SEC Media Day: Jim McElwain

HOOVER, Ala.-- Florida head coach Jim McElwain took some time to meet with the local Gainesville media during SEC Media Day. He discusses the offense, the offensive line and much more.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain took a few minutes to meet with the local media before he started his tour around the Hyatt Regency in Alabama for SEC Media Day. 

Opening Statement

It’s been fun kind of getting back with our guys the last week. Just seeing how they’re getting the vibe in the office and around the locker room and how they’ve welcomed some of these new guys has been good. Really kind of biting at the bit to get going, to be honest. That 1st of August, we’ll see kind of what we have and how we’re going to be and see where the leadership took these guys over the summer. Should be a lot of fun.

On the Offense Line

We talked early, really the thing in all of football, you’re only as good as you are up front — and that’s on both sides of the ball. For us, we need to make sure those young guys who played some last year and got their noses bloodied a little bit — like Martez Ivy, Tyler Jordan and Fred Johnson — learned from the experience. I think having David Sharpe here, a guy who has really stepped up and taken that leadership role with that group has been good to see. There are a lot of things that go into working together, but I know they are a prideful group and based on what we’ve seen they’ve really worked their tails off.

On David Sharpe

Look, he's kind of going to lead us the way we’re going to go up front. From the standpoint of the most important areas on the team, being strong up front is what is going to carry us. So he’s going to be a big part of that.

O-line vs this time last year when only Trip Thurman had started a game

Yeah, and he didn’t go through spring practice. … (comfort level vs last year totally different) … No doubt about it. They’re taking a lot of pride in who they are and what they’re all about. It’s never fun for it to be said, ‘You’re the weak link,’ and yet I never said that. i know how hard those guys work and I’m looking forward to seeing what they put on the field this year.

At this time last year, Trip Thurman only offensive lineman who had started a game?

Yeah, and he didn’t go through spring practice.

Certain comfort level with where that unit is now?

There’s no doubt (it’s not even close to what it was last year). You know, like I said, they’re taking a lot of pride in who they are and what they’re all about. It’s never fun to be said, ‘You’re the weak link,’ if you see what I’m getting at. And yet I’ve never said that. I know how hard those guys work and I’m looking forward to seeing what they put on the field this year.

Ivey a guard?

As of right now he is.

Could that change?

He rotates both side, both positions.

Confidence level with the offense heading into year two?

“Well, I think Pat hit it a little bit earlier. Obviously, we’re breaking in some new guys at some new positions. Literally a whole new receiver corps. Obviously, got a couple of returners there, but some guys that are going to have to take some valuable snaps there. The quarterback position. Those four new faces in that room, I really like what they’re doing with this team. So, there are a lot of unknowns. And yet it’s kind of part of the fun of it.”

Jarrad Davis a better leader?

He’s taken that upon himself. I think the leadership there between himself and Marcus Maye in the back end. … they both decided to come back to school for another year. I think that speaks volumes about kind of their commitment and what they want. That’s been really good. Jarrad has been one of those guys that, obviously was playing a ton but stepped in and stepped up when Alex Anzalone went down a year ago. Having those two guys in the middle helping us from that leadership standpoint from front and back will really help us.

Was Jalen Tabor not brought to SEC Media Days because he is outspoken? 

No. Absolutely not. Part of the reason for the guys kind of coming, obviously Marcus and Jarrad choosing to come back their senior year. This is something really valuable and good for them as well. In David Sharpe’s case, he’s got the most starts of anybody kind of on our offense. That was kind of the choice. It had nothing to do with any of that.

Is the team buying in more this year? 

I don’t know. They’re competitive. They want to win. I know they’re excited with a lot of the things that are going on within the program and the organization, including a lot of things we’re putting on place to help them be successful in life – the Hawkins Center, our practice facilities, some of the long-range plans with locker rooms. That kind of thing. Things that touch their lives on a daily basis, and I k now they’re excited about that as well.

On Luke Del Rio

I look kind of a little more big-picture with all four of them, actually, in how their comfort level and understanding that maybe every play doesn’t need to be a home run. Sometimes a sacrifice bunt is what you need to win a ball game. What I’ve seen in the two older guys is – their understanding of when to take a chance and maybe when not to, if that makes sense. The decision piece is what I was really happy with, in particular the spring game. If we can carry that through the season at that position. I know our team has a lot of confidence in that room and what those guys bring to it. That’s a real positive.

Are you going to name a QB starter soon?

No, you want to start? What is the ideal timing, I don't know what's ideal. What's best for you guys? Right now? Give you something to write about?

We'll see how it goes through camp. If there's somebody truly proves they're the guy based on how they affected the people around them, how the team moves up and down the field things like that. I don't know. When the time's right we'll do it.

On Callaway and Treon being listed on the preseason roster

Right now they're obviously back on campus, doing team workouts and some things like that. Nothing's been resolved left and there's really not a time frame on it.

Is just being  back ion campus a step in the right direction for them?

More than anything, the help you have academically, at the Hawkins Center at Farrior Hall, is huge-that's really what it's all about. 

Have you mentioned the 45 sacks to the offenisve line? 

I might have let that slip a couple of times. It's not something they're proud of. And yet, it's hard. It's one of those things where obviously as we go back and look at all the things we have done and what we did, when you looked at the sack reel and hurry reel, whatever you want to call that reel, they're not always on them. And yet ultimately it's something they want to correct. And being an old QB, I think you better get rid of the ball a little it, that might have something to do with it."

Chauncey Gardner challenge for playing time? 

I think earning playing time, we’re going to have a ton of young guys playing. As I said in the spring, our happiest people are probably going to be the people that sell programs because people are going to have buy them for a little bit to figure out what jersey numbers are on the field. That’s all right. But Chauncey’s had a good offseason. Obviously it really helped him going through the spring, both moving in and out of nickel and safety.

Expectation of offense?

We got to be better, you know, I mean, expectations are to figure out how to go win the game. Hopefully play with an efficient mindset and play with a little confidence, and yet the only way to do that is going out and doing it. I think you know me by now the expectation piece is let’s go win. It starts with what do we do today? I know the workouts went well. Yet, you know what the first game will come, the second game with come, the third game will come. You can’t worry about that. We just have to try to get better today.

You challenged David Sharpe this Spring. How did that conversation go?

It went well. I’d seen through his actions that he’s taken a lot of responsibility. But he wasn’t the only one I challenged, by any stretch of the imagination. By no means were we happy or excited about the way we finished last year. And we talk about expectations, I don’t expect to play like that. So we gotta get better, and that’s probably why everyone else is better than us.

You talked initially about things touching your desk, have there been more things that have touched your desk?

Probably not, but I think that’s a credit to the coaches we’ve hired, the people within the organization doing their job to a high level and making sure a lot of things are handled. I’ve gotten to where the micromanagement piece is probably more so ‘here’s a list of how we’re gonna do things, here’s the job description, now, look, go do it’. Now, whether I would have done it exactly the same way or whatever that is, I don’t think that’s important. What’s important are the end results which in turn affect our players in the right way. And that’s been really good.

There’s still an awful lot that hits it. And yet, I really got good people. I can’t tell you, going to work everyday is fun. And they’re all driven to do what’s best for our players and the University of Florida, and that’s a good thing. There aren’t a lot of separate agendas, individual motives. And that’s what makes this group, I mean everybody, awful fun to work with.

How’s Thomas Holley’s health?
It’s going to be a long one 

Has Alex Anzalone got his medical redshirt?

That won’t be until after his eligibility is finished. Now I know everything’s put together for the case, but that’s not something you answer until eligibility is up. 


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