Make friends with the running back who committed six months earlier.
"Once I got here, I was thrown right into the mix," Elliott told reporters at Tuesday's media golf outing. "I think the first week I came in was official visit weekend. Mike Bellamy was on campus. "They said, ‘Don't screw it up. We feel like we've got it done, just don't screw it up. And make him like you.'"
Elliott did just fine.
Bellamy is now on campus with the rest of his 2011 signees, waiting for practice to begin on Aug. 5.
High school accomplishments don't guarantee the Scout.com No. 7 running back immediate playing time.
Dues must be paid.
"Look at Andre Ellington. He came in, he had to backup C.J. [Spiller]. He was here with James Davis…everyone is going to have to pay their dues," Elliott said.
Only one running back is current on his dues.
|"They said, ‘Don't screw it up. We feel like we've got it done, just don't screw it up. And make him like you.'"|
But Ellington is coming off a late-October foot injury that sidelined him through the spring. According to the reports Elliott's heard, Ellington is ready to roll for the fall.
"Recovery is going good. He's full go, doing everything with the guys," Elliott said. "He's made all the cuts in the skills and drills. He's pulled sleds. The thing I challenged him, is to be a leader."
In a room full of three freshmen and a relatively inexperienced redshirt sophomore, Ellington, now a redshirt junior, is the elder statesman.
"Now, he's in the position where everyone is looking at him. A lot is being said about him. People want to hear what he has to say," Elliott said. "I'm just encouraging him to be a leader, and to go out and play with the same passion that he had before he got injured."
The Tigers' first-year running backs coach is confident that Ellington will do just that.
"Recovery is going good. He's full go, doing everything with the guys," Elliott said. "He's made all the cuts in the skills and drills. He's pulled sleds. The thing I challenged him, is to be a leader." (Roy Philpott)
Rod McDowell, the second most experienced running back Elliott will work with this fall, played 59 snaps in seven games last season. He carried 32 times for 161 yards and a touchdown.
"Hot Rod is a good athlete, but his confidence right now is where I'd like it to be," Elliott said. "He feeds off of Andre. Once Andre get back, I think it's going to help, because he can feed off of Andre's confidence."
Redshirt freshmen Demont Buice and D.J. Howard spent all of last season paying off their dues.
"Buice has some fight to him. He'll bring that toughness to the room. He'll get after it," Elliott said.
And Howard, "he just wants the room to good. He just wants coach to be happy."
Then, there's Bellamy - The Sporting News National High School Football Player of the Year and an Under Armour All-American who led all ball carriers in the nationally televised game with 56 yards on 13 rushes.
His 110 touchdowns also set a Florida high school record. And his speed he showed on the football field helped him win state track championships in both the 100- and 200-meters.
"A lot of people thought he was arrogant and loud-mouthed during the recruiting process. He's a little active," Elliott said. "He's a happy guy. But, at the same time, he's got a big heart. He's a conscientious kid. He cares about his teammates, so I think we've got a good mix bringing him into the fold."