Florida Gators HC Dan Mullen wants sold-out crowd at ‘The Swamp’ amid COVID-19 pandemic

Florida Gators HC Dan Mullen at 'The Swamp'
University of Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sing after winning a game against South Carolina at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. Oct. 3, 2020. Flgai 100320 Ufvs Scarolina Fb Game31

Coming off a shocking loss to Texas A&M, Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen is hoping fans will come out in force amid the COVID-19 pandemic with a big showing at “The Swamp” against LSU.

Just a few days after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis authorized teams to have full capacity crowds at their stadiums, the state’s top football coach is hoping fans and the university take advantage of the opportunity.

Florida HC Dan Mullen calls for full crowd at ‘The Swamp” for Week 7

The Gators came up short on Saturday against Texas A&M, with Mullen watching as his defense allowed 41 points in a last-second loss to the Aggies. While only 30,000 fans were allowed at Kyle Field in College Station, the building was rocking for the Aggies.

Mullen clearly wants that same energy at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators only had 15,000 in attendance for their win against South Carolina, the result of guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. With DeSantis giving the green light for capacity crowds, Mullen hopes the Gators administrators go along with it.

“I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully, the university administration decides to let us pack The Swamp for LSU next week,” Mullen said, via ESPN. “One hundred percent because that crowd was a major factor in the game. So I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor.”

It would provide a unique home-field advantage for the Gators, in a season where attendance has been barred or significantly reduced across the country. Despite DeSantis’ order, the Miami Dolphins are sticking with their plan at Hard Rock Stadium by allowing only 13,000 when they return on Oct. 25.

It’s obvious what decision Mullen would make if given authority and Florida’s players would certainly love to feel “The Swamp” rocking on every play with 90,000-plus people rooting for the Gators. Florida would already be a massive favorite against LSU in Week 7, but moving to full capacity would swing that game in the team’s favor even more.

As much as Mullen wants this, it seems unlikely to happen. We’ve seen how quickly COVID-19 can spread among people – proven by the Tennessee Titans’ outbreak – and the Kansas City Chiefs had a fan test positive for the coronavirus with reduced capacity and social distancing.

Given the liability risks the University of Florida might face from having 90,000-plus people crammed together inside their stadium, during a pandemic, Mullen might have to settle for less than 40,000 fans.