Quotes from Saturday’s news conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the Florida campus introducing the Gators’ new head football coach, Jim McElwain.

An interview with:

University President DR. BERNIE MACHEN

Florida Athletics Director JEREMY FOLEY

Florida Head Coach JIM McELWAIN

DR. BERNIE MACHEN:  Good morning, everyone.  We’re glad that you came to Gainesville today as we open the next chapter in Gator football.

This is an important event for the whole university because intercollegiate athletics at the University of Florida is central and integral to the activities of our university.

We have found a coach that we believe is exactly the right person to lead us into the next era of Gator football.  So without further ado, I’ll introduce you to Jeremy Foley who will introduce Coach Mac.

 

JEREMY FOLEY:  Thank you for being here today.  Sorry I wasn’t available earlier in the week, I was in Fort Collins.

Very proud for this university, this athletic program, to introduce Jim McElwain as our head football coach.

It has been special process for all of us.  Process started a little less than three weeks ago.  Seems longer than that.  We spent a lot of hours researching and vetting a lot of different coaches’ names.  At the end of the day, Jim’s name kept coming to the top of the list.

He has all the qualities I discussed with you three weeks ago.  Offensive minded coach, his track record on the offensive side of the ball is special.  You can look it up, see the records.

Most importantly, an individual with high character, high integrity.  We talked about that.  He’ll do the right thing every day.  That’s who he is as a person.

Head coaching experience, the job he has done at Colorado State is nothing short of a miracle.  We looked at where they were before he got there and where they are today.  To me that says a lot.

He’s a fit for the University of Florida.  We talked to a lot of people about Jim, what type of person is he, what type of person will he be inside the building.  The amount of people kept saying the exact same things about him, how special he was, how good a guy he was.  Again, he kept rising to the top.

Added to the fact he’s been in this league.  He knows what it’s like to compete in the Southeastern Conference.  Obviously won two national championships in the league.  He’s recruited the state of Florida.  Every single box kept getting checked next to Jim’s name.

Obviously we were blessed to go out there earlier this week, spend time with him and Karen.  Certainly it was very apparent this was the individual to take us into the next phase of our football program.  He’s a winner.  We’re excited to have him as a Gator, and his family as Gators.  I promise we’re going to have a lot of fun together.

With that, it’s a pleasure for me to introduce our new head football coach, Jim McElwain.

COACH McELWAIN:  How we doing, guys?  Doing all right?

I got to tell you something now, what an honor, how humbling it is to be a part of one of the greatest brands in all of college athletics, to have the opportunity to be a part of something that’s real special.

You look out and you see that stadium, you think about all the great players, people, tradition that has been built at the University of Florida.  That’s something that is so exciting.  I grew up in Montana.  These are things you dream about.

Yet along the way we’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot of great things, meet a lot of great people, learn life lessons that help you be successful.

That’s kind of the goal here, not only in the athletic department, but when you look at the quality that is the University of Florida, that brand, what it brings with it, I can’t tell you how excited myself, my wife, my kids are.  They’ve been through a lot now, all right?  For us to be a part of Gator Nation is something that means so much.

As we kind of build this moving forward, I talk about this for the people who are involved in what we do and how we do it.  What I would ask, is let’s go affect the people around us in a positive way.  Let’s be part of something special.  Let’s keep pushing it to the next step.

That’s really what it’s all about.  As we create the process, as we create the infrastructure, as we put the pieces in place that gives you success, those foundations and fundamentals that all people have, let’s not forget one thing:  it’s about these players.

I want to say this.  Coach Muschamp has been very helpful.  You talk about a great guy, a great ball coach.  He’s put together a heck of a staff here that’s going to go forward as I’ve talked to them about going and winning a bowl game.  That’s what it’s all about right now.  It’s about investing in these young men who are here.

Our jobs as educators, our jobs as coaches, are to be involved in young men’s lives to help them as they move on down the road.  One of the things that it’s going to be, being part of the Gator family, being part of this organization, is going to do nothing more than better you for the rest of your life.  That’s really what it’s all about.

Guys, I just got to tell you this.  This is an honor.  I’m excited.  I sat on the other sideline in that Swamp one day, played against these guys.  When you think of the Ring of Honor, when you think about the great players, you think about the great games, you think about the history and tradition that is Gator football, I cannot tell you how proud I am to be a part of that.  I look forward to a long, long history.

I guess a guy who said it best was when I talked with Coach Spurrier.  He said, Mack, welcome to Gator Country.  You know what, that means a lot.  I look forward to rekindling a lot of relationships and moving forward.

With that, guys, would love to take some questions.  I’ll say it again, proud to be a Gator.  Looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Q.  Can you talk about your plans for staffing, current members of the staff.

COACH McELWAIN:  Sure, absolutely. First and foremost, these guys have come here and done a great job for this university.  We haven’t made any plans moving forward right now as to anything as far as that goes.

Obviously it’s an opportunity for me to get around these guys.  We’ll hit the road next week, get to as many places as humanly possible from the recruiting standpoint because it’s one of those things recruit daily or die now.  We’ve got to make sure we secure a great class.

There’s some great commitments right now.  There are guys waiting to see what’s going to happen, what’s going on.  That’s first and foremost what we do, is go out and do that.  As we kind of look through it, we’ll get a chance to visit with everybody in the organization.  It isn’t just the coaches.  It’s lost sometimes, it’s not just the coaches.  It’s everything that touches the desk of the head football coach.  A lot of that will be evaluated over time as we move forward and build the infrastructure that is success.

Q.  Talk about what you learned as a head coach at Colorado State that was different from what you anticipated just being the coordinator at ‘Bama.

COACH McELWAIN:  I guess one of the good things is being at a place like the University of Alabama, really learning under one of the greatest.  I mean, [Nick Saban] was great to me.  Yet to see how the organization is built, not just the X’s and O’s, but what goes into the nuts and bolts that is success.

The thing is, success in life, success out on the field, success on the practice field, success in the classroom, all of those things are built.  Really that’s what helps you.

There were a lot of things that you learn as a first time head ball coach which probably has to do spending so much time with you guys, that might be one of them.  But really being organized in your time.  I think that’s one of the most important things.  Making sure to make the priorities, and that is the players.  All of those priorities are the things we need to do.

It was a great opportunity.  I was thankful for it.

Q.  Who were your influences offensively?  What is the offense going to look like?

COACH McELWAIN:  That’s pretty interesting.  I always get that.  It’s like, Who are you?

Well, here is who I am.  I’m the dog they dropped off down at the Humane Society.  He has a little bit of about every breed in him.  Whatever the situation is, you try to bring that breed out that helps success.

I think first and foremost, look, my pedigree, I’m from Montana, I spent 15 years in I-AA football, which is awesome because you wear every hat in the building at one time.  I was everything from a PA announcer to a popcorn salesman to also a teacher and educator at a university as part of the PE department there.  There’s a lot of great things you learn.

When you don’t have resources, what you do is you actually go study as much as you can and really try to put it in your own terms, your own words.

There’s not been one thing that I’ve invented.  A lot of guys in this business think they invented it.  It’s been done somewhere along the way.  Somebody did it before.

I’ve had great influences on my life as it goes through from the coaching standpoint.  When we get here, it’s about the evaluation of the talent that’s here.  Really accentuate what they do well, adapt to that, then recruit to some of the areas that maybe we need to get to as we form who we are and an identity.

Obviously we believe in balance.  Yet some games, based on what the defense has taken away, you need to have the versatility to do the other thing.  That’s really where it evolves.

But as we kind of do this, the one thing is, been pretty successful over the years of putting up some pretty good numbers with whoever we have back there, whether it’s the quarterback, running back, wideout, offensive line.  It’s going to be one of those deals that we will develop it based on first what we have to play with.

Q.  What was the impetus to finally leave your comfort zone?  You lived in the west for so many years, Big Sky Conference.  What was the emphasis to move to Louisville to get to here?

COACH McELWAIN:  It’s about relationships, number one.  The one great thing we know is every place we’ve been, we’ve had wonderful people touch our lives.  As a family, we can speak to that.

As far as moving up, moving on, however you want to work it, the opportunity to be at this place, that’s something that drives you.  The opportunity to be at the top, really take your shot with the best.  The best being the SEC:  the best players you’re going to play against, the best coaches you’re going to coach against.

I never look at anything like that except what a great challenge, what a great opportunity to match your skills against the best.  That’s really what it’s all about.

Q.  Jim, when you met with Jeremy on Tuesday and Wednesday, it became apparent both of you thought it was the right fit, was there a time that you felt like it wasn’t going to happen?  How determined were you to make it happen?  Can you take us through that process when Jeremy came back home, those next 12 hours where you finally got the deal done.

COACH McELWAIN:  I know this.  Look, what you got to understand in collegiate athletics, when certain names come up, Jeremy’s name is on the top of that list.  As he did the research on me, I did the research on him now, okay?  I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, all right?

Every person I talked to spoke of integrity, quality, great person to be with.  It didn’t disappoint when he was able to come over and visit with us, my wife and I, at the house.  That was special.  Then to meet the other people around that, that’s special.

At that point really what happens is, let’s figure out a way to get this done.  I know how excited I am to be here, how fortunate I am to have this opportunity.

Q.  Was there a time you felt like it wasn’t going to happen?

COACH McELWAIN:  I’m kind of one of those guys, look, I adapt pretty well to whatever happens, all right?  I knew, I had a hunch.  I thought it would get taken care of.  You know what?  The one thing you always do is, look, you got to keep treating each moment like it’s its own.

It’s just like the game of football.  Every play has a history and life of its own, okay?  Go win that play, right?  That’s what we do.

In that case, I’m just excited that it worked out.  I know Karen and I are really excited to be here.

Q.  Talk about the momentum, the motivation to make sure this thing got done.

COACH McELWAIN:  Well, you got to understand this.  There’s only a couple of these in the United States of America, and one of those is the Florida Gators.  To be able to have that opportunity is something that I’m not sure I could have lived with, if given that opportunity, to let it pass by.

I’m never one to let things kind of pass by.  I kind of roll up my sleeves and go get it done.  That’s really what it is all about.

Q.  What do you think of those who say there may be some added pressure because of the much publicized buyout?

COACH McELWAIN:  Here is the beauty.  Pressure is awesome.  That’s why we do this.  The one thing I love is pressure.

Now, I never look at it as feeling the pressure.  I always look at it as applying the pressure.  I’m excited about that part of it.

You know what, if there’s no pressure, why wake up in the morning, right?  That’s really what drives me anyway.

Q.  Being in Colorado, you had six kids from Florida on your roster there.  How have you been able to continue those contacts from being out there?  Will you have to rekindle some of those coming back here?

COACH McELWAIN:  Here is the thing.  I recruited Florida when I was at the University of Louisville, when I was at Michigan State, recruited Florida obviously for the University of Alabama.  What I’m excited about most of anything is rekindling the relationships.

In fact, one of my good friends, former coach, Bradenton Southeast, Coach Maechtle, that goes way back when I first got into this state.  Being able to go do that, seeing those guys, I’m excited.

I’m going to hit the road on Monday morning.  I’ll be back when time is unknown, when it becomes dead again, which is the following week.  Probably what I’m most excited about is rekindling the relationships, getting back involved with the players that we had an effect on their lives.  That’s really what it’s all about.

Q.  Obviously winning games is the key.

COACH McELWAIN:  That’s a big key, by the way.  Somebody told me that’s what we’re supposed to do.  I like that.  That’s a good opener (laughter).

Q.  Getting to that point, you got to fix this offense.  Been pretty stagnant for five years now.  What is the plan?  Spread?  Is it a daunting task?

COACH McELWAIN:  I think when you talk about the ‘what,’ you don’t know what it is until you evaluate what’s there.  That’s got to be first and foremost.

Look, historically the ability to get explosive play makers, get the ball in the guy’s hands, teaching a quarterback to throw to the right colored jersey.  The simplicity of this is really what it’s all about, right?  I look at it as a great challenge.  But when you look from an historical standpoint, it can be done.

Whether it needs fixed or not, I’m not the guy that’s going to say that.  They’ve got good coaches here.  It just didn’t work, okay?

From that, it’s my responsibility to make sure not only do we do that, but understand this, it takes three phases.  It isn’t just offense, it isn’t just defense, and it isn’t just special teams.  How do those work together cohesively to help you win the ballgame?  That’s really what we’re here to do.

Q.  You have done pro style and spread.  Any preference?

COACH McELWAIN:  Yeah, whatever works (laughter).  I’ve seen some pretty good stuff that’s worked here in the past.  We’ll get that going.

Q.  This team came close to winning eight or nine games.  Is it a different rebuilding process moving from Colorado State?

COACH McELWAIN:  This is the fourth team in the history of ball that had 10 wins and is going to get an 11th, because they’re going to win that bowl game.  There’s something very satisfying.  Great people there.  It’s in great hands.

The opportunity here, okay, to recruit a place that has unbelievable talent and a place that has a history of winning, a tradition of winning, those are the things you kind of look at.

Every task you handle is big, okay?  It doesn’t matter.  Brushing your teeth in the morning sometimes is really big, right?

Well, I got to tell you this.  The bigger, the better.  That’s really what it’s all about.  That’s why I’m here.

I’m excited to get out on the road and do some recruiting actually.

Q.  You were born in Butte, Montana.

COACH McELWAIN:  I was born in Kalispell, raised in Missoula.  Those guys in Butte are tough guys now.

Q.  Were your philosophies ever influenced by the most famous resident ever from Butte, Evil Knievel?

COACH McELWAIN:  I learned this.  I learned not to ride motorcycles or jump cars.  That’s the one thing I did learn.

Q.  Jim, you’ve talked a lot about building your system around the players.  At what point do you get to the evaluation process of what you have to work with?

COACH McELWAIN:  Already started that.  The beauty of technology, right?  As soon as this kind of came to fruition, my focus was simply:  Let’s get to work.

That’s already started.  We’ve already met on recruiting.  We had an extensive meeting late last night.  If I look a little tired, there might be a reason, okay?

You know what, this is one of those deals that first needs to be evaluated.  You don’t make snap judgments, right?  What you got to do is you have to sit back, reflect, learn, take in, then make the process move forward.

Q.  Who did you meet with?

COACH McELWAIN:  The entire staff in the football organization part of it.  Then we’ll do that again here today and tomorrow.  We’ll set to the road recruiting.

Q.  I know you mentioned earlier that no decisions were made about the coaching staff yet.  You also mentioned how important that is to recruits.  What is the ideal time to get that finalized, your coaching staff?

COACH McELWAIN:  Here is the key:  get the best that’s a fit for the university, get the best that’s a fit for the area.  We’ll do that very diligently.  I’m not sure there is a timeline.

Look, this is who I am.  If you can’t look at the track record, say, This is what happens when he gets around.  You know, we’ll make it right.

Q.  You also mentioned this is one of the premiere jobs in the country.  Michigan and Nebraska also opened up.  Did they contact you at all?  Did you think about going there?

COACH McELWAIN:  I’m a Gator (smiling).

Q.  I liked your enthusiasm with that answer.  You had mentioned you had spoken with Steve Spurrier.  He welcomed you to Gator Country.  What advice did he give you?  You also mentioned you steal some plays from other people’s bag of tricks.

COACH McELWAIN:  He’s got one that we actually used against him, that I’ve actually carried with me.  We call it Cadillac.  Why?  Why not?  I don’t know.  He didn’t teach it to me.  But I looked at it enough on film or cut ups.

You know, he’s a guy I had an opportunity to meet previously with an organization that we were together with.  He’s one of those guys I’ve always kind of looked at what he’s done.

The great thing about video now, before it was cutting up 16 millimeter film, taping it together.  Now I’m actually able to get it, organize it, put it in files and study it.  Obviously the brand of ball he plays is something that I’ve always admired from afar.

Q.  We might see some fun and gun back here?

COACH McELWAIN:  I don’t know what you call it, but it will be a blast (laughter).

Q.  Do you have a name for your offense at all?  Just call it the Alabama offense around here.

COACH McELWAIN:  How about the Humane Society?

Q.  I want to ask you about your receivers.  Getting the ball to the guy in the right colored jersey sounds simple, but isn’t simple.  You had one guy in Fort Collins who did, Rashard Higgins.

COACH McELWAIN:  Leads the nation in total yards, touchdowns.

Q.  As simple as that sounds, how did you get him open and get the ball to him?

COACH McELWAIN:  It’s interesting being with different philosophies along the way.  On your call sheet, it says, Get it to.  Pretty simple.  There’s this column that says, Get it to.  That means get it to the guy that can score, right?

I bet you Coach Donovan over there, they actually run plays for a guy to get open for a three pointer, right?  I’m guessing.  By the way, I’m a huge basketball fan, so I’ll probably be bothering the heck out of him.

But it’s about ‘get it to’s’, it’s about finding who those people are, then determining situations and touches throughout a game for you to be successful.  You got to do that through multiple formations and shifts because people can start to take guys away if they’re just standing in one position.  That’s where the multiplicity of what you’re trying to accomplish comes to fruition.

Q.  Can you talk about when Will was fired, where was the moment when you went, Hmm, I wonder if I have a chance at that job?

COACH McELWAIN:  Let me tell you something.  You talk about one of the great guys in this game, one of the great ball coaches in this game, that’s Will Muschamp.

When you said that, I will say this.  The first time I was actually in this state recruiting, that’s when I knew I wanted to be a Gator ’cause I saw the influence and I saw what it’s all about.  This goes a long time.

Q.  What year would that have been?

COACH McELWAIN:  What was that, Paul?  We were together when I was at Montana State, but it was shortly after that.  I can’t remember.  It’s been a while.  I’m not real good on math.  Eastern Washington education, sorry (laughter).

Nothing gets the red turf now.  You seen that stuff?  Let me tell you a story about that.  We’re at Alabama.  Some guy comes and says they want to put red turf at Eastern Washington University.  At the time we put a nest egg together for an outdoor kitchen because I love to cook.  That’s kind of what I do, right?

Well, all of a sudden a five by five square of the red turf was basically our outdoor kitchen, so…

Q.  You talked about obviously Colorado State and Florida are two very different places.  Were there things you wanted to do immediately there that you also want to do here?

COACH McELWAIN:  Absolutely.  That’s build the infrastructure, develop the process, create the environment that is successful in today’s world of college football.

Things change, man.  You got to be on the cutting edge.  There’s a lot of things within that.  Yet I’m not prepared to say what because I haven’t had a chance to evaluate exactly the ‘what’, if that makes sense.

I guess the good thing is seeing the model, all right, then adapting that to whatever place you’re at is really kind of what it’s all about.  I look forward to getting that in place here.

Q.  Being your first head coaching job at Colorado State, what are some things you did there that maybe didn’t work?  Looking in the mirror, how did you evolve as a coach?

COACH McELWAIN:  You think I’m going to tell you my secrets (laughter)?

You know, the one thing you got to understand, everything starts with relationships.  Doesn’t matter what business you’re in.  Doesn’t matter what field you’re in.  That’s first and foremost.

That’s my responsibility:  build a relationship with each and every player, each and every person in the department, the people on campus, the professors, people in the administration.  That’s what it is.

At the end of the day, what do we want?  The common goal is to be successful, right?  So that’s where it starts.

Q.  As an offensive coach, you’ve coached at the highest level in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.

COACH McELWAIN:  Some people would say I didn’t coach in the National Football League, I coached at the Raiders, okay (laughter)?

What a great experience that was.  I have to say this, Mr. Davis was great to me.  I was fortunate for the opportunity.

Q.  You’ve coached there, obviously coached at Alabama, one of the best football programs in the country, then at smaller schools that maybe didn’t have the skill set as those places did.  How have you been able to adjust with different talent and be successful?

COACH McELWAIN:  I think, number one, is being able to adjust, adapt and overcome, right, and have enough security in who you are, what you’re all about, to go ahead and do what it takes for that unit to be successful.

Look, every year you’re going to have new players.  That’s the way it is.  So whether it’s having to throw it 80 times a game, whether it’s having to throw it 40 times a game, it really depends, number one, on who you have, number two, how that fits and matches with your defense, and how the special teams can change field position.  Those are all the keys.

At the end of the day, whether you have two yards on offense or 900 yards on offense, win the game, right?  I always get a kick out of all these people that love their statistics.  Let’s look at the win and loss.  That’s the overall thing for a program and organization to be successful.

Q.  Next time we’ll see you is on signing day.

COACH McELWAIN:  Do I get to see them on signing day?  You haven’t told me that yet (laughter).

Here is what I want to know.  What does he serve for lunch when we do this stuff?  I got to know, right?  I’m doing an interview.  What is it?

Q.  Mix of everything.  They got something different every week.

COACH McELWAIN:  What is your favorite?

Q.  Probably the chicken Parmesan.  Are you going to cook for us?

COACH McELWAIN:  You know what, I hope to have the time (laughter).

Q.  Next time we see you, you’ll have your class.  How would you describe yourself as a recruiter?  What is going to be your message to guys?

COACH McELWAIN:  Number one, you got an opportunity to win a national championship.  But first and foremost, it’s about what that is going to do for the rest of your life, what being a Gator is, then adjusting to that and understanding, look, we’re here to make sure that your experience is going to do nothing but set you apart for the rest of your life.  That’s what it is to be a Gator.

Q.  You mentioned relationships.  I read in a Colorado paper that you were emotional when you went in to talk to your team.  I was wondering how that was.

COACH McELWAIN:  That was hard.  Why was it hard?  Because these young men truly invested in something that was bigger than themselves.  They gave of themselves, really changed a culture.

I was so proud of them.  They will always obviously have a special bond in my heart.  But that’s who I am.  I care about people.  I want them to be successful so bad.

You know what, I owe them a lot.  Those guys meant the world to me.

Q.  Did you talk to Coach Saban about this job?

COACH McELWAIN:  No.  He’s busy right now (smiling).

He obviously is a guy that means a ton to me.  For him to take a chance on an unknown guy from out west to come run his offense and be a part of one of the best organizations from that standpoint, I owe him everything.

He’s been very supportive ever since then.  His wife Terry is fantastic with Karen.  I owe him a lot.  I hope the next time I see him will probably be in Atlanta around this time of year.

Q.  I don’t know how deeply you’ve gotten into your evaluations, but can you win with the quarterbacks that Florida has or do you have to go out and get yourself a quarterback?

COACH McELWAIN:  I don’t think that’s fair yet.  I haven’t been with them yet.  I’ve seen some things.  I think being able to kind of watch them interact with the team, see how they practice, we’ll get an idea.

You got to understand this.  I believe I can win with my dog Claire-a-bell.  That’s the attitude.  There’s good players here.  That’s just our responsibility to get that going.

Q.  You’re known as an offensive guy, but also a quarterback guy.  What is the key to developing guys?

COACH McELWAIN:  Eliminate the clutter.  That’s the key.  Eliminate the clutter and understand the important things.

First and foremost, the most important thing is affecting the people around you in a positive way.  That’s first and foremost.

Second thing is be one of those guys that’s going to out study every person there is on what you need to do from a game plan standpoint, what you need to do from a characteristic standpoint, to stand apart.

The last thing is throw it to the colored jersey we’re wearing.

Q.  You went to Colorado State.  Those kids didn’t know you.  You turned it around quickly.  I guess they bought in.

COACH McELWAIN:  I would say so.

Q.  What kind of a process was that to go through?  What will you do here to do the same thing?

COACH McELWAIN:  Well, you know, it’s hard because it’s changed.  Each one of our lives, anytime anything’s different, there’s a sense of, Oh, what’s next?  Yet one of the things is just about building the relationship, building the trust.

These guys are going to know I’m not one of these guys that’s going to come in and say, You’re someone else.  That isn’t how it works.  You’re a Gator.  I’m a Gator.  Give me an opportunity to be part of your life and impact it in a positive way.

It’s not for everybody.  Those are choices and decisions we all make.  My deal is to understand, you know, you trust me, I trust you.  It’s a two way street.  Developing that, it happens over time.

It’s hard.  Yet I look forward to that.  I look forward to being part of these guys’ lives.  This isn’t just about ball now.  This is about creating a brand for yourself.  This is about setting you apart for the rest of your life.  That’s kind of been how I do it.

I look forward to being involved in these guys’ lives.  Part of that is winning some ballgames.  You know what, I’ve got a blueprint on kind of how that works, yet every place is different so you need to adjust the blueprint based on what’s there.  It’s that simple.

Q.  Have you talked to any players individually yet?  When will you meet with them?

COACH McELWAIN:  You know, I haven’t.  What we’ll do is have a team meeting on Monday morning.  Today is Saturday?  Good, all day.  You didn’t tell me you were going to make them work on Saturday.  What the heck?

We’ll have that visit then.

Q.  What message do you want to get across to them?

COACH McELWAIN:  Embrace what they’re doing.  You’re Gators.  Let’s go win a bowl game, right?

Q.  Speaking of the bowl game, what will be your role during that process?

COACH McELWAIN:  Eating popcorn.  I’m going to see what the normal guy does.  Maybe we’ll go tailgate.  We go do that, Bernie, go set up a grill (laughter)?

Q.  There have been dozens of very positive comments about you getting the Florida job from kids you coached at Alabama as well as some of your Colorado State players.  What has that meant to you?

COACH McELWAIN:  Well, each and every person, you get an opportunity to affect somebody, you get an opportunity to be part of something special, and that’s a young man’s life.  That means a lot.  That’s really what we’re put on this earth to do, is be a big part and help young men.  I’ve had some great guys now.

Q.  In the event you try to win with Claire-a-bell?

COACH McELWAIN:  You ought to see how quick she is.  She can really go (laughter).

Q.  You worked with some pretty good running backs over your time.

COACH McELWAIN:  You know what’s amazing, they make you a pretty good coach, too (smiling).

Q.  What do you plan on instilling in Kelvin Taylor and some of those other guys?

COACH McELWAIN:  I think one of the things they’re going to be able to look at is say, This guy has had some guys.  We’ll fit the system to whatever their traits are.

We were different obviously with Eddie than we were Trent than we were Mark, right?  I just left a place where last year the running back led the country I think in touchdowns, Kapri did, not bad.  Then replaced him this year with a guy obviously in Dee that took off.

I think if there’s a running back out there, they might want to take a look.

Q.  When you were at Alabama, did you feel Florida was the other program in the SEC where you felt a coach would have the best opportunity to win?

COACH McELWAIN:  That goes back to answering when I first started recruiting this area and getting a feel for what the South is, what the Southeast Conference is.

It is one of those.  There aren’t many of them.  That’s what makes this such a great challenge, a great honor, is to be part of Gator nation.

Thanks, guys.  I appreciate it.

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