University of Florida

UF football coach Jim McElwain likes team’s energy in spring camp

Florida football coach Jim McElwain speaks as he arrives for the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic, Friday, March 13, 2015, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Florida football coach Jim McElwain speaks as he arrives for the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic, Friday, March 13, 2015, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. AP

Florida’s Jim McElwain was tabbed as Will Muschamp’s replacement over three months ago, but the former Colorado State football coach took the field with his new team for the first time this week.

“Finally,” he said.

“It seems like it’s taken forever to get out on the field and do what the heck we’re here to do, and that’s coach some ball.”

The Gators opened spring camp Monday and have completed two of 15 practices before the Orange-Blue debut on April 11. UF’s initial workouts have focused on tempo, communication and competition.

“I like the way the guys have come together,” McElwain said.

“The competition between the units, understanding each and every play is an opportunity to get better. They probably took a lot more reps than they had been used to in the past, and yet we need to increase our pace.”

Wednesday’s practice was “sloppy,” but McElwain remained pleased with the team’s energy and willingness to adjust to a new staff and scheme.

“We’ve got a lot of details that we need to take care of, and that’s to be expected when you get a new install like this,” McElwain said.

“The key right now is to keep loading the wagon and come back and re-teach it again.”

The Gators debuted a no-huddle offense last season, but the results — both in tempo and production — were largely fruitless.

McElwain was hired to resurrect Florida’s program, starting with its toothless attack. The longtime offensive coordinator has remained mum on the new offense’s identity.

“I think the big part for us is just the discovery of what guys do best, what guys need to work on and hopefully then in turn not put them in situations to not be successful,” McElwain said.

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