From the moment a Florida Gators practice starts to the moment it ends, the coaching staff is flying around just as much as the players.
As an onlooker, the energy that surrounds practice feels completely different than it did in the years before Dan Mullen took over. It is especially different to see the head coach bouncing from spot to spot around the field making sure he gets one-on-one time with each and every position group.
The days of the coach who stands in one place all day or only calls guys over for a chat every now and again are long over.
“He’s more vocal,” said sophomore wide receiver Daquon Green. “And he’s trying to get to more of the team and reach out to us so we can become better and better our skills and knowledge and mental toughness.”
Not only Mullen, but nearly every coach on the staff will jump in at a moment’s notice to personally show guys the correct way to do a drill if they don’t like what they’re seeing.
Several players commented on how refreshing the hands-on approach of their new coaches is. It has been especially helpful for the quarterbacks to have someone be so involved with them every step of the way in learning the new offense.
“I’m a visual learner, you know, hands on learner,” said redshirt sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks. “So when Coach Mullen does that, it makes it a lot easier, and I can speak for myself. It makes it a lot easier for me, you know, being able to be, ‘Feleipe, when you do this, get your shoulders this way here, get your shoulders that way.’ Being able to see it right there on the spot, constructive criticism, and you can do that the next rep. I like it a lot and it’s helped me out a lot so far.”
Along with Mullen, quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson is helpful in that aspect as well. It wasn’t too long ago that he was out there putting in the same work Florida’s quarterbacks are putting in right now.
That gives him more credibility with the guys when he can show them exactly what they are doing wrong and how to fix it.
“Coach Johnson can just tell you, for example, this our playcall, this is how I want your footwork done,” Franks said. “You know it’s the right thing to do when he says, ‘We want your footwork like this.’ He’ll be able to go out there and give you an example of how it’s done and you go and just follow.”
It is obvious that Mullen and his staff have quickly earned the respect of their team simply by the way the players speak of them.
Having that hands-on relationship should show and go a long way on the football field this fall.
“He’s a very smart guy and he knows the game of football,” said wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland. “He knows how to talk to his players and get what he wants out of them. Having that coach on my side is good for me and all the other players.”