His former star quarterbacks, Rob Compton (Montana State), Greg McElroy (Alabama) and Garrett Grayson (Colorado State), all were parts of record breaking seasons in both the passing game and total offense for their respective teams.
Each of these guys remains in contact with McElwain and respect him for the job he did with them.
“Maybe they are as screwed up as I am,” McElwain joked with the media by teleconference earlier in the week when asked about staying so close with them. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to have some really good guys and guys that understand the importance of the position and what it takes to be successful.
“I stay in touch with a lot of those guys and it’s a lot of fun. Really the coaching part of it is about the relationships you build over the years, and that’s what makes it a lot of fun.”
One of the things about mentoring someone is that you have to know what they need to work on. There aren’t many in the business as qualified or as well thought of as McElwain when it comes to coaching up the position and he offered up a little taste of what his four quarterbacks need to work on over the summer.
For redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio, McElwain wants him to stay the status quo from what we saw in the spring game. Del Rio went 10-for-11 for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the final scrimmage to end spring. He also said last week his biggest play was a throw away pass when nothing was there. McElwain loved that part of his improvement.
“I think for (Luke) try not to do too much, but let the game come to him,” McElwain said when asked what his likely starter needs to improve on.
Senior graduate transfer Austin Appleby comes to Florida now with the most experience of anyone at the position currently on the roster. Appleby is a guy that can make the throws and he isn’t afraid to take some chances, but McElwain would like him to recover better when things don’t go his way.
“Not being so hard on himself,” McElwain said of what he would like to see from Appleby. “He’s a perfectionist and sometimes he lets the negative plays impact the next one, rather than clap it off and move forward.”
McElwain recruited two freshmen quarterbacks in this last class of 2016. The one with all the high school accolades is a guy that likes to sling it. McElwain would like to see Feleipe Franks tone it down a little when he’s in the pocket.
“Feleipe needs the understanding that not every play needs to be a home run,” he said. “Take what the defense gives you.”
Freshman Kyle Trask came to Florida after not even starting for his high school team. But, the strong armed signal caller was impressive all spring and McElwain just wants him to continue soaking in everything and continue to develop.
“In Kyle’s place, he’s a guy that needs to just keep understanding what we are trying to accomplish,” McElwain said.
McElwain closed with something that should be music to the ears of Gator fans when it comes to the offense at Florida.
“I am really happy with that room and really happy with the arm talent in that room,” he said. “I look forward to being able to try and push the ball vertically down the field.”