Jim McElwain speaking to the media on Wednesday
Exactly a month from now, the Florida Gators will take the field at The Swamp to square off against the New Mexico State Lobos in their opening game of the 2015 season. Until then, there will be 29 preseason practices allotted by the NCAA for the Gators to prepare for the upcoming season. First year head coach Jim McElwain along with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, linebacker coach Randy Shannon, and players took the podium for Media Day on Wednesday before the first whistle is blown at the initial practice on Thursday.
One area of interest is who will be taking snaps come fall. McElwain can’t wait to hit the field and figure out who is going to be QB-1.
“My biggest thing is I am really excited to see, when we get into team-type drills, to see the people around those two guys at the quarterback spot and how they respond.”
McElwain hopes to bring back the winning culture at Florida. Since 2011, former head coach Will Muschamp led the Gators to a combined 28-21 record with only one bowl win. Muschamp is now at Auburn as Gus Malzahn’s new defensive coordinator.
Like Muschamp, McElwain was a well known coordinator entering his first year at Florida.
As an offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide, McElwain was part of two national championships teams in the 2008 and 2010 seasons. During his four year tenure, the Crimson Tide committed the fewest amount of turnovers in the country while breaking multiple school records in the process. McElwain credits the success to his attention to detail.
“There’s so many things that go into a successful football program, to a successful university, to a successful business. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s all about the little details.”
After that stint, McElwain coached three seasons at Colorado State as the head coach.
For the first time since 2011, the Florida Gators will begin the season with a quarterback not named Jeff Driskel. As for who is going to be starting Week 1 against New Mexico State, that remains to be seen. Sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier will be competing for the starting job. Grier was able to separate himself from Harris in the spring, because of Harris missing time for a family matter. McElwain still insists that he does not know who is going to be the starting quarterback.
“Somebody’s going to take the snap on the first play. I don’t know who it is yet. As soon as we know, we’ll let you know.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators will be led by one of the best defensive players in the country, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Hargreaves anchors a loaded secondary featuring players like Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson and Duke Dawson.
The Gators will hit the practice field on Thursday for the first time since the spring. Fan Day is scheduled for August 15th in the Stephen O’Connell Center.
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