UF notebook: Perine a result of Mullen’s player development

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Florida running back Lamical Perine runs a drill at preseason camp at the Sanders Practice Fields on the UF campus. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

During his tenure at Mississippi State, Dan Mullen became known for his ability to identify talent and then develop it.

Lamical Perine has turned out to be another example.

A three-star prospect out of Mobile, Ala., Perine’s first scholarship offer came from Mullen. Perine’s homestate schools had a different evaluation of him.

Auburn thought he was too slow and never offered him a scholarship.

Alabama did not come through with an offer until the 11th hour in recruiting.

Perine grew up a big Gator fan, and when he was offered by Jim McElwain’s staff he committed to UF.

Two years later he found himself playing for Mullen, the coach who gave him his first major offer.

Mullen was asked earlier this week what he saw in Perine that others didn’t during the recruiting process.

“Hopefully I saw what we’re seeing now — that he’s a really good football player,” Mullen said. “We spent a lot of time there just trying to find guys that would fit us and guys that are all-around, some secret gems.

“I think a guy like Perine, you watch him play and there might not be one thing that jumps out at you and you say, ‘Wow, put on the highlight film and that’s special.’ But you watch and the consistency of play and his complete game.”

Perine was a productive player in his first two seasons. He had a breakout season in his first year under Mullen and running backs coach Greg Knox, leading the Gators in rushing.

“He’s got great vision. He can play physical. He’s got good speed. He catches the ball well,” Mullen said. “I think all of us, even back then, there’s some guys that have things that maybe pop out on film, ‘Hey, this guy runs a 4.2 40.’ So everybody in the country offers him. (Perine) was a guy that kind of did everything really well and that’s how we used to evaluate and try to get those guys. I’m glad he came there though. Now. It worked out good for me.”

Now, you can add one more attribute to Perine’s impressive resume: leader. He’s become one heading into his senior season.

“Perine, with the absence of Jordan Scarlett, has filled those shoes very nicely in terms of leadership, leading by example,” sophomore running back Dameon Pierce said. “With the workouts, he comes in and busts his tail every day. He’s just a great leader. I’m proud to be behind him and learn from him.”

Leading the way

For the second year in a row, the UF players have voted on their teammates to serve on the leadership counsel.

Quarterback Feleipe Franks was on last year’s counsel, but Mullen isn’t naming names for this one, only to mention that sophomore Randy Russell is serving on it and he is the youngest. Russell, a member of last year’s recruiting class, has had to give up football due to a heart condition, but obviously has stayed connected to the team.

“I think it’s 11 right now (on the counsel),” Mullen said. “Sometimes it tweaks, anywhere from eight to 12 depending on the time of year and the guys we feel good about it and how it breaks down by class and who needs to be on there.”

The counsel is a conduit between the team and the coaching staff.

“You always want to know what’s going on with the team,” Mullen said. “But there’s a lot people I check with on all that stuff because I want to find out all different angles of what’s going on with the team.

“You’ve got to know because I’m going to base our schedule off a lot of that stuff, where’s the attitude of the team at, where’s the feeling of the team at, where’s everybody at. Because ultimately their job is to maximize everybody’s performance. To do that you’ve got to know where their mindset is, as well as where they are physically and with their attitude.”

Reshaped running back

Nick Savage and the strength and conditioning staff have changed a lot of body types over the past five or six months. One of the most noticeable is Dameon Pierce. The true sophomore running back looks much thinner than last season, but actually is carrying the same weight.

“Right now I’m leaned up, but I’m at 220 still,” he said. “So still the same weight. Coach Savage is going to reshape it for you, most definitely.

“He’s going to make sure you get the most out of every workout and if it’s not up to standard you’re going to do it again. Our standard is a high-intensity workout, every day full speed. After doing that for six months, you’re going to see a difference in your body, man.”

Pierce said he feels a difference on the field.

“Oh, yeah, I feel a whole lot more agile in terms of making cuts, seeing holes and everything,” he said. “Overall Coach Savage did a great job getting us prepared for this fall and moving forward toward the season.”

15 COMMENTS

    • I believe it too, Sparky — and I think this article illustrates many things about Dan Mullen. First, it’s true about CDM being able to see through the star ratings to pluck out gems that are overlooked by others. Imagine that — a head coach thinking for himself instead of relying on “expert” evaluations, and likewise having the courage of his conviction not not only recruit that player, but actually develop him into a star at that. Second, read the comments attributing Savage’s S&C program — another CDM trademark. I could go on and on, but I think the point is made and we all know it. Yup, old Daz Wazzel really did hit the nail on the head when he said he believes Mullen is one of the few great coaches in college football.

      And what of Perine? Man, all he needed was a chance. His drive will take him over the top, no doubt about it. He’s no rock — that kid is a sponge.

  1. As many of you know LP is my guy. The game that perfectly illustrated his will, his drive and his grit and determination was the ‘Hurricane’ game against lsu in BR. That’s also known as the goalline stand game, for some. LP took a handoff late in that game and dragged about 4 or 5 of lswho defenders 15 or so yards down the field AFTER breaking about 4 or 5 tackles. That epitomized to me the toughness he brings as UF went on to win the game AND the SEC East all in one fell swoop. The SEC Network replayed that game a few days ago and I watched it as intently as I did when the game was live (lol). Loved watching Guice getting grabbed by the ankles as he runs the wrong way and tries to dive for the endzone, only to get dropped about a yard short. The weird part was watching Mac after the game giving an on field interview. I cringed & squirmed while watching him bungle yet another interview. It was awkward, head scratching, and just flat out goofy to watch. That was one weird dude but I digress. GEAUXXX GATORS!!

  2. Loved to read the comment from Dameon Pierce about Perine, saying that he was “proud to be his back up and learn from him” In this era of the transfer portal, it’s kind of refreshing to hear an underclassman have the maturity and insight and have the patience and willingness to learn from the older players in front of them, a true “Team First” attitude. And his time will surely come, and we will see a lot of him this season.

        • Speaking from Mac Davis:

          Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
          When you’re perfect in every way
          I can’t wait to look in the mirror
          Cause I get better looking each day
          To know me is to love me
          I must be a hell of a man
          Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,
          But I’m doing the best that I can
          I used to have a girlfriend,
          But I guess she just couldn’t compete,
          With all of these love-starved women,
          Who keep cowering at my feet
          Oh I probably could find me another,
          But I guess they’re all in awe of me
          Who cares?
          I never get lonesome
          Cause I treasure my own company
          Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
          When you’re perfect in every way
          (I can’t wait to look in the mirror)
          I can’t wait to look in the mirror
          (Help me out now! Come on)
          I get better looking each day
          (To know me is to what?)
          To know me is to love me
          (Must be a hell of man)
          I must be a hell of a man
          (Oh Lord It’s hard)
          Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,
          (When you’re doing what?)
          We’re doing the best that we can
          I guess you could say I’m a loner
          A cowboy out lone, tough, and proud
          I could have lots of friends if I wanted
          But then I wouldn’t stand out from the crowd
          Some folks say that I’m egotistical
          Hell I don’t even know what that means
          I guess it has something to do
          With the way that I fill out my skin tight with jeans
          Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble
          (When you’re perfect in every way)
          When you’re perfect in every way
          (Can’t wait to look in the mirror)
          I can’t wait to look in the mirror
          (‘Cause I get better looking)
          I get better looking each day
          (To know me is to what?)
          To know me is to love me
          (Must be a hell of man)
          I must be a hell of a man
          (Oh Lord It’s hard)
          Oh Lord It’s hard to be humble,
          (What are we doing?)
          We’re doing the best that we can
          We’re doing the best that we can

  3. Lamical Perine became a force for the Gator offense last year – I believe he will be in the running for SEC 1st team at RB by the end of this year – I predict over 1,000 yards and a 1st or 2nd round NFL draft pick. Stay healthy Lamical and keep doing what you have been doing – focus on the prize, and you will be rewarded – GO GATORS!!!

  4. Robbie- No biggie. Just a clarification. A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. Counsel would be the advice or direction the council gives. What Coach Mullen has in place is a leadership council. Sorry to be “that guy”…Your steel a good riter 😉