Gators want competition to breed success on field

ATLANTA — “There’s a winner and there’s a loser in everything we do.”

That was a quote from Dan Mullen this winter shortly after the Florida Gators started workouts and implemented more competition in the day-to-day workouts.

Whether it’s in the weight room, doing speed training or whether it’s just doing normal sprints, there’s always competition created by Mullen and his coaching staff.

Defensive end CeCe Jefferson spoke about the competition and just how the workouts are different because of that while at SEC Media Days in Atlanta on Tuesday.

“You know, the competition is insane,” Jefferson said. “That’s when I really figured out like this team is special. Because in the past, when we ran, it would always revert back to like some type of argument or something like that. But now, it’s like, ‘Come on. I’m about to dust you. I’m about to do this.’ You know what I’m saying? It’s more of a competition. It’s us working against each other and just embracing the grind. It’s a beautiful thing and I enjoy it every day, this team enjoys it every day.”

The competition factor in things has also helped guys get stronger or faster because of the encouragement from teammates according to offensive lineman Martez Ivey.

“They [Savage and staff] recognize people being inactive in the weight room,” Ivey said of the competition in the weight room. “If you see somebody squatting 500-plus pounds, you’ve gotta get your guys around them cheering them and hyping them up so you get the most reps out of it. So, you know, you want to be put in that position as well, so everybody’s working hard to get stronger. And they recognize people as well if you’re doing well outside on the field work and sprints.”

Ivey who has been through the college weight room for three off seasons now says losing isn’t something anyone wants to do on or off the field.

“It’s a competition. Everybody wants to win I don’t know anybody who doesn’t want to win. As they make it a competition, everybody increasingly wants to get better and better. It’s a good system we’re in right now.”

A winning mentality isn’t the only thing that Mullen’s competition has created, it also has created an accountability for the players not to let their teammates down.

“Yeah. I mean, you talk about like not bending over, not being weak. We work hard, so naturally you get tired. But now, the accountability part comes in,” Ivey said on if the competition is making guys be more accountable. “If you’ve got your hands on your head or your hands on your hips, they don’t like that. And as players, we don’t like that, so if we see somebody doing that or bending over, we rush over and we get on their tail and tell them to get up and cut that out. That’s where the accountability piece comes in at.”

When the fall rolls around and it’s time for this team to compete against other teams, Jefferson believes that all of this offseason competition will help them.

“Most definitely. The team that struggles together, they win together,” Jefferson said when asked if competition is making them a stronger team. “When you’re on that field and it gets hot and you’re tired and your lungs are burning and your legs are burning, you’re going to think about, ‘Me and my brothers, we’ve prepared for this moment.’ All those 60-yard shuttles, all those heavy weights we lift, all the sled pushes, all that. That’s what this moment is for. All that just triggers in the back of your mind and it just gives you a second wind.”

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.