Florida Head Coach Claims Gators Would’ve Beaten Oklahoma with Full Roster After Suffering 55-20 Loss to Sooners

By  //  December 31, 2020

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ABOVE VIDEO: Dan Mullen on Gators Cotton Bowl Loss, Kyle Trask Legacy & State of Florida Gators Program.

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA (ESPN) – Florida coach Dan Mullen said his team could have opted to not play in Wednesday night’s Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic based on player availability but chose to anyway because the players wanted to compete.

Following a 55-20 blowout loss to No. 6 Oklahoma, Mullen said his depleted roster would have allowed the No. 7 Gators to skip the game.

“With the number of people that were out for the game, we were under numbers actually,” Mullen said. “We had the numbers to not play the game.

Added Mullen: “I give our guys credit. … Our young guys wanted to go play in that game, and they wanted to get that experience and wanted to be on that stage.”

On Tuesday, Mullen estimated that he would have 60 scholarship players available. The SEC this season established a minimum threshold of 53 scholarship players for game participation, but teams could opt to play even if they didn’t meet that number. There were also minimums at three key positions: quarterbacks (one), defensive linemen (four) and offensive linemen (seven).

Mullen did not specify if the Gators were under the minimum at a specific position.

“I kind of viewed — I don’t know, maybe this is wrong — that wasn’t the 2020 football team that you saw,” Mullen said of the Gators, who finished 8-4 after dropping their final three games. “There were 25 guys missing off the 2020 football team out there tonight. That was kind of a kick-start for us for the future, an opportunity for the young guys to play.”