Exclusive: Here’s What New Florida Coach Dan Mullen Told Gators Players At His First Team Meeting

The Florida Gators hired Dan Mullen as their new head football coach on Sunday, replacing Jim McElwain, who was fired following a loss to Georgia at the end of October.

Mullen wasted no time addressing his new team, meeting with them on Monday to introduce himself to the players and discuss the direction of the program moving forward. We talked with a senior player who played under both Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain and he walked us through, point-by-point, what Mullen said to the team. Here's what was discussed at the meeting:

Coaching staff decisions:
Mullen plans to bring on an entirely new staff, though there's a chance he keeps one or two assistants around. Ideally, Mullen would want to bring some of his staff from Mississippi State with him, and co-offensive coordinators Billy Gonzales (WR coach) and John Hevesy (OL coach) have already committed to following him from Starkville to Gainesville. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is also expected to go with Mullen to Florida, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Mullen also told the team that he expects to have his entire new staff in place by the end of the week.

Team discipline:
According to the player we talked to, discipline was the topic Mullen stressed the most during the meeting and wants to eliminate all off-field issues. Mullen specifically referenced the off-field issues when he served as the offensive coordinator for the Gators under Urban Meyer (2005-2008). More than 30 players were arrested during Meyer's tenure at Florida. 

The Gators also had nine players suspended this season for a debit card fraud scheme regarding the players making improper charges on their cost-of-attendance credit cards at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash.

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Expectations for the team:
Unsurprisingly, Mullen told the team that their goal is to "add more numbers to the championship board," which means he expects to lead the Gators to more SEC and national championships. That's always the expectation at Florida and is why McElwain was fired. Simply winning the SEC East isn't good enough - they want to win the conference and be in the College Football Playoff picture, which Mullen has acknowledged.

He also told the players that they will have to earn his respect, but he will have to earn theirs as well. Much of that respect will be earned through hard work, performance on the practice field, and staying out of trouble off the field.

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Florida finished the season with a 4-7 record, meaning they missed out on a bowl game for the first time since 2013. It's also just the second time since 1979 that the Gators finished the season with a losing record.

Mullen, the most successful coach in Mississippi State history, went 69–46 in nine seasons with the Bulldogs, including an 8-4 mark this season.

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Related Topics: Florida Gators Football, Dan Mullen, SEC Football, NCAA Football