No. 10 Florida, Mullen plan to resume practice next week

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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. – No. 10 Florida is planning to start returning to its football facility Monday, nearly two weeks after the program shut down because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Coach Dan Mullen, one of more than two dozen Gators who tested positive for the coronavirus last week, sounded congested as he said the team had a new positive Wednesday.

“We're trying to see now if any new case could have been from the original spread on the team or if these are individuals kind of not following the kind of the quarantine procedure or just going out and getting it on their own because there’s no football going on right now," Mullen said on the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches call.

Mullen remains isolated at home, living mostly in his bedroom and adjacent office. His wife and kids have tested negative repeatedly, he said. His wife, Megan, temporarily moved to another part of the house.

The Gators (2-1) host Missouri (1-2) on Oct. 31, a game initially scheduled for this Saturday. LSU-Florida, initially scheduled for last weekend, was postponed until December.

Mullen said he's concerned about the lengthy layoff. Assuming Florida is cleared to return and play, it will have gone three weeks between games.

“We’ll take our time getting guys (back) in," Mullen said. "Obviously health and safety has always been top priority within our program, so it’s not like Monday we don’t act like we think nothing’s happened. We’ll build back up a little bit on Monday into what we’re doing and getting ourselves back on track and ready to go play. I think our guys have handled everything so far this year extremely well. I expect them to handle this the same.”

Mullen reiterated what athletic director Scott Stricklin first noted last week: The outbreak has been traced to two players ignoring symptoms and getting on a team plane headed to Texas A&M. Both players had tested negative the day before the trip.