After the last few practices, Jim McElwain expects more from his Florida team

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Florida head coach Jim McElwain met with the media on Monday to discuss where things stand with the Gators after five practices. Where does he want to see improvement? Has the offensive line seen an injury?

With five practice in the books, Florida head coach, Jim McElwain expects more from his team. McElwain admits that the team did "a heck of a job up front" during Sunday's practice with pads, however, Monday's practice did not go quite as expected.

"Wanted to get outside and play in the elements a little bit," he said. "The execution part today was not great at all. However, it was a great learning experience to understand you can’t allow external distractions, in anything that you do, to hinder your performance I thought there was a little of that going on.

"I will say on a positive note, the guys fighting through practice, not fighting but straining through practice and playing with energy was something that was really good," he added. "I thought it was pretty good from a standpoint of trying to learn how you go about your daily detail when you’ve got external factors going on out there and if you let it affect you, obviously you’re not going to have a chance to be successful. Good lessons today [Monday].”

McElwain also wants more from his starting quarterback. Although the head coach himself has not named a starter, many speculate that Luke Del Rio will get the nod under center. However, McElwain is not so quick to pull the trigger. 

"Let’s see, we’ve had two practices in underwear, two practices in some shoulder pads, and one in a torrential downpour. So, yeah I don’t think it’s fair. [to name a starter]," he said.

Del Rio has been very consistent during practices opened to the media, but according to McElwain, Del Rio had a couple of mistakes that "were unacceptable for the way we expect the position to be played" in the last two practices. McElwain added that "we got a ways to go" before naming an official starter. He admits he is more worried about the players around the signal caller than naming a starter at the moment. 

"We’ve gotta play better in the O-line. We do. We’ve gotta play better at receiver from a consistency standpoint," he said. "We’ve gotta give the opportunity for those running backs to go make some plays. That’s my big concern right now."

Medical Report 

  • OG Antonio Riles went down with a leg injury on Monday. McElwain says he has "no idea how serious it is." 
  • WR Chris Thompson was held back with a hip discomfort, but appears not to be serious. "He just pulled himself out of the middle of practice," said McElwain. 

Whats Next 

The Gators will hold two-a-days on Tuesday. The team is expected to go in spiders in the morning and then we try to simulate a later kickoff with an evening practice. 

Community project

The Florida head coach had the opportunity to speak to a group of high schoolers on Monday: 

“ I think it’s great, the law enforcement guys that were there do such a great job in this county. Only Alachua County schools were there. It was a really good group. It was a lot of fun to see the interaction between those guys. The message, it’s interesting because high school football, it doesn’t matter where you’re at, it’s kind of the start of the school year and the opportunity to kind of set the tone for what that year is going to be at that school. Kind of the message is simply be  you, you don’t have to be a follower, you can go ahead and make a difference and affect the people around you in a positive way. It was great, great to see all those players there. It was kind of fun to sit and think back about high school two-a-days and just what that’s all about. My hat’s off to the law enforcement people who kind of put that together, getting involved and to know they’re there for those guys. I thought it was great, man.”


  • On the O-Line:  I think there’s some guys  that are not afraid to step up, and you know kinda, let the defense take it to them. I think Martez Ivey is one of those guys. You know, it’s a long ways to go, but wanting Taylor has proven that, you know what, he doesn’t care. He’s just gonna go play hard. We need to get some other guys up there to say, you know what, it’s okay to come off the ball, play with pad level and not maybe be passive, if that’s a good word.”
  • On Joseph Putu: "Things are going pretty fast for him. He'll even say to me, 'Woah, this is a little bit different than where I was at.' But that's a good thing. He recognizes it and it's important to him He's not overwhelmed. He's got to catch up on the learning curve a little bit just because those other guys have been here and have been out there doing things."
  • DB Duo Standout: "I think Chris Williamson has been doing pretty good too, a guy we really haven't talked much about. And Duke Dawson, who had a great spring. I feel pretty good about where we're going to be there.”
  • On Caleb Brantley: "One of the biggest things I think there, and we talked a lot in the offseason, is how you can’t let the little things carry over to the net play and there has to be a consistency in everything you do. Even when something happens that you’re not excited about you can’t let that affect your next couple of reps...we need that not at a 50-percent rate. We need it every down he needs to be able to do that. What I’ve seen is I’ve seen him go ahead and control some of his emotions from a standpoint of not letting maybe something not great affect the next play and that makes us a better team because we’re better when he’s on the field.”
  • On CeCe Jefferson:  "He has been playing both spots, and he is a guy that you love being around him. He has a great smile and he is quick witted. I just love that. He is actually really playing well. I worry a little about his weight, because he is only really, yesterday he was 267, this guy is naturally really strong. He has really strong hands and a great first punch. There is no doubt why he was as highly recruited as he was. He has proven that to be true."


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