Florida head coach Jim McElwain discusses position battles, injuries, Callaway and more during Monday's presser.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Florida head coach Jim McElwain has plenty to say on Monday. The Gators coach discusses position battles, the quarterbacks, injuries, Callaway and much more.

The heat index was well over 100 degrees on Monday afternoon, however, the Florida Gators football team showed off the intensity that head coach Jim McElwain expects. 

"Wasn't real happy the last time [after Thursday's practice] we visited kind of with the energy of a heated practice," said McElwain. "I thought today, they did a heck of a job coming out with the right mindset." 

UF held its first scrimmage last Friday, which allowed McElwain to see progress. 

"We're moving the ball pretty well," he said. "That's what makes me kind of really excited, you know."

According to McElwain, the team were able to get in about 118 snaps, not counting special teams, during Friday's scrimmage. 

"There was a lot of good work by a lot of guys. We kind of got a lot of work especially with some of the young, or more inexperienced guys, especially on defense at linebacker and in the secondary a little bit. I saw some really good things from some guys as they fought through."

Florida quarterbacks, Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby, both received reps with the first teams and both had their share of good and bad moments. 

"I thought both quarterbacks, both Austin and Luke, had their moments and had some other moments that we need to get cleaned up a little bit. Kyle [Trask] and Feleipe [Franks], I'm real happy with those guys, they continue to grow. It's fun to watch those guys progress."

The QB Question

Although the scrimmage answered a few questions about each of the signal callers, McElwain was quick to say there was no leader in the race. 

"No, I haven't named a starter yet," he said. "I really liked Luke in the red area, he was really good. He did take a two-minute drive and stuck it in the end zone. We didn’t get points in the two-minute before the half, but we got points at the end of the game when we needed them. I thought that was good. I thought Austin, just the team move the field, especially our RPO stuff. I thought he handled that better during the play of the scrimmage. Both of them had their moments.”

Previously McElwain mentioned that he could name a starter after this week's scrimmage on Friday,however, the head coach was not as committed during Monday's press conference. 

“I don’t know when it happens. I guarantee you I will let you guys know. I promise. I’m not going to keep it a secret. I will not keep it a secret." 

Running Back Battle

The quarterbacks are not the only ones fighting for playing time. The Florida running back group is one of the most talented position groups this year and everyone is fighting for reps. 

Jordan Cronkrite, consistency in being an every down back is something that, you know, has showed up a little bit, that I’ve been really happy with. I thought Jordan Scarlett made some real explosive runs. Mark [Thompson], this guy can really catch the ball too..he gives you some versatility. Mark Herndon, who obviously played on every special teams as well as in some specialty packages, and this Lamical Perine guy. He’s gotten pretty good. “

“I feel really good about that running back room. We’ve got some really good players, which, you know, formationally it tells you, you get your guys on the field you gotta do some things from some personnel groups to get maybe multiple guys on the field at one time.”

Lessons Learned 

No new update in regarding the Antonio Callaway situation. Although he was cleared in the hearing, McElwain cannot comment on whats next. 

"That's one of those deals that, obviously I can't (comment), like the university can't. I'm part of the university and I kind of follow their lead."

According to McElwain, Callaway "dealt with a lot," during the investigation-from not being allowed on campus and not being part of the team, his family. 

"There was a lot of time there, a lot of time to sit and think and really look deep down inside of you and say what am I learning from." 

Although his job is to coach Florida football, McElwain says he is also there to educate the players and he hopes to help Callaway move forward. 

"Through the education piece, I’m here to help him," he said. "I truly am here to help these guys learn, grow, become better fathers when they grow up, help society and help their communities. Any way I can do from teaching through historical precedence, be it something good or be it something not so good, that’s really what it’s all about it. That’s something we’ll do. If it becomes one of those deals through the counseling hasn’t worked and that kind of stuff, then there will be some harder consequences - and yet those haven’t come up yet.”

Medical Report 

A few guys did not practice on Monday with the team for precautionary reasons:

Standing out

A few players got the nod from McElwain during his presser on Monday. 

"I thought Joseph Putu has done a heckuva job. Jeawon Taylor, I’m really excited about him. I feel really good about that group, especially at safety to give us some flexibility, gain some depth at corner with some of that. We were able to work some combinations that I felt pretty good about as we were going."

The young linebacker group has also made an impression. 

"Jeremiah Moon, we kind of nicknamed him Jackie Moon. He’s does a pretty good job for the Tropics. Vosean [Joseph] has done a heck of a job and we’ve already talked about David, those guys that were here in the spring. Those guys are playing a lot of snaps for us, even on special teams.”

On the offense, a couple of leader have begun to make their voices heard. 

"David Sharpe, I saw some really good things, just, pushing himself and pushing the guys next to him and when that happens up front. Cam and Tyler and Fred Johnson, not to mention Martez, obviously with those guys being next to each other you can just see kind of take it a step further," he said.  "Brandon Powell, when he’s in there is a guy that just carries a little confidence with those guys and can make some guys miss. Going back to the scrimmage, a guy that's kind of really developing for us and you'll see touching the ball in a lot of different ways will be Dre Massey. Really happy with how far he has come since spring and really having a good feel for what we're doing. That's a good thing."

Although neither of the quarterbacks competing with the starting job made the list, McElwain says "not to read into that." 

"Their natural leadership is good," he said. "Both of those guys know how to command a huddle on QB leadership."

Rolin Leaving 

On Monday morning, Florida released the news that Matt Rolin was leaving the football program. 

"He just kind of lost the love of the game," said McElwain. "He's going to stay and graduate, should be done actually this semester if he chooses to use his time right and that's kind of the goal for him... He wasn't really into it and yet at the same time he saw he was taking reps from some of the young guys that have been showing some promise. So for him and the injuries he's had, he's just chosen that maybe there's something else in his life."

Whats next

With the 14th practice in the book, Florida will have two practices on Tuesday, a day off on Wednesday and then back to work on Thursday. 

"They’ll get a real good practice Thursday, get a prep type practice where we really hit situational things, even sideline mechanics, that kind of stuff before we go to our Friday scrimmage," said McElwain. "We try to simulate the day game on the last one; we’ll try to simulate a nighttime environment on this next one. Really looking forward to kind of moving to that point and seeing where guys have progressed from scrimmage one."

 "I like this team. I like these guys. We’re starting to show some leadership on offense. We’re seeing some good sparks there. That’s a good thing," said McElwain. 


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