There is no doubt that Jim McElwain would like to have an offense that runs and passes the ball with equal abandon. Things don’t always work out one way or another and sometimes you have to lean on one part of the game to get things done.
In a game of the trenches with LSU last week, the Florida offense was getting some push up front in the running game and sophomore back Jordan Scarlett was really gashing the Tiger defense for nice yards.
That is when a group of receivers approached McElwain and urged him to let Cronkrite do his thing. They were prepared to sacrifice getting the ball themselves for the success of the team. They wanted the win and they saw the best way to make it happen.
McElwain likely hasn’t had a more proud moment than that in his time at Florida.
“It means not letting the game get too big for you,” senior receiver Ahmad Fulwood said of being a team player. “So it’s just like, for example, last week when Scarlett was running the ball, as receivers we’re kind of like the drama queens of the team so we always want the ball. But when you see someone working as hard as Scarlett, we’re living through him. We just want to get him the ball more because it was the safest way, we didn’t have any type of mishaps, any type of mistakes and he was running it and we saw how much it meant to him. The offense was running through him and we just wanted to keep that juice going. He was running like that, Lamical was running like that and we were just like, we don’t even need to put the ball in the air because we’re physically dominating these guys up front and the backs are giving it back to us.
“It was different. I haven’t seen it like that ever. Like I said, being receivers you always want the ball, you always want the ball in the air. But this week it was just different. You could just tell the whole offense was just lit up because we were physically dominating someone up front and our backs were running it harder than they’ve ever run it.”
This is something that McElwain nurtures every day with his team. Just because you aren’t getting the ball on a particular play, you still are important for that play.
Does Mac do anything to create that kind of selfless attitude?
“In practice when we do team run and stuff like that he tries to emphasis to us that we’re not always going to have the ball,” Fulwood said. “So when we’re not having the ball and someone else has the ball we have to do something for them. I think that’s what’s started that movement and created that kind of selfless environment.”
The Gators will have to play team ball this week as they take on No. 14 Florida State in Tallahassee. The Seminoles own a three game winning streak over the Gators and Fulwood and company would like to turn things around.
“I haven’t beaten FSU once, just like LSU,” Fulwood said. “Those two games are the most looking forward games I had just because I never had a chance to beat them. So this game means a little more to me just because I have some friends on the other side and I don’t like them having bragging rights over me. So I’m trying to go give it all to get this ‘W’.”
A win over FSU would help with the idea that the Gators are back to getting things done the way they should in the state.
“I mean, that means we just run the state again,” Fulwood said about a win Saturday. “Florida State had their domination over Miami and now to us to get back over Florida State would mean we’d have the state again. So that’s pretty much it.”