What Jim McElwain said in his first press conference as Florida's head coach
Jim McElwain spoke to the media for the first time since becoming head coach of the Florida Gators earlier this week. Here’s what he had to say …
RELATED: Watch Jim McElwain’s introductory press conference
What an honor and how humbling it is to be a part of one of the greatest brands in college athletics … you think about all the great players and the tradition that has been built at the University of Florida is so exciting … when you look at the quality that is the University of Florida and that brand and what it brings with it, I can’t tell you how excited we are. As we kind of build this moving forward … what I would ask, let’s go affect the people around us in a positive way. Let’s be a part of something special and let’s keeping building for the next step …
Guys, I just have to tell you this. This is an honor and I’m excited. When you think about the Ring of Honor, when you think about the great games and the tradition that is Gator football, I can’t wait to be a part of it … I’ll say it again, I’m proud to be a Gator. I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.
On talking with current coaching staff
We haven’t made any plans moving forward right now as far as that goes. We’ll hit the road next week and go as far as possible recruiting wise … there are some great commitments right now and some guys who are waiting to see what’s going on …
On what he learned at CSU
I guess one of the good things about being at a place like the University of Alabama and to see how the organization is built, not just the Xs and Os, but to see the nuts and bolts of what goes into success … that’s what helps you. There were a lot of things as a first-time head coach, but really being organized in your time — I think that’s one of the most important things … it was a great opportunity.
On what he does on offense
I’m that dog they dropped off at the humane society, and he has a little bit of every breed in it … when we get here it’s about the evaluation of the talent that’s here … obviously we believe in balance and yet some games based on what the defense is taking away you have to have the versatility to do the other thing. That’s where it evolves. It’s going to be one of those deals where we develop first on what we have to play with.
On motivation to make sure deal got done
There’s only a couple of these in the United States of America and one of those is the Florida Gators. I’m not sure I could have lived with it to let that opportunity pass by. I’m not one to let opportunities pass by.
On added pressure from buyout
Pressure, man it’s awesome. That’s why we do this. The one thing I love is pressure. I never look at it as feeling the pressure, but I look at it as applying the pressure.
On recruiting in Florida
“What I’m excited about most of anything is rekindling the relationships [in Florida]. I’m excited. I’m going to hit the road on Monday morning … probably what I’m most excited about is rekindling the relationships and getting back involved with the players we had an effect on their lives. That’s what it’s all about.
On UF’s offensive woes
You don’t know what it is until you evaluate what’s there. That’s what has to be first and foremost. Historically, you got to have explosive plays and teach the quarterback tot throw to the right colored jersey … that’s my responsibility … it isn’t just offense, it isn’t just defense, and it isn’t just special teams. It’s about getting those to work cohesively.
On which offensive style he’d like to use
Yeah, whatever works.
On when he’ll begin to evaluate the current Gators
I’ve already started that. The beauty of technology now, right? As soon as this came to fruition, my focus was let’s get to work. We’ve already started on recruiting … this is one of those deals, first, needs to be evaluated. You can’t make snap judgments.
On which staff he’s already talked to
The entire staff in the football organization part of it. And we’ll do that here again today and tomorrow and we’ll set the road recruiting.
On timeline for hiring staff
Here’s the key. Get the best. Get the best that’s a fit for the university. We’ll do that very diligent. I’m not sure there is a timeline. We’ll make it right.
On if Nebraska or Michigan reached out about coaching vacancies
I’m a Gator.
On speaking with Steve Spurrier after accepting UF job
He’s a guy I had an opportunity to meet in an organization we were together with. He’s one of those guys I’ve always looked at what he’s done. The brand of ball he plays, I’ve admired from afar.
On if he’ll call his offense the Fun’ N’ Gun
I don’t know what you call it, but it’ll be a blast.
On his name for the offense
How about the Humane Society?
On if there was a moment he thought he wanted to be at UF
One of the great guys in this game, that’s Will Muschamp. The first time I was actually in this state recruiting, that’s when I wanted to be a Gator. It’s been a while.
On how to be successful at different places
That’s my responsibility. Build a relationship with every player, everyone in the department. Because at the end of the day, what do we want? That’s to be successful. And that’s where it starts.
On message to recruits
Well, number one you have an opportunity to win a national championship. But first and foremost it’s about what it’ll do for the rest of your life and what being a Gator means …
On talking to CSU players
That was hard because these young men truly invested in something that was bigger than themselves. I was so proud of them. They’ll always have a special place in my heart. That’s who I am, I care about people.
On if he’s talked to Nick Saban
No, he’s busy right now. He obviously is a guy that means a ton to me. For him to take a chance on an unknown guy out west to come run his offense and be a part of one of the best organizations from that standpoint, I own him everything. And he’s been very supportive … I hope the next time we see each other is in Atlanta around this time of year.
On how to develop QBs
Eliminate the clutter. That’s the key. Eliminate the clutter and understanding the important things … be one of those guys that’s going to out study everybody … throw it to the colored jersey we’re wearing.
On when he’ll meet with the players
What we’ll do is have a team meeting on Monday morning. We’ll have that visit then.
On his message to UF players
Embrace what you’re doing. You’re Gators, right? Go win a bowl game.
I think the one thing they’ll be able to look at is ‘this guy has had some guys.’ We’ll fit the system to what kind of traits they have … I think if there’s a running back out there, they might want to take a look.