Kim Klement/USA Today

Notes: Jim McElwain wants Florida Gators’ fans to come early

When Florida returns home on Saturday for the first time in over a month, its coach wants fans in the stands early.

The Gators have two sellouts so far this season, and on Monday, there were only a few hundred tickets remaining for this Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt. Jim McElwain has complimented the atmosphere in The Swamp this season and the fans for creating that, but he wants more on Saturday.

“I’m kind of telling all the fans right now that I know we’ll be there in force and make The Swamp a great place to play as it always is,” McElwain said. “More than that, we have this thing called Daylight Savings Time, where you fall back so everybody’s drawn an extra hour. They’ve had their extra hour. We need to get there early, which they will.

“I’ve got to tell you now, this is a great place to play. It’s because of the fans. I’m looking forward to that.”

Of the four home games so far this season, three of them have been at 7 p.m. or later. The one game that wasn’t at night came at 3:30 p.m. against Tennessee. That means this Saturday will be Florida’s first noon game of the season, and McElwain challenged fans to be in their seats when the team comes out of the tunnel shortly before noon.


Florida quarterback Treon Harris was just 8-19 for 155 yards and one touchdown on Saturday against Georgia. McElwain made it clear this week that not all of the incompletions were Harris’ fault.

The Gators spent a lot of time at practice this week working on the timing and spacing of their passing game. Receivers were out of position on Saturday in Jacksonville, making holes in the secondary smaller than they should have been. The passing game was able to regroup this week and make sure they are on the same page.

"We got a little bit loose at the receiver spot,” McElwain said. “Not being in proper [spot] from the timing standpoint, spacing standpoint and where they need to be, when they need to be there. I think they upped their game to help Treon a little bit this week [at practice]. Our timing has been pretty darn good.”

McElwain hinted that Demarcus Robinson, who went without a catch on Saturday for the first time in a year, was one of the receivers causing issues. Robinson took some reps with the second team offense during the portion of practice that was open to the media on Wednesday.

“I hope he does pitch in, I really do,” McElwain said. “He’s come a long ways; he’s doing a little bit better. A lot of that has to do with choice. He’s done some really good things, as have all of them. We’ll continue to play moving forward.”


Without breaking his leg last season, Jake McGee and Jim McElwain wouldn’t have crossed paths in Gainesville. There were still times where it looked questionable whether McGee would win his appeal for a sixth year of eligibility, but his return to the Florida offense has been a big boost.

McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier love to involve the tight end in the offense, and McGee has reaped the benefits this fall.

"For us, it was a natural fit, and he's more than just a good tight end,” McElwain said. “This guy has become a true team leader, a guy that both sides of the ball really respect. To do that in such a short time I think speaks volumes for him and what kind of guy he is. That's what I see. I see the energy.

“He realizes when something's taken away from you and was probably going to be taken away from you forever, to get kind of that second lease, he's made the most of that opportunity. I think if there's a guy that truly appreciates being able to go out and practice knowing that he's got another game to play, he's a guy that really gets it."

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