UF Media Day: Jim McElwain

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Florida head coach Jim McElwain took to the podium on Wednesday for Gators football media day. McElwain discussed where things stand ahead of camp, injuries, standouts and more.

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain spent some time answering questions on Wednesday, as the Gators hosted media day. Here is the transcript from the day's event. 

COACH McELWAIN: Thanks so much for being here. Got to tell you, this is exciting for all of us as we get ready to kind of find out what the standard is going to be that this team sets.

You know, this is a team that I really like the vibe. If you heard me talk about it, the way they are going about their daily business is something that -- something that I really think is good. And yet, you know, middle of two-a-days, we'll see what happens and see how excited they are, right.

But at the same time, everybody in the country right now feels pretty good about themselves. Everybody's undefeated. They are all wear new tennis shoes. Got new workout jerseys. Everything looks pretty. It's when your laundry staff, about on about practice 13, has washed it so many times, it starts to dull; that's when you see kind of what your team's made up of.

I feel really good about where these guys are. You know, positionally, there's a lot of question marks, and there's a lot of question marks every year when you head into this time of year.

I think the key to our success will be guys competing for playing time at many positions. As you talk about defensively, you know, being able to establish that nine-, ten-man rotation up front is something that's going to be huge, especially with some of the early offenses that we are going to be facing.

When you look at it from a linebacker standpoint, a couple of those young guys that showed up in spring, let's see what they have learned over the summer moving forward to become quality players, not only as every down players, but in the special teams.

Secondary-wise, there's going to be some huge battles there and some guys really scrambling to get some quality playing time as we talk about defense.

Offensively, it all starts up front. You guys know that. I've talked about that from the start. We had some guys kind of learn by fire a little bit last year, and to see what they learned and to see how they piece together, is really going to show where we are going to go offensively.

The young receivers, whoever develops there, there's a lot of playing time to be had at the receiver positions. I think the strongest group on our team, we've got some guys back at the tight end spot, but I really see our running back position being as strong as anything on our football team. We've got some really quality guys there, and that will compete, and I'm looking forward to see how that competition kind of comes out.

And you've heard me talk about the quarterback room, how excited I am that those guys have accepted the responsibility of what it is to play the position, and I'm looking forward to see how they affect the people around them as we go through practice.

A lot of good things, and a lot of exciting things. And it's something all the Gator Nation should be ready for. This is a team that has to understand that what they did a year ago was kind of discover, kind of discovered a little bit maybe what was possible.

And yet, learned some lessons along the way about understanding, never being satisfied. And hopefully, even all the older players understand that they have never made it. In other words, you can't go into coast. You've got to understand that every day, you go out, you've got a chance to enhance your brand and who you are and what you're all about, and to learn how to finish.

Time will tell. And yet, there's some really good leadership on this football team right now, and we'll see where that takes us as we head into this practice and then obviously we head into the season.

You know, as you know, we start our first practice with a split squad practice. There's a little bit due to some of our class schedules, because we still have a couple days left of school, some guys taking finals. So those guys will be altered a little bit, just to fit the practices in.

But generally what we'll do is we'll have the older guys, the guys who have been here. We'll go through the first practice and then we'll bring the younger guys out, where we get an opportunity to teach them our expectations of the way we practice, how fast we practice, and you know, the moving from drill to drill and those type of things.

So that will be that first day, split squad practice. We should finish up with that, oh, around something like around 5:30 or so, so you guys get a chance to go have some lunch. Sorry to make the day long for you tomorrow. But that is one heck of a unit -- Edgar, look at that. Explain that thing to me. I didn't see it on -- the whole pod thing.

That is pretty impressive. I like that. You talk about new gear guys get in the off-season; I like that. We just got better. That's what I'm talking about, right there (laughs).

You know, on the injury front -- where you at, are you going to change on me? So that's the old "Where's Waldo" for me, right? Is that what we're doing.

You know, our guys who had the off-season surgeries seem to be doing really well right now. We're going to limit obviously some of the things that we'll do with Anzalone. Martez Ivey will be limited, but only more both because of precautionary reasons more than anything. A lot like we did a year ago with a couple guys, as you guys were aware, as we went through practice.

We have two guys that won't be on the 105 that are dealing with some injury/surgery things, that will be back kind of when school starts, and it's only because they can't practice. So don't read anything into it. But Kalif Jackson and Case Harrison, they will join us when school starts. But they can't practice right now, anyway, because of their injuries. So we didn't want to use the spots for those in the 105.

And we had a couple guys in Thomas Holley and Andrew Ivie who received medical exemptions by the SEC, so they will continue their education, get their degrees, except they have had obviously injuries that would not allow them to go on anymore.

But other than that, that's kind of where we're at injury-wise. You guys, you good with that? Am I missing anybody? I mean, usually you know more than I do. We good there? Good.

With that, guys, love to take some questions and get rolling.

Q. Offensively, not where you wanted last year.
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah.

Q. What kind of jump do you anticipate seeing? How realistic is it this year?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, I would challenge us to be dramatically better. Now, are we going to get to where we are eventually going to be in the program? No.

But with that being said, I think the experience we developed up front is going to be very helpful. And I'm going to challenge those guys to help us get a little better. And yet, the parts around it, it will be interesting, I think to see which one of these receivers kind of grows up early, and there's a lot of talent and a lot to choose from.

But you know, I see it drastically much better in operations and getting it to the open guys, and hopefully controlling, or at least winning half a battle up front, right.

Q. Antonio Callaway, what's his status? Do you expect him back for practice? And how big of a challenge is it for the offense to improve dramatically when your quarterback has never really played, and your No. 1 receiver --
COACH McELWAIN: Is gone, you know, right. I hear you.

First of all, to answer your first question, there hasn't been any change in the status. He'll be practicing. Like I said, he's back with the team from that standpoint. Nothing from a status standpoint has changed and there isn't a time frame on that.

And yet, how do we overcome where we're at. I think the play of the quarterbacks is something I'm really excited to see. But more than that, I'm looking -- a healthy Brandon Powell at receiver, that's something, those first four games, he lit it up pretty good now and got a little nicked up. He's a guy that's got to carry the load for us until some of those young guys come from the passing game standpoint.

You know, kind of a little kind of an unused area: C'yontai Lewis, DeAndre Goolsby, the tight end spot, to me, needs to become a factor for us, for us to be successful with getting the ball vertical downfield.

Q. As a follow-up to the offensive, what is your definition of what a good successful offense looks like? I don't know that you want to put a number on it -- being generic about it.
COACH McELWAIN: That's a great question. I look at it as efficiency in staying on the field. Obviously being successful keeping your defense off the field by not only prolonging series, but you know, the three-and-outs thing just kills you, all right.

And ultimately, the production of points, when you're down inside that score area, is something that to me kind of defines it.

Now, I think one thing that everybody understands, that to me, is your ability to take care of the football and not turn it over; putting your team in a bad place and that's something that we've got to make sure we're doing.

So the numbers will show some of that improvement obviously, and yet, we were on a pretty good run there for a while, and obviously the production fell off. So understanding what we need to do to finish in what we're trying to do, really, is where I see it as being effective.

Q. As a follow-up, a quick synopsis on what you like and maybe what still needs to be done with your top two quarterback candidates.
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah, I think right now the biggest thing is -- and you've heard me talk about this, and I really believe: To play successful football at the quarterback position, the people around you, A, have to believe; and B, they have got to trust in everything you're doing; and C, their play is elevated based on how you go about playing the position.

And what does that mean? So I'll see how the guys respond to them when they are in the huddle, when they are into the situations that we, you know, set up during practice. That really is kind of, to me, the key to success at the position.

Q. Are you on the same page with your new consultant, that Dell Rio is the guy to beat out right now?
COACH McELWAIN: You mean our ambassador to the university? First of all, I've got to say this: I'm excited he's on our team. But I guess those three practices he watched, he picked it, right.

Q. Is he accurate? Is he the guy to beat?
COACH McELWAIN: No, Edgar, has anything ever changed here? I love your little jab, all right. But here, let me see -- are you hiding behind that thing?

Q. Trying to get an answer. A couple housekeeping things, though. The two freshmen who got in trouble, where do they stand?
COACH McELWAIN: They have been handled with, as you know, there's freedom of choice and there's not freedom of consequence. They were dealt some pretty heavy consequences right as it happened. Those consequences are continued on and nothing has been finalized in anything on that.

But yeah, they were dealt with very quickly.

Q. Are they going to be on the field tomorrow?
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah.

Q. And then Treon, what went into his decision and how did you guys come to that conclusion?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, I think that's one of those deals where he did a lot for this university. He stepped in, you know, and played in two seasons under some not-great circumstances, and I think that's something to be celebrated and says something about him, his choice to kind of move on and have the ability to maybe get a fresh start, is something that probably came into it. And yet we wish him the best and support him in every way we can.

Q. Many quarterbacks whose fathers were also coaches, and you had a couple of them last year. Those fathers were offensively-oriented coaches; if not their actual quarterback coach or offensive coordinator or head coach. I'm wondering, with Luke's case, does having a father who was a coach, from a defensive background, is that giving Luke in any way any kind of different perspective on his craft by having a dad who is and always has been a defensive coach?
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah, in other words, a dad who really ultimately watches him play and wants him to go rip his head off, right. A defensive guy, correct.

You know, I think the big thing there has more to do with growing up around the game. And you know what, probably seeing it from a little bit different perspective; I think understanding how you can help your team win, sometimes by throwing the ball away and allowing your defense to be successful. You know, there's certain things in playing the position, I think that help.

I think the fact that he grew up around it, is something that obviously helps him. Whether his dad being a defensive guy or not, you know, that's probably an interesting study right there.

Q. A couple things on Brandon Powell. One, how is he doing health-wise? And two, you talked about how explosive he was. As nice as it is to have him back, how beneficial is it that now he has some competition at that slot spot?
COACH McELWAIN: In Dre Massey -- that's one of those things. I know how eager he's been to get back. We've had to kind of put on the reigns a little bit far as his development with that foot. And yet, every indication, you know, all the last tests, he's 100 percent.

You know, Nike's been good enough to put a shoe together to help and obviously we've done some research through our medical staff to get him in the right footwear to help it.

But all indications, he's cutting. He's doing everything now. He'd be another guy, that, look, especially on those two-a-days, we have to make sure that we are not over-using it, but having him back is a true spark.

I think he got back a little quicker, because he might have saw what Dre was able to do, too. You've heard me say it over and over, but it's the truth: Competition by positions actually breeds success. And the more we can do that, the better off we're going to be.

Q. And then two guys that are going to be competing against each other all year, Goolsby and Lewis, what do they now bring as they get to emerge as that tight end position and kind of the different dimension that they bring?
COACH McELWAIN: I think the big thing is having it under their belt the opportunity that they had to kind of learn the expectation of the position; the physicality that needs to happen at times and yet still your ability to flex out and go win one-on-ones.

You've got to have more than one. And that's the good thing. And you know what, those other guys, too, have really come a long ways there. Developing an on-line blocker is something we're going to have to do.

Q. Obviously you mentioned running back being one of the strengths of the team. What are looking for in Cronkrite and Scarlett in year two, and also then Thompson, the JuCo transfer?
COACH McELWAIN: As a throw-in there, Mark Herndon, as well as Lamical. I'm excited to see what this guy can do.

But really with the two Jordans, I think it's building on the little bit of success that they had a year ago and the understanding of probably the daily kind of pounding and your ability to move on to the next play, is something that is going to be big.

I think you could see us use more pony personnel, some more two-back, three-wides, that kind of stuff, in some of the things we're doing, because of the versatility that some of those guys bring, including Mark Herndon and Mark Thompson.

You know, when you have a deep position like that, the one thing I would love to see out of them, because when you look at the next level, the difference for those positions, other than that limelight guy, is what they do on special teams to help the team. So really we need to get some good reps out of them there, as well.

Q. This school has produced some great quarterbacks; a few of them are on statues out front, and you have a great record of developing quarterbacks. How convinced are you or how confident are you this place could be known for quarterback play?
COACH McELWAIN: It's interesting, we did a little quarterback school here this year. It's the first time we kind of did it.

You know, we had four former -- or actually six former Gator quarterbacks here helping coach the camp, right. And we got to talking, and how neat would it be to be able to dig up a whole bunch of guys, right, that have been through this, to really, really highlight that position and celebrate that position at the University of Florida.

Because you're right, the success that has happened at that spot, I mean, there aren't a lot of people probably that have three statues of quarterbacks and Heismans sitting in their office at the same position.

But it's definitely something that we look to expand on in the future, and really try to highlight moving forward.

Q. What are some of the qualities that you like out of Luke Del Rio?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I think actually I like both he and Austin in how they go about their daily business, okay. It's interesting when you ask them to do something, and they just go do it. Or when you ask them to do something, and they research it, and come back with the right way to do it; and then, work on top of that, as perfecting it.

Their ability to do the things that we really can't from a time frame or -- we can't spend those times with them, but they are willing to do it on their own; and in turn, willing to work with other guys on the team at different positions to help them, as well. I think that's one of the things that both of them bring to our team that's really helping.

Q. You mentioned the offensive line took its lumps last year; what gives you the confidence it will improve and be a strength of the team this year?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I think the experience, especially those three true freshmen went through a year ago; the experience that Cam had, as well. And.

To me the big key is the development and maturity of David Sharpe on a day-to-day, play-to-play basis. And what I've seen out of him from a leadership standpoint is something that I think is really good, and you know, just looking at them, they have grown up a little bit. And how they hang together, how they communicate together, I think those are all things that help you be successful.

Q. A lot of coaches early in their tenure would be insecure about having the greatest coach in school history as an ambassador, but it sounds like you seen helped recruit Spurrier here, how and why, and will you tap his brain?
COACH McELWAIN: No doubt about it, first and foremost, who I am, look, I understand history a little bit and I understand what this guy's done for this university from an historical standpoint and this is where he belongs. This is where he belongs. He's a Gator and always will be a Gator.

Our opportunity to tap him and his knowledge on a lot of things, not just the football piece; I'm talking about the traditions; I'm talking about what it was that made it great, you know, all those type of things. I'm not talking about X's and O's. I'm talking about a lot of the things that go into being successful.

He obviously is one of those guys. And he's a guy I got to know a couple years ago at a deal we were at. And I genuinely just enjoyed being around the guy. You know, being able to have that relationship is something that's pretty special, and you know, egos, what are egos. Those are things that get you fired. I just like the ability to have good people around you and that's what it's all about.

Q. How big of a leader has Jalen Taylor become and how important is it for the communication for new starters, because last year those guys seemed to really be together?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I say this -- and I'm not putting this on Jalen, that he had a long ways to go or anything. But I've probably seen more growth out of this guy than anybody in our program from the standpoint of what he is doing to invest in himself.

And by investing in himself, he realizes how much better he can make the people around him. His studying of film, for example, is something that Torrian has done a great job of understanding how this helps you even play faster. And yet through that, how do I communicate with my teammates to help him, right.

I'm excited to see him play. I'm excited to see a lot of these elite players that we have, to see how they choose to kind of, A, go about their business, and B, see if we can finish. You know, that's something, to me, that really shows a true sign. I'm real proud of him and he's done a lot of good things.

Q. And Martez Ivey: Guard, tackle or both, and where do you see him eventually settling in maybe?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, I think right now, obviously him missing spring ball, his only exposure has been a little bit in backup or during practice at tackle.

Big thing for us is going to see a development at some backups at the tackle position: Whether Kavaris is ready to step up; Jawaan Taylor, see where he's at. There's some guys like that that we really need to get a look at.

Tez, eventually, I think probably has the ability to play outside. Right now, the experience has been inside, and that's where we'll start him.

Q. Going back to Jalen, was there any time that you noticed that he mentioned missing the Tennessee game as kind of an eye-opening experience for him. Was there one moment where you think it clicked for him?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, I think there's moments in everybody's lives where certain things click. I don't know what it was for him. And believe me, he was not, you know, a bad guy or anything.

And yet, I think all of us learned that, you know, when we make choices, when we finally get hit with the consequences, and the consequences are something that mean a lot to you, and you get that taken away from you, usually hits home.

I'm just glad that whatever that is, you know, whatever the consequence was for him to kind of see what he can do to be successful, it's really helped him.

Q. Marcus Maye coming back for his senior his year, how much --
COACH McELWAIN: That's big.

Q. -- can he maybe help the leadership and what does he add for you guys?
COACH McELWAIN: Both he and Jarrad, choosing to do what they did and coming back, and both of them finishing their degrees, which they promised their mothers, and we promised their mothers, as well; that they are going to make sure we get that done.

And yet, what they have done in the off-season, has been really good from the standpoint of really showing some of these new guys that are coming in, understand that there's a standard to be had here, and we're not going to allow, you know, less than what we understand we can do.

And the way they have interacted with the young guys from a leadership standpoint has been really good. I really look forward to his versatility and being able to even help him next year as you look forward to even his future year, to see all the different spots he's going to be able to play; I think that's going to be important.

Q. Can you talk about your plan for the young quarterbacks? Obviously is there a perfect scenario where they both red-shirt or one emerges, or do you just figure it out during camp?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, we don't have necessarily a set thing that this is exactly what's going to happen, because we don't know which guy is going to be able to do what as we kind of go.

With that, I do know our team is excited about both these guys. And their development, having been here already in spring, is huge. And then having been able to spend the whole summer; again, being around the team and that kind of stuff, you know, it's one of those deals where whether we red-shirt both or whether we play both, that's yet to be determined.

And yet, I do know this: We've got some depth at the position, and I'm really excited about that.

Q. Keivonnis Davis came on really strong through the spring. What are your thoughts on how much he improved and what kind of a role do you think he'll have on the D-Line this year?
COACH McELWAIN: Keivonnis is a guy that got here a little bit late, when we are talking about last summer, and really showed some bright spots.

Now, his ability to stay focused, his ability to learn how to finish, were all things that he's got to do. But I'll say this: He has the talent to be a guy that can be a force, especially on the pass rush side.

And when he allows himself -- when he allows himself to go ahead and stay disciplined in his gap controls and those type of things, he's a guy that can really help us.

Q. You alluded to earlier about the huge battles that are taking place in the secondary. Where do you see Nick Washington in a role, and could you just talk a little bit about his development as he's gone along here?
COACH McELWAIN: Nick is one of those guys, and it's almost -- he's a guy we don't talk about a lot, because he does his job, if that makes sense. And he's a guy that all the guys in the secondary and on the team, especially on the defensive side, truly trust. Because he communicates, he understands what we're doing. He obviously started games last year for us. Was a huge part in the special teams.

And when you look at as we talked earlier with Marcus, some of the guys, Marcell, when you see some of the guys that are coming back, the tandem along with who is going to be the nickel. There's all those questions there.

And yet, our one constant guy that we know we can trust and count on and the team knows they can count on, is Nick. I'm excited to see how he develops now, too, under Torrian.

Q. What role do you envision for him?
COACH McELWAIN: I mean, he'll play a ton. He played a ton last year. I don't expect anything different. He started last year. I kind of expect him to play better. But you know what he played pretty darned good.

Q. You guys seem to have a lot of depth along the defensive line, but you did lose two of your biggest playmakers in Bullard and McAllister from last year. You already mentioned Davis as someone but is there somebody you see as maybe stepping up to try to fill that void?
COACH McELWAIN: I think Caleb is a guy that's got to play with consistency, and that's something we've been talking about. He's a talented guy and a really good player. And yet, sometimes plays in spurts.

You know, Joey Ivie staying healthy is going to be huge for us. Khairi Clark, a guy who played a lot towards the end of the year, and has got his weight down and really had a good summer. So when you're talking some of those inside guys, I think the importance of that, the development of Luke Ancrum, is something that we've got to make sure continues.

So the numbers are there. And yet, you know, time will tell when we see about consistency in performance. That's the key.

Q. I wanted to ask kind of a non-team question, but with the NCAA rules coming out Monday, allowing coaches to re-Tweet and like recruits, is that something that you are a fan of or do you think that will impact recruiting at all?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, I think there's a lot to it and whether I'm a fan or like it, it really doesn't matter. It's the rules. So now being able to do it, it's something that I think it's the way a lot of people communicate today.

So I think to me, it's a good thing, because you know how hard it is to probably enforce all that stuff if you're the NCAA, really. So rather than try to enforce it, just embrace it and go with it.

Q. You mentioned Brandon Powell and you mentioned the tight end, with the questions with Antonio Callaway and such what do you know that you have at the wide receiver position?
COACH McELWAIN: Those young guys that were here at spring I think came a long ways, and I'll be excited to see how far they have come.

Obviously Ahmad Fulwood is a guy that we haven't talked about, but had a good spring, and yet we need him to really step up and be aggressive in his play for us to be successful. And so as a unit, there's obviously a lot of new faces there.

And yet, I'll be interested to see how they go about their daily work and how they choose to get better every day. That to me is going to be interesting and obviously we had a couple new guys. Time will tell. And yet, I know based on seeing how they have worked and talked to -- with our quarterbacks, there's some guys that they like. It will be fun to see those guys develop.

Q. C.J. Worton, he made a hell of a play in the SEC title game --
COACH McELWAIN: I'll see one thing about C.J. He is another guy that has come a long, long ways moving forward. We talked about Jalen; but he's a guy that I think even when you see his body, you'll see the importance of the nutrition piece, the importance of finishing everything you do and your attention to your daily detail.

It will be interesting to see where it carries over but he's had an outstanding summer; a guy that has really been a go-to guy for our guys.

Q. What are your thoughts about getting the first three games at home and then some of what is going to be celebrated at home, the Spurrier Field and the basketball, back-to-back champions, the following week?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I think any time you have a chance to celebrate your history, that's pretty cool. As far as the naming of the field, I've talked about that.

I'm excited about it. You know, the back-to-backs and all that kind of stuff, that to me is what it's all about. And any time you have a chance to celebrate past achievements, I think it helps your current team, I really do.

As far as the three home games, that was scheduled before I got here. So I'm just excited we get to go play.

Q. You've talked a lot about Eddie, your kicker and just how excited you are he knows how to put his helmet on and such things. How did he get on your radar in the first place and what was that recruiting process like?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, you know, he was -- you know, I mean, he was rated a great kicker and obviously through the kicking camp guys, he's a name that constantly came up.

So we knew our need for the position and obviously targeted him as that guy. And you know, I'm excited he chose us. I'm excited to see him grow as a kicker, as well.

I don't want to sit here and put all these high expectations on him. I mean, the guy hasn't kicked in a game yet, right. And yet all of a sudden, we're ready to say this guy is the Golden Toe Award or whatever.

At the same time, I do know this: He has the talent to do it, and I love the way he goes about his work. And having Jorge Powell back and healthy, that adds to the competition, as well. So that's a good thing.

But you know, with that, this guy's a lot of fun to be around and he's a good teammate. That's what I like about him.

Q. You mentioned Anzalone will be limited; how key is it to get a full season out of him and how full strength do you think he will be at the start of the season?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, all indications on the strength numbers, on the things you do to measure how tight those things are -- that's the medical term, how tight they are -- everything says it's stronger than it's ever been on both of them. So that's a good thing.

You know, you can never predict what can happen. But obviously having him on this football team is huge, and expect big things out of him.

Q. Real quick, about the running backs, you had a real workhorse last year. Do you want to have a guy in that mold this season, or do you see more balance in the backfield there?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, I hope to be able to have a little more balance. I think that's important. I think being able to stay fresh at the end of the game are all things that I think has been successful for us where we've been.

I think if you look historically, when you've got multiple people back there, it actually gives a change to the defense and I think you're better.

Q. C.J. is someone that can play all three interior spots?
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah and yet we've kind of had him kind of honed in at center. And he's done a really good job of it. He's a guy that's learning more confidence in what he's seeing and what he's Mike'ing and those type of things. He's a guy I've been really happy with him.

And Desir-Jones, too, as far as what he's been able to do at the guard position. But we're going to kind of keep him right now at center, to answer your question. He really had a good spring.

Q. And kick return, punt return, who are you looking to fill those spots?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, those are kind of open obviously. Brandon is back. We'll see how the foot is as far as the kickoff returns. Dre Massey is a really good return guy.

Some of our young guys all have return ability. So the big thing there is who is steady under the football. That's first and foremost, right. Ball security is the important part of what we're trying to accomplish, so that's going to be the big piece there.

Q. How much of a constant and solid is Johnny Townsend for this team?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, sometimes those guys, you don't give them enough credit for how they change the game. And him understanding the game is probably what I'm most impressed about from that position. Him understanding the importance of being able to pin them down and don't worry about anything but, look, even if you've just got to punt it 30, pin them inside the ten, forcing them to go long yardage is huge.

And also, where he has changed field position, based on the strength and how he's able to change it by when we get pinned back. So he's a guy that this team really likes, this team trusts. And our team is starting to understand the value of those spots and not just taking it for granted


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