McElwain drawing from emotion in Gators' locker room

Florida head coach Jim McElwain saw his team hurting after losing to Tennessee on Saturday. The locker room was emotional and as upset as the coach has seen in his time here at Florida. That was a real positive in his mind as to how they are going to move forward.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE While giving credit to Tennessee for playing a good game, McElwain noted that his team with a big lead should have capitalized on that lead and held the Vols emotions in check with continued big time play.

 “Well obviously a very disappointing outcome to last week's game,” McElwain started in his Monday press conference. “It's one of those deals that obviously it was a tale of two halves. My credit, give credit to them for coming out of the locker room and really taking it to us. Their crowd did a great job momentum-wise, and yet I think we were responsible for letting them back in the game from an emotional standpoint.

“Those are the kind of games you enjoy playing in. I think the big thing is moving forward is what can we learn from it and how long are we going to let it affect us? We have a lot, a lot, ahead of us that we can accomplish. And it'll be interesting to see how we handle people writing us off, jumping off the ship, all of those type of things. This is going to be a real test who each one of us are individually throughout the organization and how we handle things don't go well. And one of the things you do is you learn from the past, you learn from history and realize that what you do now actually is going to be a precursor to the future.

McElwain said the promising thing from the loss was the emotion his players showed in the locker room afterward. He believes what he saw from his players points to the right attitude moving forward.

“This will be a big test,” he said. “I think the good thing from the standpoint if there is anything to kind of pull from what happened. ... The mood in the locker room. There were a lot, a lot, of hurt guys. I’m not sure a couple of the losses last year I could feel that sense of hurt. As I told them, it should hurt. Because if it doesn’t, then something is wrong. It means you really don’t care. I think you’re in for the wrong reasons. We’ll see where we bounce from here.

McElwain doesn’t believe the effort was missing in the second half where the Volunteers reeled off 35 of their 38 consecutive points in the game. He says they probably went to the well too many times on certain plays and again gave props to the Vols for the way they came out energized.

“Our effort was good,” McElwain said. “You know what, they took some things away and we didn't take advantage of what they were taking way. Probably stuck a little bit to the mom and dad and didn't go to brother-in-law and sister-in-law, which in layman's term is you've got to counter to what everything you're doing. I thought they got a pretty good beat on us and I don't think we did a very good job of that in the second half, but it's not like we didn't have hats where we needed them to be. You know, they outplayed us, plain and simple.

“The key is you learn from the past. You learn from history. The future is determined by what you do right now. It's that simple, so what's our approach moving forward from each individual, from each position group and then ultimately our team is going to really tell how we come out this week."

A few players, after grabbing their composure, commented after the contest that no Florida team, including the championship teams, have gone undefeated. McElwain hadn’t heard that, but he took some solace in that line of thinking as well.

“I didn’t know that,” he said about their comments. “I guess maybe they’re thinking right. I do know this… unless we take care of this, it’s never going to matter. There’s still a lot ahead of us. I like the way they think. That’s good.

“I wasn’t even aware (they said it), I guess now that I think about it, yeah. That’s kind of cool. Maybe I will sleep better.”



The Gators will be mending some injuries this week following the Tennessee game.

“Injury-wise, Joey Ivie busted up a thumb,” McElwain said. “We should know more about that. Right now, he’d be out. Tyler Jordan (eye surgery) will get back a little this week, but it’ll be no contact. Won’t know anything there until Thursday. Jordan Sherit, this guy just plays the game the way it should be played. Consistently does his job. He’s still a little banged up with that leg. But, I don’t anticipate him missing just because of who he is and how he goes about his daily business. Quincy Wilson will be out today, probably tomorrow. That’ll be a Wednesday decision there with a leg. Luke Del Rio won’t do anything today. We’ll try to ease him a little bit on Tuesday, keeping him involved in the game plan.


Quarterback play…

McElwain had Luke Del Rio dressed to play to the hilt on Saturday even though there was no way he was going to play. He felt like the move of bringing his season starter at quarterback paid off with the communication that was going on with starter Austin Appleby.

“I thought the reason we had him dress the last game, I really felt he did a great job on the sideline,” McElwain said.  “He was really good for our team. He even said a few things afterward in the locker room as well that really resonated with some guys. He’s a valuable piece of this. I would say he’s highly doubtful for this week, but I’m still not going to count him out. With that, I don’t think Austin — other than taking the one throw back — when you scramble we’ve got to a flood-thru drill and your eyes have to go to the boundary, not to the inside. That was a throw he’d love to have back. He learned from it. Later in the game, he threw one on third down that flooded the third and got a first down out of it. But I thought he played pretty darn good. Good enough for us to win a ball game.”

“Do I think he can play better? Yeah. Am I upset about a couple throws? Yeah, he should be able to make. Am I upset Antonio Callaway slips on a curl route wide open when we had a chance to flip the field? Yeah. Get down over your toes, you know what I mean? There’s things that happen, and at the quarterback position, you know, he’s gotta do those things better, which he’ll learn this week and see how we go moving forward.”


There were a couple of time outs called in the first half while the Gators were on offense that may have been costly at the end of the half. Some communication broke down and they had to stop the clock before they were handed a delay of game penalty.

“That hurt,” McElwain said of the time outs. “I mean, I go back to before half and you had to waste two first timeouts in the first half and we got the ball before half tying to go down and steal some points after the field goal, and yet we shouldn’t have had to use them. Now, some of that was simple communication on the field even as loud as it is in there, which is awesome. I mean, that’s fun, but I think that let us rattle us. And being aware of where the shot clocks are and understanding the importance of that. I think we lost focus of that a couple of times.

“To me there were a lot of telling things in that game, but after the pick right after half and having two missed signals back to back on second and third down, and yet the third down call, I mean, just block it and you get a first down. That wasn’t earth shattering, you know what I’m getting at. That’s the disappointing thing, we never flipped the field at all. And that’s one thing you heard me talk about over and over that we had done a pretty good job of since we’ve been here. And this was the one game when we never did flip the field.”

Bad play of secondary in second half…

McElwain gave credit to Tennessee for coming back to a plan that was a good one in the first half that went wrong because of drops. The Gators didn’t defend the middle of the field well and the Vols took big advantage of it in the second half.

 “I think it’s interesting, when you look back, I think you have to look at the first half on the dropped passes,” he said. “They did a great job of coming back to things that were there and not saying, ‘Oh, they took it away,’ cause we really didn’t. Think about it, they had three or four big drops on some of those over routes. Those were some they didn’t give up on. Now, the flip side of that coin is the disappointing thing from our side is now understanding what leverage you need to play with in some of those situations.

“Obviously when you’re playing a quarterback like this there’s some spy moments there where you’re hoping not to allow him, which now takes guys out of coverage. I think they did a great job of taking advantage of that. My hat’s off. They did a really good job in their bunch stuff in motion. You know I thought they had a great plan, didn’t get it executed in the first half but didn’t panic. They came back and took advantage of some of those plays in the second half. Could we have been in better position, yes? Are there things that we worked on and talked about, yeah? But give them credit, they took advantage of it. The one bust on the wheel we actually had covered earlier, same application, but there again they executed and we didn’t.”



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