Dan Mullen explains why programs often see a jump in wins in Year 2
In his second season as head coach at Mississippi State, Dan Mullen led the Bulldogs to a nine-win season, up four wins from his first season that was 5-7.
The Florida coach joked about that on Monday at SEC Media Days as he noted that the Gators had 10 wins in his first season in 2018, and if he duplicated that same jump he experienced in Starkville, “that’d be pretty good.”
But from the pre-game meal, to the drills run in practice, more familiarity breeds more comfort for players, Mullen said.
“In Year 2, there’s a whole lot more comfort within the program,” Mullen said. “Our guys knew what to expect coming into the offseason. It’s easier to attack the offseason. I think we made bigger gains in a lot of ways this offseason than we did last year. I think a lot of last year’s are dramatic gains, because it’s very different than what they have done.”
More comfort means players aren’t hesitant or questioning what’s coming next, or where to go.
“This year, there’s a better understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish and you can make bigger gains,” he said. “In spring ball, we go out on the practice field, there’s no questions or doubts when we go to drills. Everybody knows what the expectations are. … I think that gives you an opportunity to have a big jump in the second season. Obviously we had a great year last year, but would love it to be even better this year.”
Florida seems to be a consensus top challenger to unseat Georgia in the East, and much of that could depend on the development of QB Feleipe Franks, another popular storyline entering the season.