Jim McElwain Still High On Tide

Although Alabama assistant football coaches are fairly anonymous, rarely available for interviews, when Jim McElwain was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Crimson Tide from 2008-11, enough was revealed to know that he had bigger things ahead.

As head coach at Colorado State, Jim McElwain has not disappointed. First of all, his team was very competitive in a situation where many rebuilding squads would have been romped, playing before the biggest crowd in its program's history, playing the nation's number one team.

Colorado State did what Alabama Coach Nick Saban wanted his team to do.

"I am really proud of how hard our guys played," were McElwain's first words after his team had fallen to the Crimson Tide, 31-6, in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.

More about his team's performance against Bama later, but McElwain also spoke of The University of Alabama. He called it "an unbelievable place. The outpouring for me personally from so many people meant so much to myself and my family. Alabama is a class place."

Not that he needed any reminders that he was in a once-familiar place, McElwain saw it in his former players, several of them greeting him after the game.

"I had to catch myself a little bit," he said. "Those guys meant a lot to me. I loved them and I'm just so proud of them. Guys like Kenny (Bell), AJ (McCarron), Christion (Jones), and on and on – they were a big part of my life. I owe a lot to them, and I'm proud to be able to say I was their coach at one time."

McElwain said, "At the same time, I am very proud of my team."

He said, "I thought our defense particularly came out and wouldn't take no for an answer. Our offense, for the most part, took care of the ball, which is what we thought we had to do. When we did turn the ball over, they would get a big play. AJ (McCarron) would make a great throw and they would jump on it at the end. I think from a playing standpoint, we wanted to keep the ball out of their hands as much as we could. From a time-of-possession standpoint, we wanted to shorten the game a little bit. Alabama is a great football team. I can't tell you how proud I am of our guys. We gave a cheap touchdown in special teams. We talked about that earlier this week and the factors that can't happen. They would get a cheap one late.

"We'll look on film, because it wasn't only Alabama. Our guys stood toe-to-toe. We didn't take advantage on offense like I thought we should. What did we learn? We learned that a loss hurts.

"We challenged our guys to come in here and go toe-to-toe. I think the guys on the other sideline have earned some respect for Colorado State Rams and how hard we played the game."

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