, but we're going to have a couple that will probably join our staff in the next couple weeks.
Q. We asked you several weeks back when the Cowboys' speculation was going on. You said you and Scott had at least some passing conversations about your future. Have you had any more substantial talks?
DAN MULLEN: I haven't. If he did, he'd do that more with my agent to see, and I think they were going to do that. I mean, obviously I'm here. I'm going to be here, so it's not like it's something that isn't a huge rush.
Q. (No microphone.)
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, the only thing I missed were the commercials, and that's like the biggest. It was unbelievable. I'm so blessed to be able to go with my son for that, and that was his birthday present, to go to the game. But the one thing I notice you miss at the game are the commercials, and that's kind of what a lot of people are -- a lot of people are talking about the game and a lot of people are talking about the commercials. I got to catch the game, but I'm behind on the commercials. I did see something on Twitter with Tom Brady's deal, which was pretty cool. I was there for the halftime act, but I was up higher. You guys probably had a lot closer up angles. I heard there were a lot of close-up angles.
It was really cool, though. I will say with all the lights -- I don't know if y'all saw it. Like you had a little thing in the seat that had lights, and so the stadium lit up all different colors with these lights all during the halftime show, which was really cool in person. But I mean, where I was, Shakira and J-Lo were about that big. I think it's like squish them, squish them.
I had really good seats. I'm not complaining about my seats. I'm just saying J-Lo and Shakira were like that big. Unless you're one of those people -- like my son, hey -- listen, I can only do so much. I didn't get us running on the field, plus good seats, plus this. We hit som Top Golf before we got there.
Q. Seeing Steve in his new role --
DAN MULLEN: I'm sure Steve was probably on the field, right? I thought I saw Steve on stage because he's in that big-time role now.
Q. Do you plan to hire a straight replacement for Larry or are you open to shifting guys around?
DAN MULLEN: Yes. Well, we might shift a bit. I think we might shift certain duties around, but we'll probably hire a tight ends coach. Or a guy that's more of a background with tight ends. But if we shift out, we might shift some -- in the next couple weeks I might have some stuff that I'm going to shift certain duties around on our staff of what they're doing besides their actual just -- individual what their position coach would be.
Q. Why are we seeing a trend of ex-coaches ending up in analyst roles?
DAN MULLEN: I think part of it -- I don't know, everybody runs their program a little bit differently. I think guys like to work, so I think that, hey, I got fired, I'm going to sit this year out and wait to get a job next year. I'll be honest with you, I think there's probably some wives at home that don't love that option, and it's okay to spend some time -- you might not have to go all the time, like you were traveling recruiting and never home, but don't need you home all the time option, so it becomes something good. Also I think, though, if you look at a guy, and a lot of them are kind of -- like some head coaches and guys are former head coaches and sitting there saying, okay, I've done it my way for this many years, I have the opportunity to go get some experience, I get to go work, I get to stay in the game, be on the cutting edge of the game and see how a different program is run to help me for the future.
You look at our three analysts that came with us this year, all three of them did an amazing job. Huge factor within our program, all three of them land great jobs coming out of there. So I think it was very beneficial to us, and if you talk to them, it was very beneficial to them, as well.
Q. (Regarding Top Golf experience.)
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, different games. He won some, I won some. It's tough, though, like some, he's only 10 so he can't hit it as far as I can hit it. So like the one where you've got to hit all the target going all the way back, well, he's like, that's not fair, I can't hit it that far. But it was like a little back and forth on some stuff. He won the pressure, like where you've got to hit the exact number and the target. I think it took me 24 shots, it took him 17, which 24 I think is pretty good.
You know what, it was fun. It's a fun -- it's a cool deal. I thought it would be packed. I mean, that looks like it would be a fun deal to go watch the Super Bowl and do that while everything is going on. It would be a heck of a party time.
Q. (No microphone.)
DAN MULLEN: Population, yeah, you've got to have a certain population for certain things, and what else are we getting? Someone said we're getting like a Dave & Buster's maybe. Yes? That's pretty big time. But that's big time. Like you can't have everything for our population. We're growing the population, right. You've got the premier football team in the state right here. So some other places need Top Golf. They don't have as good a football program as us so they've got to have Top Golf.
Q. What did you think about Feleipe's decision to go to Arkansas and the fit for him there?
DAN MULLEN: Let's see. I don't really know the fit because they've got a whole new coaching staff coming in there. You know, good coach. I don't know -- I haven't paid much attention. We're not playing them with the offense they're going to run and all that. For him personally. But I'm really happy for him. I think the big thing for him is getting him -- I wanted him to be able to get somewhere, as I told him, where he's going to be able to highlight his skills, enjoy himself and make sure he's on the field playing, and it looks like that's going to work out for him there. Really happy for him, and I know -- I will say this: As everybody that called me, I know he will do an amazing job, not just on the field but off the field as a leader and he'll help lift up that program. I talked to several coaches about him and said, he is a guy that you want in your program. He's a guy that will help lead in the off-season and raise the bar for everybody and work his tail off. You know, I'm happy for him.
Q. With ex-coaches and players coming back and talking about that analysis role, could you ever see a world in which Tim Tebow would come and do something like that?
DAN MULLEN: No, not -- huh? I'm sorry. Sorry. No, knowing Tim, and I love Tim, I just don't see that coaching football lifestyle fits his mission in life. I just don't see the crossover between the two. I think he'd do an amazing job. I'd love to have him. He knows that. If he wanted to coach, I'm sure this would be a great place for him to start at, coming to be a part of the Florida program.
I just think, you know, and he's got night to shine. He's coming up, he'll be here in Gainesville on Friday night, and you just see the impact he makes around the world, I mean, he doesn't -- I think he's too busy to be sitting there texting 17 year old recruits all day long. Right? And trying to see what hat they're going to throw on. He's around the world helping people from every corner of the world. I don't know that that would fit who he is.
How was the wedding? Never been to South Africa before. It was amazing. It was beautiful place. One, it was amaze to be in South Africa. Hopefully I get to go back and spend more than 72 hours there. Not that there's a lot of great time to get married when you're a football coach, hence why Tim probably wouldn't fit in the football coaching world. You know, to be able to spend a lot of time to go to weddings and safaris and do other stuff, but Cape Town was beautiful, amazing place to be. We had a great time. The wedding was spectacular, which you wouldn't expect anything less from Demi, and to just see them and how happy they were together and everybody, it was really special, and everything about it was pretty breathtaking. We had a great time, had a lot of fun, and I don't know, I saw like a honeymoon video the other day, and that's on my bucket list, too, but again, being a football coach in the Maldives, there's a lot of things I need to do, so when Florida gets rid of me, I don't know that I'm jumping right into the analyst position. I might actually take some time to go around the world for a year and see some different things and check off a bunch of things on my bucket list.
Q. How have the January enrollees done in workouts, and are any of them really standing out?
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, you know, I'm really pleased with them. I think they've done a good job. I think everybody is in pretty good shape. One of the things I told all of them before they got here, I don't care how much you lift weights. I could care less whether you can lift 400 pounds or 100 pounds. I just care that you're in good physical condition so that you can do the workout.
They've done a great job with that, all of them. Really positive in their growth development and what they've been able to do within the workouts so far, so it's not like, hey, we've had to hold this guy back. They've finished every workout. We had mat drills this morning, and I mean, you wouldn't have been able to say that guy is a freshman that just got here, so I'm really pleased with how they've done that.
But we've got a couple more weeks of that and then we'll get into spring ball to see how it translates to football, but I'm really pleased with all of them so far.
Q. Having finished seventh and now sixth in the nation, the next step is kind of obvious --
DAN MULLEN: Five? I'm hoping to go higher, but --
Q. So what is the next step?
DAN MULLEN: Well, hopefully it's above five. You know, I think for us, within the program, it's hard to say. I think we want to develop a consistent winner. We've done that for two years. We want to win to develop consistent winners, and if you do that, you consistently win, you have the opportunity to win championships. And you know, whether this is the year or not, we'll find out. An awful lot goes into it, into whether or not you're -- especially in this league. And the talent of teams and the depth of teams in this league, you look at today, go on one of the recruiting sites and take the -- I don't know, take the top seven SEC teams, and I think you can get seven in the top 14, right. Then so -- in theory then, another conference or take eight in the top 16. That would mean the other eight schools should be in their own conference, which would be like a conference, right, of like, what, Ohio State, Penn State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Texas, Notre Dame, Oregon, all in one conference.
So this league is always a challenge that way. So there's a lot of things that go into whether you're going to compete. One, obviously you've got to have talent. It's got to line up. You've got to have great leadership within your program. You have to stay healthy. Health on a team is a major impact. You tell me if the two teams play for a National Championship if their quarterbacks went down in game 2 would they have been playing in the National Championship if they lost their quarterback for the year in game 2 like we did. Would they have been playing in the National Championship game. Was it two or three? I don't know. So health obviously comes into it. In this league scheduling gets into it a little bit. So there's an alliance for you.
But if you want to be, if you're a consistent winner, you're used to winning consistently, playing in big games, being a top-10 team consistently as it aligns on your year and things are going right, you hit it, you have the opportunity to go win a championship in this league.
So I think we're establishing being a consistent winner and maybe it'll align right for us this year that we get to go compete for that championship.
Q. (No microphone.)
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, so that's not even -- and the other three aren't all in the same conference, are they? All different conferences? Three different conferences. They should all -- so that's seven. Go all the way to 14. Who's 10, 11, 12, 13, 14? So put them in a -- like all of that group in one conference and see -- I mean, it would be a little bit more discussion of who's getting out of that group to make the playoffs, know what I mean? I would give them the right, though, they would deserve an automatic bid if they won that conference, just like ours. We deserve an automatic bid if you win this league.
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