Florida football coach Dan Mullen has retired from his call to “wrap the swamp” for Saturday’s game against LSU, saying the school must follow the recommendations of local health officials to determine a safe number of fans to allow the matches.
Whatever our local health officials go out and say, “This is the number of people we will allow the game right now,” that I want to encourage these people to come in, bring energy, bring excitement to the stadium, and help our team to win, “he said Wednesday.
Mullen, after losing to Texas A&M last weekend, said the crowd had influenced the game and said he would like to see 100 percent capacity, citing a recent decision by Florida Gov. Ron Desantis to lift COVID-19 restrictions, which were limited the size of public gatherings.
Mullen said his initial statement was not intended to be a request for increased attendance.
“I certainly apologize if I offended people,” he said.
Mullen’s comments came after his program was shut down on Tuesday after a series of positive tests for COVID-19 returned.
A total of 19 people have tested positive in the past few days, a source told ESPN. On Wednesday, Mullen said two assistants had tested positive, but both were asymptomatic.
While LSU coach Ed Orgeron said he would not be surprised if Saturday’s game was canceled as a result of a virus outbreak in Florida, Mullen would not speculate on what might happen.
Mullen said everyone on the team was tested again early Wednesday morning and that the team will determine its next course of action once those tests are returned.
“By getting more numbers, we get a better idea of trying to trace its origins,” Mullen said. “We failed to do that.”
He added: “I still wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them are random and coincidences can throw you into [contact] tracking. “
Mullen said he expects a final decision on Wednesday on whether they will be able to play Saturday’s game against LSU.