A different motivation

The Gators went through offseason workouts last season hearing about how nobody in the country believed in them. They heard how the national media and college football fans across the country no longer thought highly of the talent in the Florida locker room. The motivation will change this offseason because of the 11-2 record the Gators posted during the 2012 season.

"We've talked a lot about that as a staff, and certainly looked at different ways," Will Muschamp said.

The ‘no one believes in you' mantra that can fill college workout programs in the offseason doesn't make sense for the Gators this year. They heard it last year and improved their record to earn a berth in the Sugar Bowl. Muschamp and the rest of the Florida staff know they'll have to get creative this summer.

It starts in the weight room with strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman, who basically serves as the team's head coach in the offseason when the Florida coaches aren't allowed to spend much time with players in football activities. Dillman led the charge last offseason and brings the energy in the weight room and to the sideline on Saturdays in the fall.

In the end, Muschamp wants his players to lead the motivation and let the sting from last season's Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville lead the players this summer.

"Motivation is kind of like oil," Muschamp said. "It kind of rubs off. It's more of an inspiration. What drives you as a player? I think it starts, first of all, individually. There's a key to every kid and you've got to find the key. You've got to find what motivates that guy, because what motivates that guy may not motivate (another player).

"You've got to find out what inspires those young men and what's going to make them go and then collectively as a unit you continue to build that when you get in training camp."?

The strides that the Florida team took last year over the summer played a big role in the success it had on the field in the fall. Muschamp noticed that change during the summer and heard multiple positive reports from Dillman and his staff. That carried over into the start of fall camp and the momentum continued into the season.

The exit interviews at the end of spring practice give the players a direction. The Florida coaching staff points out areas of each player's game that needs to improve, on the field and in the weight room with the player's body. Those meetings wrapped up last week and Muschamp was happy with the direction of the team this summer.

He's clear with the players that the criticism is meant for them to turn into something positive instead of pouting and being upset.

"A lot of kids nowadays, especially in our society, they take that as a negative," Muschamp said. "They only want to talk about the positive things. Well, the good things take care of themselves. You've gotta go after and attack the negative things and the things you've gotta improve to help our football team be better.

"I think our kids, more than anything, have bought into the process of winning football games and what that does for each individual and each player. Look at our draft. When you win football games, people think they must have really good players there. That carries over with confidence, carries over with winning."

Fightin Gators Top Stories