This is a good move, Urban did the same thing here, seemed to work. Lord knows there was no accountability the last 3 years! Leading Men: Gators Take Ownership Stake Under Mullen One of the first moves Dan Mullen made as Florida's head coach was to form a leadership council voted on by players. http://floridagators.com/news/2018/...gators-take-ownership-stake-under-mullen.aspx GAINESVILLE, Fla. – They play different positions, they have different backgrounds and they pursue different interests. What they have in common is the respect of their teammates. One of Dan Mullen's top priorities when he took over the Gators was to identify the team's leaders so they could establish the attitude inside the locker room and develop a bond with the new coaching staff. In Mullen's world, it was imperative the players got on board quickly to smooth the transition. He had done the same in January 2009 when he became a head coach for the first time. The day after the Gators won their second national title in three years with Mullen as offensive coordinator, he stood in front of the Mississippi State players in search of leaders. "Guys that set the standard of the program,'' Mullen said. "That's an important part of it. They are kind of the voice of the team in meeting with me." Mullen used the system throughout his nine years at Mississippi State. He picked it up as an assistant under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green. He has added his own leadership style to the process over the years. A leadership committee comprised of players and voted on by players is the heart of the system. The day the Gators reported for the spring semester, Jon Clark, assistant athletics director of football operations, set up a meeting for the players to vote on which teammates they wanted to represent them. While the number of players on the committee varied over the years at Mississippi State, once the structure was organized and voting complete for the first time with Mullen in charge at UF, the Gators placed eight players on the leadership group: Cece Jefferson, Martez Ivey, C'yontai Lewis, Feleipe Franks, Chauncey Gardner Jr., David Reese, R.J. Raymond and Josh Hammond. Representatives from all three phases of the game -- defense, offense and special teams -- have a voice. "These guys have a say in everything we do," said Clark, who first met Mullen as a student at Bowling Green. "What uniforms do you want to wear? What do you want to eat in a postgame meal? What is team's opinion of how we should handle this issue with this kid? We usually vote twice a year on it. You have an offseason one and then usually revamp it for the season as guys come in." A senior defensive lineman from rural Glen St. Mary, Fla., Jefferson has embraced the new approach and the voice it gives the players to have a say in the day-to-day operation of the program. Equally important is the accountability factor. "I'm a fan of the leadership committee,'' he said. "Since those coaches got here, we have turned a new leaf. The mindset is just different and you can tell it. I've definitely been seeing some change within the program with guys being more disciplined and doing what they are supposed to do. Just the little things that you catch out of the corner of your eye that you know a couple of years ago the team would have let slide. That's going to make us better in the long run." The leadership council has been in service for more than two months, starting with the drafting of teams to compete in drills in offseason workouts. Each of the eight players on the committee selected players across various position groups – teams generally range from 12 to 14 members – to compete against one another using a point system devised by the football staff. Teams earn and lose points on a daily basis. They compete in speed drills, weightlifting drills, agility drills and other workouts the team performs to prepare for spring camp. However, the competition stretches far beyond the field. "They are pushing us to limits like we never have,'' Lewis said. "Everything is about competing with each other. It's been really different." The football staff tracks every player on the team and provides scores in a variety of categories such as grades, class attendance, punctuality, proper nutrition and more. A board in the locker room displays points won and lost on a daily basis. Team standings are updated periodically. One key motivation factor is being accountable to your teammates. The other is a rewards system in which winning teams have a greater say in team activities, movie choices on the road, team meals, disciplinary issues and a wide array of other matters. "You can lose points for everything. If you are one minute late for a tutor, that just gets rid of points for your team,'' said Raymond, a walk-on who has played fullback, linebacker and special teams in his career. "It forces everybody to be accountable, which then relates to plays on the field and stuff like that. Literally, everything counts. It's just making everyone accountable for everything they do in their life." A byproduct of the system is development as a player and person. A redshirt senior tight end from Eutaw, Ala., Lewis instantly gained newfound confidence when his teammates voted him as one of the eight members of the leadership committee. "I feel like it's a big role,'' Lewis said. "That made me feel like everybody looks up to me as a leader. I never thought I was a leader until then, so that made me feel good. It takes a lot of trust for a coach to give players the opportunity to make decisions on what the team do." The committee serves a different function in the offseason than in-season. Clark said the group tries to meet once a week during the season to discuss the mood in the locker room and any potential issues. Clark often serves as the liaison between the leadership group and Mullen. "Coaches and staff think completely different than kids and how they are reacting to some things,'' Clark said. "It gives you a pulse of what is going on, what to expect." Another benefit of the system is that it forces players to interact and compete on teams with players they might not normally hang out with or get to know in position-group meetings. As director of football strength and conditioning, Nick Savage and his staff spend more time with the players in the offseason than the coaches. They set the tone in the weight room and direct conditioning drills. The leadership committee is vital to the success of what they implement. "We are going to demand they are doing it right first,'' Savage said. "Those guys that can do it right then are going to have the opportunity to lead. Competitive excellence is going to go far in this program. We are not going to wait until in-season to go and compete." In that first meeting at Mississippi State nine years ago, Mullen easily got the attention of the players. They knew where he was the previous night. He got the Gators' attention, too. If they did not know the day Mullen was hired, they do now: Mississippi State (64) has more wins than Florida (60) this decade. Finding leaders, and then giving those leaders a voice over the details, definitely helped Mullen turn around a Mississippi State program in reverse prior to his arrival. "It's discipline and doing every little thing the right way," Mullen said. "Anybody can do things right some of the time, but to be a champion you have to do things right all the time."