New UF football mantra: Relentless effort

New Florida coach Dan Mullen said the Gators will put forth relentless effort on and off the field. [/Gary Cosby Jr./GateHouse Media Services]


There was a recurring theme during Dan Mullen’s introductory news conference Monday.

Relentless effort.

He mentioned it multiple times.

And it doesn’t just apply to the style of play he wants the Gators to embrace on the field. Florida’s new coach is demanding relentless effort in everything the players do, from lifting weights, to posting grades, to how they handle themselves on campus and around the community.

“We’re going to be a team that competes in everything we do,” Mullen said. “And you’d better take that seriously and making sure that we are of that mindset that we’re competing as much in the classroom as we are going to compete on the field and we’re just going to be competitors in life.”

Mullen met with the players shortly after his arrival in Gainesville on Monday. The first thing he addressed was academics.

“Very, very simple of what to expect. No. 1, I started with academics,” he said. “Classes end next week and then we have final exams and there’s a certain standard that I expect in the classroom. I explained to them that being a champion is not a sometimes thing. It’s a way of life. It’s who you are, and that gets to competing.

“I don’t care if you’re competing out there on the football field, you’re competing in the weight room, you’re competing in conditioning, but you know, when you walk in the classroom, they also put a number on the top of that test and you compete. Someone wins and someone loses.”

Mullen said the players are going to have to win in the classroom before they have a chance to do it on the field.

Academics and the results of the offseason conditioning program (which Mullen said is probably going to be something they have never even experienced in their life before) will be evaluated before Mullen decides how the Gators line up and start to compete in the spring.

 “I promised them, they will earn my respect before they are able to put on that uniform and go represent our university out there on that football field,” Mullen said. “That is very, very important to me and that’s going to be done through academics and through the effort they start giving in the off-season, and everyone has a clean slate to go start over and show what they can be.

“Everybody, in my book, has a clean slate to go prove themselves. I told the team, I chose them. They didn’t choose me; I chose them. I guaranteed them that I will earn their respect.”

As for behavior off the field, Mullen said he’s expecting relentless effort there, too.

Relentless effort to do the right thing.

 “I will always investigate everything thoroughly and handle discipline pretty severely because I think it’s important for our team to understand the standards and expectations of this team,” he said. “I told Dr. (Kent) Fuchs I’m going to give him and the Gator Nation a team that they can be proud of both on and off the field.

“That’s how we carry ourselves 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not just on Saturdays. You have a great responsibility when you’re going to be a member of this football program and it carries beyond this field and it might be a greater responsibility than the regular student body has.

“You’re living under different expectations and different standards than other people, but that’s part of the responsibility of wearing that uniform and being a part of this program.”

Mullen is inheriting one off-the-field issue — the nine players still under suspension for their involvement in credit card fraud. Seven of the players have gone through the legal process and have accepted pre-trial intervention.

But if and when they are allowed to rejoin the team will be determined by the university.

In dealing with the situation, Mullen is going to get an assist from athletic director Scott Stricklin.

“I’ll be a part of the conversation,” Stricklin said. “They have the judicial thing going through on campus. I’ll be a part of that conversation. Dan, it’s kind of been dropped in his lap. We’ll work well together on this.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or Also check out Andreu’s blog at



  1. Relentless effort is refreshing. Already DM is breathing fresh air into this program. He is certainly showing this kind of effort on the recruiting trail within hours after getting off the jet. Dan is backing up his words and taking ownership of the program and that is what has been needed for 6 years. Thanks to Randy Shannon for his class and dignity in handling this situation for the last month.

    (Oh, by the way my reliable source tells me that the mayor of Starkville is coming to Gainesville…..Done Deal. )

    • You, along with the vast majority of Gator fans, are just a sucker. As the circus great said: “There’s one born every minute.” There’s nothing new about ANYTHING Mullen said…nothing “refreshing,” etc. Did a previous coach ever say UF wasn’t going to play hard until the final whistle? Who knows if Mullen will be successful at Florida, but I do know that the same exact things you are spewing were said after McElwain was hired. The difference is that I knew that McElwain, like the bozo in the White House, was just a con man from day one when he arrived in Gainesville. I don’t think Mullen is, and he seems like a genuine person and I like him. But that’s no guarantee he can alleviate the Tebow Curse. He was UF’s, at least, third choice after Kelly and Frost, whichever is clear evidence that, despite many Gator fan’s delusions, UF is not a job that is salivated over. We’ll see if UF’s offense will stop being awful, as it has for EIGHT straight years, coinciding with the departure of Tebow. I coined the term “Tebow Curse” and it’s still alive and well. Can Mullen end it?

  2. Could not be happier with this choice for head coach. I really feel that we have finely chosen the right man for the job. From the exit from the jet, to the press conference, to comments made to news media, I agree 100% with the direction that coach Mullen wants for this team. I am impressed so far and have high hopes for our team going forward.

  3. I want to thank all the Bull Gators and the Gator Administration for making today a reality. Two month’s ago I begged all Bull Gator Boosters to please help right the ever sinking football program at UF. For the first time in my life this past Saturday’s game with FSU was not near as important as getting the right coach in Hogtown to fix the many year’s of poor leadership there. As a Gator with my young son in Dallas three month’s ago , I had never been so embarrassed of my Gator’s than that day, since the F.S.U game in 1979.
    Dan Mullen was not my first choice, however, he is now, and he has great INTEGRITY.////THANK YOU BULL GATOR’S , for making the sick feeling go away. Go Gator’s

  4. I am thrilled to be hearing these words, and watching coach Mullen grab our Gators by the tails! We will know that the walk matches the talk (and I am very optimistic that it will) when the prima donnas start transferring and the thugs are shown the door. The quitters will be running for cover, and the real men and leaders will step forward and get this team turned around. It may take a while, but I am confident that it will happen. We should all give the new coaches and the truly dedicated players time to show what they can do. Relentless effort is what has been lacking, and what we have all been clamoring for. All good things will flow from this in football, as in all aspects of life. Go Gators!
    Thanks, coach Shannon, for representing with class! Best wishes for success elsewhere (as long as it is not vs. the Gators!)

  5. Wow — Robbie wrote out an entire article on: Coach Speak. “You’re living under different expectations and different standards than other people.” Really? Because other coaches tell players it’s okay to fail classes and punch a woman in the face every now and again? Mullen said something along the lines of, “Every Saturday, no one will ever out effort us,” (I don’t remember exact quote). When you hear something like that you are supposed to roll your eyes or just move on past the filler words to the meat of the speech. You aren’t supposed to write an entire damn article about it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Mullen hire and I like what he has done so far, but give us in depth analysis on the new assistants or something. You don’t need to write more than a single paragraph in that Dooley’s 10 things column about Coach Speak.

    • The reality is we dont hear these words from other coaches! This is so refreshing and the sign of a great coach is a great motivator, this was motivation which Im sure will be backed up with actions, but 1st you have to have the words spoken and thats what we have here!

  6. What I am hearing from Dan Mullen is the word DISCIPLINE. This has quite clearly been lacking at UF (e.g. nine players involved in credit card fraud etc.). He can start by kicking repeat offenders off the team – give their scholarships to new recruits who deserve them. Players who commit crimes need to go elsewhere – we do not support them and they are a bad influence on the rest of the team. I support Coach Mullen 1,000% in this regard – GO GATORS!!!

  7. The vision DM has established is perfect. In concept he has described what he wants the team to be. This tells the players and coaches what to aspire to, how to act, and gets them focused on getting there – cause we were not there a scant week ago. Need time? Yes. But without this simple explanation of his vision and expectations, time just allows people to get in trouble, fail classes, etc etc. DM has started the process, but more importantly has started it correctly in order to build a winning “program” that sustains itself. Goodbye primmadonnas and good riddance.

  8. Coach Mullen is blowing away the lackadaisical aw-shucks attitude and low expectation, “let’s sell popcorn” garbage that infected this athletic department for the last 2.5 years. CDM is a hard-nosed, well-seasoned football coach who will need NO OJT in his own job, unlike Muschamp and MacYet. Expect weak players to leave the program and stronger ones to survive in his system, and wins will follow on the football field. CDM is not a miracle worker, it will take some time, but he’s a straight-shooter and one tough SOB. Buckle up boys, we haven’t had a coach like this in FAR too long. Welcome home Coach Dan Mullen, and GO GATORS!!!

  9. Effort does matter, along with emotional maturity and control, good communication and humility – then you are going to go to the next level, and I promise the data is solid on that, maybe not me as the speaker, but as casey Stengel would say you can look it up (hint read sam walker’s writings). all of these things were not consistent over the last several years. Coach Mullen etc. really have shown those traits through their careers and should be outstanding at making sure the guys learn them. now if we as a gator nation can learn the same, starting with me of course.