Elam Feeling the Swagger

There was something about last year's Florida football team that just wasn't right. The offensive difficulties were well documented, but on defense, as well as they played at times, there was something missing. Matt Elam played a lot as a true freshman last year and believes the same about that defense. After a fun season opener, he feels like Florida is getting its swagger back.

The Florida offense started to unveil a totally different style on Saturday and actually looked like they were having fun doing so. In the meantime, the defense, which has always been a strong suit for the Gators, was flying all around the field against Florida Atlantic and the Owls couldn't do much about it.

Florida held FAU to 137 total yards of offense in a 41-3 victory and sophomore safety Matt Elam believes they looked good doing it.

"I feel like we did real good," Elam told the media following the game. "Being so young, we came out and weren't worried about anything. We handled it very well."

Florida started five sophomores and two true freshmen on defense Saturday and communication was going to be something to worry about coming in. Elam said that overall, the 11 guys on the field at any one time seemed to all be on the same page.

"It was better than I thought," Elam said of the communication with all the young guys out there. "We were getting calls back and forth. It went well and surprised me."

It was very important for this team to get started on a positive note. Last year from the opening snap, Florida looked ill prepared and not anxious to play anybody. Elam felt like a huge burden was listed off the shoulders of the squad with the inspired play from both sides of the ball.

"It was great, to get the team and things back right," he said. "We were trying to get the swagger back, so it was good to start off like this."

Head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator have both talked about wanting a team that is relentless, fast, and physical. Elam loves Muschamp's demeanor every day at practice and in the game.

"All he talks about is being physical and fast," he said of Muschamp. "He is excited and a coach with juice, so I feed off of him."

That physical play started up front on Saturday where Florida manhandled the Owls and flew all around the line of scrimmage on their way to the victory.

"When the front seven plays good it will be great for us," Elam said. "The more pressure they have on the quarterback the more plays we can make on the back end."

It is something that exists all over the 2011 version of the Florida defense, more speed and physicality.

"I think our speed is way faster than last year," he said. "Our emphasis is all on playing fast and physical. Our emphasis is playing faster and we have more athletes on defense this year."

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