The Beginning of the McElwain Era

The last two years have shown the Gator nation one thing: the Florida Gators don’t accept failure. Unfortunately for Will Muschamp, “failure” is probably the best word there is to describe his tenure at Florida, and so he was relieved of his duties. The next step was to find a new coach, and after almost two days of negotiations with Colorado State University, Jeremy Foley struck a deal with Jim McElwain, who soon brought his family onto a plane back the Swamp to begin the next era of Florida Football.
As McElwain’s predecessors Zook and Muschamp have learned the hard way, it is imperative to win over the fanbase in order to keep your job. After the dust settled, Coach Mac sat down for an interview with the voice of the Florida Gators, Mick Hubert. After watching the interview, I got butterflies in my stomach because it seems as if Foley hit a homerun with Coach Mac.
On multiple occasions, Coach Mac referenced the fact that he knows the Florida Gator Football team is talented, but the way the talent has been assessed and employed hasn’t been successful. He stated that his approach to coaching the team will incorporate finding the talents of the players and using them to the advantage of the team- something that Muschamp never really did. Whether it was the wrong offensive scheme for the quarterback (John Brantley) or a lack of fit play calling for a certain style running back (Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, Kelvin Taylor, and more.) Muschamp and his crew never seemed to get it right. The fact that Mac notices this and has accepted it as an issue gives me hope that there will be a change in coaching philosophies.
Any introductory interview can be laced with empty promises to a fan base, but Hubert brought to light one of Coach Mac’s most valuable (and tested) assets. Hubert mentioned how Coach Mac is familiar with the layout of the SEC. He replied “You don’t really know how to explain it unless you’re actually in it yourself”. During his tenure as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, he coached the Crimson Tide’s offense to two national titles. This shows that Mac not only knows how to play in the SEC, but he knows how to win in it. The effect this has on the Gators may be intangible, but it will definitely show in the success of the team.
Residing in arguably the most talented football state in the nation, Coach Mac mentioned his connections with the recruiting field in Florida. He stated “I was [involved in] recruiting in Florida during my time at Alabama, but I established my connections even before that when I was coaching at Michigan State and Louisville.” With a university stationed so close to the hub of college football recruiting, it is imperative to have a good figurehead at the forefront of our recruiting battle, and Coach Mac knows what he’s doing. With the previous experience he has had recruiting from the state of Florida, he shouldn’t have a problem reeling in some of the nation’s top recruits.
Though most every new coach is met with excitement and high hopes, Jim McElwain seems to be able to hold his own weight. His experience as Alabama’s offensive coordinator has given him crucial experience in the SEC, but his head coaching experience at Colorado State (HC experience that Muschamp lacked) shows that he knows how to take his coaching to the next level and still be successful, as his team is 10-2 in the 2014 season. His previous experience coupled with his recruiting abilities (he’s visiting three highly touted prospects in Tampa today) and his versatility when it comes to coaching to player’s talents gives me high hopes for the future.

And if my hopes for the future are realized, Gator football may be back sooner than we expected.

12 thoughts on “The Beginning of the McElwain Era

  1. “It is imperative to have a good figurehead at the forefront of our recruiting battle, and Coach Mac knows what he’s doing”

    I’d like to THINK so, but how can you prove that McElwain is such a fantastic recruiter? He was either recruiting under Nick Saban at Alabama, both of which kind of sell themselves, or recruiting for a no name school in the Rocky Mountain region of the country. You can’t really tell how well he recruits by his days under Saban, or by his Colorado St days for better or worse

    1. We know he can develop. We know he can scheme. He has rings. That’s how we know he can recruit – that and the brand he represents will recruit itself

  2. For once a little positive light.

    I get a great feeling that he may be a coach who can develop players, something lacking in the Swamp for years.

    Very short term, we should be better than last year. Recruiting these next few years will determine when we turn the corner. Long term, with this attitude, we’ll be back.

    1. Welcome to the new direction of IAKOW! Muschamp is gone, so there’s absolutely no need for it. His entire tenure was pretty much a big black mark on the history of Gator football, and was treated as such on here. Now we have a new coach with new hope, and it will be written about accordingly.

  3. My impressions:
    -He won at CSU (10 reg season wins in 2014 for only the 4th time in program history even!) without the help of a decent recruiting class. To be the doormat for local heavyweight CU, those recruiting numbers aren’t fair to pin on Mac’s abilities to draw talent.
    -The suggestion that he recruited under the huge Alabama brand is offset by the fact he’ll now recruit under the mighty Florida brand, to Florida talent. That’s a push at worst, a big win for UF most likely.
    -The fact he recruited Orlando’s RB Dee Hart to Alabama 3 years ago, then transferred to reunite with Mac at CSU says bunches. Hart could’ve stuck with Bama to get another ring or two before finishing his career, but chose instead to head west. So, obviously Mac > Saban because we all know CSU < Bama. Big. Huge.
    -He is definitely a developer of talent. Garrett Grayson, a 3-star QB that very few actually recruited (offers from the likes of Miami-Oh, Idaho State and Eastern Washington) landed at CSU and has blown up their record books, and is now a finalist for the Manning Award along with Winston, Sims, Barrett, Prescott, and Mariotta, etc. Who isn't a finalist? Treon Harris (4-stars) and Jeff Driskel (4-stars).
    -The man used the word "Process" repeatedly during his intro presser, you know like the "process" Nick Saban has been quoted as driving home to his juggernaut in Tuscaloosa. I like processes. And I think I'm gonna really love Mac's "process".
    -He's a people person, in the way that you have to win people over to like you, believe in you, and do exactly what you want (teach) them to do. He speaks of "personal relationships" being the key to just about everything in life. Because I have always held the same philosophy (even telling my wife before he uttered that phrase that he is exactly the kind of person I would be if I were a head coach), I can identify with precisely how he's going to go about being successful. This will translate to great recruiting classes and even better development/results we all will bear witness to on Saturdays for years to come.
    I have no doubt he is going to stun even us finicky/spoiled Gators faithful, and sooner rather than later. Keep in mind, I say this after being totally unimpressed with him when I first heard his name being tossed around 2 weeks ago. Looking into his resume, then watching the presser on Saturday, has completely changed my mind about him. He's going to win at Florida, and win BIG. He's the real deal and we're lucky to have landed him.
    Ok, pep talk over. Carry on.

    1. He brings one kid over from Bama, so you say he is a better recruiter than Saban…..horrid argument….The kid was probably promised playing time from a coach he trusted and thought that was his best chance at being drafted…Comparing the Florida brand to the Bama brand right now is a joke….we are not on the same level anymore…..We have no idea how good of a recruiter coach Mac is…..but we will certainly find out on signing day…If he brings this class inside the top 20…..there will be zero doubt about his skill….for now we can only hope….everyone else can pretend like they have spent time with coach on the recruiting trail, knowing his true ability….

  4. This article is trash.

    What makes you fit to judge coaches? You and Neil both continually ripped Muschamp to shreds without the slightest bit of football knowledge at your disposal. You’re in no position to even guess how the new coach would turn out. Leave the blogging to those who know what they’re doing. Hell at least Neil is entertaining and funny now and then.

        1. I banned his username, but the way this site is set up, anybody can comment as a guest. (And I like it that way.) I think the next step is banning the guy’s IP address or a instituting a range block. He does nothing but cause trouble, both here and at Alligator Army.

    1. Say hello to the new plugin package I just installed to my admin dashboard. It’s called “your IP address is banned from ever commenting here again.” And while your response to that would probably be you don’t care, I’d caution you that it’s that type of insensitivity and dismissiveness that gets you laughed out of every argument you’re stupid enough to start.

      Oh and don’t throw a hissy fit. I’m just doing what you wanted- taking out the trash.

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