Take it from Urban Meyer, a former coach who has won national championships at multiple programs, to recognize when a team has special qualities entering the season. Heading into fall camp, Meyer believes the Florida Gators are on the verge of breakthrough thanks to arguably the two most important ingredients to success — a coach and his quarterback.
Oddsmakers consider the Gators as the SEC's fourth-most likely team to win the conference title, behind favorites Alabama, Georgia and defending national champion, LSU.
“Dan Mullen is a good offensive coach, but you know what he is, he’s a culture guy, too, he’s a leadership guy. He believes in the big picture," Meyer said Wednesday on Fox Sports' kickoff show. "The offensive gurus, to me, aren’t going to thrive during this time. He’s got an excellent system wherever he’s gone and now he’s been there a few years.
"He’s got a very good quarterback coming back. I won’t say great quarterback yet because he’s not. But this year he could, it’s his time to become a great quarterback.”
Earlier this summer, Meyer gushed over Florida's vast weaponry on offense and said the skill talent reminds him of the depth he had during his days in Gainesville.
These bold statements from Meyer echoes what Mullen said in June during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. Mullen, who has won 21 games over his first two years with the Gators, believes this is his most complete team yet.
"I expect us to go undefeated this year," Mullen told McAfee. "I'm not guaranteeing it, because I'll be honest with you, I have two national championship rings here at Florida and we didn't go undefeated in either of those two seasons. We still won a national championship."
Mullen's words invoke confidence for a group that knows exactly what they'll have to do to get to the SEC Championship Game and beyond. "When I look at our schedule every year, I assume we are (going undefeated)," Mullen said. "If I looked at it (the other) way and said, 'Hey, I don't see us winning that game,' I guess I'd tell the coaches, 'Hey, why don't you guys go home? We're not going to win this one anyway,' so this time of year you assume you go undefeated every year.
"If we don't say stuff like that, nobody has anything to talk about. ... People have to understand there's a big difference between confidence and cockiness. When you sit there and you say, 'Hey, we expect to win the game this weekend,' that's not cockiness, that's your confidence in 'Hey, I'm going to work hard and prepare the right way.'"