University of Florida

UF football coach Jim McElwain happy as team rebounds from sloppy practice

“We bounced back and had a heck of a practice today,” UF coach Jim McElwain, above in a file photo, said Wednesday.
“We bounced back and had a heck of a practice today,” UF coach Jim McElwain, above in a file photo, said Wednesday. TNS

Jim McElwain was disappointed Monday, and Florida’s coach didn’t shy away blasting his new team’s effort.

“Our mindset was not to get better,” he said, frustratingly.

“It was to endure practice. It really bothered me. It was unacceptable. You don’t do that and play championship football. It wasn’t good. I’m a little irritated about it, and rightfully so, because it hasn’t been our M.O.”

McElwain sang a totally different tune Wednesday.

“We bounced back and had a heck of a practice today,” he said, smiling.

“There was some good stuff leading into Friday. What I’m reaching or searching for tomorrow is our guys really taking from the situational film. We’re going to start stacking some things, and tomorrow’s going to be huge for us in the meeting rooms, as we’re going forward. The message to them today was, ‘Let’s go ahead and win the meeting tomorrow.’ That’s what we’ve got to do, kind of one step at a time and let’s get a little bit better.”

For a program trying to overcome a combined 11-13 record the past two seasons, the small things really matter.

The Gators have just five practices remaining this spring, so Monday’s lackluster effort is viewed as a wasted day.

Still, Florida’s new staff is slowly laying the foundation for the future, and the players (for the most part) are buying in. The new scheme instillation process continues, and McElwain is most concerned with the players “winning the day.”

“I tell them I’m going to be brutally honest with them, both in a good way when things are right but I’ve got to point out when things aren’t quite the way we expect them,” he explained.

“And that was the case and then you’re able to show it on film. That’s the one thing: That camera never lies and it doesn’t turn off, so it’s pretty easy to see a guy’s energy, tempo, all those type of things, attention to the details, and that bears out when we able to go through the film.”

▪ McElwain and new UF president Kent Fuchs traded jobs Wednesday, filming a silly digital short titled “Freaky Friday Night Lights” as an April Fool’s Day prank. “We had a lot of fun,” Fuchs said. “It’s the most fun I’ve had in years. Literally.”

▪ Backup tailback Adam Lane (hamstring) returned to action after missing three straight practices, but sophomore tight end DeAndre Goolsby did not participate Wednesday due to a knee bruise.

▪ McElwain reaffirmed that Florida won’t hold its traditional Orange & Blue Debut on April 11, but the Gators will scrimmage some during the open event.

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