According to Yahoo!Sports, after Urban Meyer announced his retirement as the Gators head coach, athletic director Jeremy Foley made just one phone call. He had a short list in mind, but that list included just one man, and that man was Will Muschamp, Texas' head coach in waiting.
Since arriving, Muschamp has worked with strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman to make many changes that have contributed to their turnaround and mental makeup as a team, bit none are as interesting as the rule they have during their conditioning tests.
This past season players had to complete a conditioning test consisting of 16 straight 110-meter dashes. Skill players had to finish each one in 15 seconds, while running backs and linebackers were given 16, and lineman had to cross the line in 18 seconds. Those who don't finish in the allotted time line up to do it all over again. That's pretty standard at a lot of programs.
What makes Florida's unique is the way that they keep their guys mentally tough during the rest periods. Hands on the hips and bending over are not allowed. That would show weakness, which is unacceptable. Instead, when players get tired they have to wiggle their fingers and smile. For some reason when we picture this actually happening, we picture "spirit fingers" and a cheesy smile that would make a cheerleader jealous.
Another way that they trained for a mental edge was running nearly double the amount of 110's that they were scheduled to run during the conditioning test. Instead of running 16, they'd practice by running 30. After that, 16 should seem easy.
Another method that has attributed to their turnaround is their recruiting philosophy that focuses on "good guys" not just the five star prospects. After all, Muschamp is also the recruiting coordinator, so he makes the rules on just about every front.
"I'll turn my back on a five-star guy if he isn't a good guy. I have zero reservations about that. ZERO reservations."
"I'm the recruiting coordinator here," he added. "You're not a good guy, you go somewhere else. We'll play you. We'll beat you."
The mindset for the Gators has definitely undergone a change under Muschamp, and the results are overwhelmingly positive. Muschamp firmly believes that he has helped develop one of the top teams in the country, and he's done it by doing things his way.