Elam Says Communication is Vital

It is a new defense for the Florida Gators and now more than it has been in the past, the guys on this defense have got to communicate with one another. There are reads in terms of the opponent's personnel and offensive formations as well, meaning the communication has to happen well before the play, through the snap of the ball, and even after the snap. Elam says he is up for the challenge.

When Will Muschamp was hired as the head coach at Florida, everyone expected a different mindset when it comes to defense. It isn't that the gators have played poor defense, quite the contrary. However, Muschamp is a defensive guy first and his defenses are complex, aggressive, and fun to watch.

They also require the guys playing on that side of the ball to be in contact with one another and that means there will be some guys that the staff will lean on to make that happen. Sophomore safety Matt Elam has been drawing praise from Muschamp for his consistency and says he understands he has to play a big part in all of it.

"I think the way we play defense, communication means a lot," Elam told the Florida media last week. "If we are communicating a lot we will do big things and make more plays. That is a big key in the secondary. It is a big thing that I am one of the best players in the secondary so I am going to have to take a leadership role and communicate more.

"We have to communicate more this year because there are a lot more adjustments. We have to communicate about personnel and things like that."

Elam is finding it easier to learn the intricate defense because the head coach has been there and done that. Muschamp played safety at Georgia and has coached the secondary off and on in his career and it just makes the translation of what there is to learn that much easier.

"He played the position and so I have learned a lot from him," Elam said of Muschamp. "He helps me a lot and is more hands on. He is active and can show me more of what to do… I am excited about that."

"I feel like it's getting better every day. He teaches me a lot. I respect him a lot, and I learn a lot from him. It is making us closer."

Elam said he was able to learn from all-American Ahmad Black a year ago, even though the two are "different players".

"I learned a lot from him, practice tempo, learned toughness, and just the way to practice and approach things," Elam said of Black. "Practice and games, I learned a lot."

Elam was asked about a few of his secondary mates and says the trio of Josh Evans, Pop Saunders, and Marcus Roberson are doing well and working hard.

"Josh Evans is doing his job and like all of us just trying to get better," he said. (Roberson and Saunders) are playing great. I expected a lot from them coming in and we had big expectations. They are freshmen but working hard like they are veterans.

Elam on the Offense

Like most everyone that has come to talk to the media, Matt Elam was very positive in his praise for senior starting quarterback John Brantley.

"Brantley is looking real good… having a real good preseason," Elam said. "There are a lot of good things he is doing in this camp so I am excited to see him this year."

When pressed, he came up with two receivers that have made an impact during fall drills.

"All of them are good," he said. "The guys that have stood out to me are Frankie Hammond and Quinton Dunbar. "

Then, Elam talked about two of the biggest weapons on the offensive side of the ball. It may be the fastest running back tandem in the country in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.

"I don't think I will ever play against anyone that is quick and fast as those two guys," Elam said. "I am learning a lot from those two and they are getting me better every day."


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