Sources confirmed that Florida coach Dan Mullen fired Todd Grantham, defensive coordinator, and John Hevesy, the offensive line coach, following three consecutive losses. This was amid mounting pressure.
These moves came one day after Florida (4-5), continued its downward spiral by losing 40-17 South Carolina. This was the Gators' worst loss to South Carolina in school history. The firings were first reported by the Athletic.
Sources claim that Mullen told his coaches, both of whom were with him since his time at Mississippi State, that he wanted to "create a spark" for next season. Mullen had worked with Hevesy since 2001, when he was the quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green.
Mullen stated after the loss to South Carolina that he didn't expect it. Mullen lost the South Carolina game, dropping the Gators to.500 for the first-time in his tenure at Florida.
Since last season, the Gators have had difficulty stopping teams from defending. They finished eighth in scoring defense in the SEC (30.8 points per match), their worst record since 1917. In a 49-42 defeat to LSU, they gave up 321 yards of rushing earlier in the season and have given up 798 yards in their three previous losses.
Turnovers are what have crippled Florida this year. With 18 turnovers, the Gators rank 116th in the nation among 130 FBS teams. They've lost three straight games and have turned the ball over eight more times. Three of those touchdowns were scored by Emory Jones against South Carolina, an Anthony Richardson interception in Georgia, and a Jones interception against LSU.
On Oct. 2, Florida lost to Kentucky 20-13. Also, a blocked field goal was returned for a touchdown. Florida ranks fifth in the league for total defense in SEC games. However, the Gators rank last in rushing yards per carries (5.1) in league games.
Florida's offense has been strong with interceptions and touchdown passes, and it ranks seventh among SEC teams in rushing offense (180 yds per game). Florida has only managed two touchdowns in three of its four losses.
The Gators lost to South Carolina on Saturday and gave up 459 yards to a Gamecocks quarterback Jason Brown. Brown was making his FBS debut. The Gators ran game managed only 82 yards.
Mullen stated that Florida's roster was depleted due to the flu, and that 20-30 players were absent from practice each week.
Two weeks ago, Georgia lost 34-7 to Georgia. After Georgia led 3-0 in halftime, three Florida turnovers on three consecutive possessions led to three Georgia touchdowns, Mullen upset fans by downplaying recruitment in Monday's news conference.
Mullen stated, "We're now in the season," when asked about recruitment. "We'll do recruitment after the season. We can discuss recruiting when it comes to recruiting time.
ESPN ranks the Gators seventh among 2022 recruiting classes in the SEC. Mullen later clarified his comments and stated that they were not meant to be taken out of context.
Mullen stated, "We work hard at recruiting every day." "We are always recruiting and doing our best to find great players that meet the Gator standard, and bring them to our program."
In June, Mullen was awarded a three-year extension to his contract that would have raised his annual salary by $7.6million per year. In the SEC championship match, the Gators lost to Alabama one year ago.
Grantham was on the last year of a contract paying him $1.8million annually. Grantham was able to get a raise after he turned down the job of defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. He will remain at Florida through the 2019 season. Hevesy was also in his final year of the contract and earning $620,000 per annum.