- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp is a firm believer in making sure every single player on his team -- whether a starter or fourth on the depth chart -- knows exactly where he stands.
Where he needs to improve, what he needs to do to earn a starting job, how he can earn playing time, his academic status. Anything and everything is discussed. Those meetings, Muschamp said, are just as important as daily position group meetings during the season.
"I feel like I have a good relationship with the players" Muschamp said. "I feel it’s important for the players to feel like they belong in my office. One of the players walked in and said, 'This is the only time I’ve been in here since I was being recruited.’ I said, 'Who’s fault is that?' "
Muschamp brought the exit interview idea to Florida from his time as the defensive coordinator at LSU under Nick Saban. Saban conducted those spring practice-ending interviews and Muschamp liked the idea because it removes the chance for any doubt on either the player or his part.
Each player first meets with his position coach and finds out where he stands. Muschamp -- who has already met with each position coach about each player -- will reiterate those things in the exit interview. But those meetings aren’t just Muschamp listing the player’s negatives. There’s some one-on-one, heart-to-heart time, too.
"We talk about communication all the time," said Muschamp, who added that he's nearly finished with the interviews. "A player may tell you something that he won’t tell his position coach or won’t tell his coordinator.
"You want to be able to talk to the guys and get their input. It is important. I always end it by saying, 'What can we do to help a player better our organization?' "
Two specific examples of things that Muschamp challenged players to work on in the offseason: left guard James Wilson keeping his weight down and tight end Jordan Reed becoming a bigger part of the offense and a consistent playmaker.
And the answer to whether those players listened to what they heard in the exit interviews will be known as soon as preseason practices begin in August. They have three months of offseason workouts on the practice fields -- what Muschamp calls player-run practices -- to get it done.
"It’s important for the whole team," quarterback Jacoby Brissett said. "We all have to get better. When one gets better, the whole team’ll get better."
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