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UF coach brushes aside criticism for wanting to 'pack Swamp' with 90,000 fans as COVID cases rise

Dan Mullen raised eyebrows Saturday by saying he wanted to pack Florida Field with fans for the team's next game against LSU.
Credit: AP
Florida head coach Dan Mullen reacts during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Mullen was given several more chances Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, to walk back bizarre comments about wanting to pack 90,000 screaming fans inside Florida Field during the coronavirus pandemic. He declined each of them, brushing aside criticism and insisting he's focused on defending national champion LSU. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida coach Dan Mullen was given several more chances to clarify any confusion regarding his comments about wanting to pack 90,000 screaming fans inside Florida Field during the coronavirus pandemic. 

He declined each of them. He brushed aside criticism and insisted he’s focused on defending national champion LSU. 

He says he hasn't spoken to athletic director Scott Stricklin or school president Kent Fuchs. 

Mullen raised eyebrows Saturday by saying he wanted to “pack the Swamp” for the team's next game against defending national champion LSU. Gov. Ron DeSantis' reopening guidelines now allow for full stadiums since late last month.

"Yeah, I've been preparing for LSU. But, I mean, I'll be honest. I think if you look at what we've been able to do, the safety precautions we have that our players have followed, our coaches follow, you know, I think we're a model of safety of what we've been doing during this time period," Mullen said, the Associated Press reported.

No college or professional team in the state has yet to move beyond letting a small percentage of fans in stadiums. Two weeks ago, the Gators had 2,000 of nearly a 17,000 allotment unsold for the home opener against South Carolina.

“I know our governor passed that rule so certainly, hopefully, the UF administration decides to let us pack the Swamp against LSU — 100% — because that crowd was certainly a factor in the game,” Mullen said after the Aggies defeat his Gators. 

ESPN College Football reported Tuesday that UF has five new COVID-19 cases, as of the latest testing results.

Over the weekend, UF President Kent Fuchs said the school "remains fully and firmly committed to following CDC guidelines for every part of our campus from classrooms to athletic venues..."

RELATED: No Gator Walk or tailgating at UF football games this year, team says

RELATED: Florida athletics seeing a rise in COVID cases

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