What Jim McElwain's Kelvin Taylor tirade means for the Florida Gators
Congratulations to Kelvin Taylor.
You might have committed the last dumb penalty in Florida Gators history, or at least the last one while Jim McElwain is in charge in Gainesville — lest you face the first-year Florida coach’s fiery wrath.
McElwain unloaded a NSFW tirade on Taylor that would have made the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket blush, after the junior running back made a “throat-slashing” gesture during the Gators’ Week 2 win over East Carolina. The coach maintained that fire straight through to the post-game press conference where he promised immediate reform for a Florida program that’s as notorious for its indiscretions as it is its wins.
“This is not how it’s going to be around here anymore,” McElwain said during his post-game presser. “Over the past 10 years, we have been the most penalized team in the country. It’s not going to happen (anymore). It was embarrassing to our administration, our university and it came back to bite us in the end. We were inconsistent offensively. Defensively, we didn’t get off to a fast start until the end of the game.”
Setting aside that last sentence about the defense waiting until the end to get its fast start, there’s no doubting the 53-year-old coach’s passion for the game. But a rant like that, seen virally across the country, isn’t without its ramifications, both good and bad.
This was a front-row seat to watch two men each experience a learning moment the hard way. You better believe Taylor will never make a “throat-slash” gesture ever again. Nor will anyone on the Gators. But in the same vein, it’s doubtful you’ll ever see another McElwain eruption of that magnitude.
The coach already showed signs of remorse over the explosion, and not just because he was berated by his 94-year-old mother after the video of his rant went viral, McElwain said during a Monday press conference.
There is no doubting that the former Alabama offensive coordinator and Colorado State head coach wears his passion on his sleeves. Although the coach admits he should have gone about it in a better fashion, him and Taylor have since hugged it out.
I love coach Mac!!! He’s going make me a better person Got nothing , but respect for him! #GatorNation
— KT21 (@Kelvintaylor21) September 13, 2015
Of course, there’s a fine line between passion and flipping your lid and challenging the manhood of a 21-year-old. If McElwain hasn’t learned his lesson, and regularly pops off, he might find himself back in the Mountain West before he knows it.
Somewhere in the middle lies the most important aspect of college football: recruiting. Whether or not athletes — and more importantly, their parents — want to play for a guy who’s a pass interference call away from an aneurism might not be the most-attractive prospect.
Others might want the discipline. Taylor’s father, former NFL great Fred Taylor, for example, found McElwain’s invective to be a bit much, but generally gave the benefit of the doubt to the passions that often flare in the heat of battle, said the former Gators player Monday on the Dan LeBatard Show.
Of course, winning always helps. This might be a different scenario today had the Gators had their doors blown off by the Pirates. And while Taylor won’t start in Week 3 as punishment, the junior was back on the field Monday.
— Jenna Ladd (@jenna_ladd) September 14, 2015
Whether or not McElwain is the guy to change the culture in Gainesville at a program that’s seen 24 players arrested in the last five years remains to be seen. It all depends on whether cooler heads can prevail.