Jim McElwain heard a lot of feedback on his sideline tirade and post-game rant.
The first-year Gators coach even heard from his 94-year-old mother after Florida’s 31-24 win over East Carolina on Saturday.
“I’m not proud about it and neither is my mother,” McElwain said Monday. “94 years old and I got an earful from her too. Rightfully so.”
While McElwain didn’t necessarily apologize for going off on running back Kelvin Taylor after the ex-Glades Day School (Belle Glade, Fla.) star was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for a throat slash gesture to celebrate a touchdown, he was “absolutely” regretful for the extent of his tirade.
But it didn’t stop McElwain from demoting Taylor on the team’s Week 3 depth chart, which the Associated Press first reported. Taylor is third on the depth chart behind freshmen Jordan Scarlett or Jordan Cronkrite.
A video of McElwain’s confrontation with Taylor went viral after Saturday’s game, with McElwain using explicit language and challenging Taylor’s manhood.
“I don’t feel good about it,” McElwain said. “As you know, this is a very public job. This is a public thing that we do. I understand that I have a long ways to go and I make mistakes.”
Former Gators and NFL running back Fred Taylor, the father of Kelvin Taylor, was critical of McElwain’s approach on the Dan Le Batard Show on Monday.
“Yeah, I do think it was a little much, but (the media will) make a mockery,” Fred said on the radio show. “History shows that the coaches that go and act that way, they’ll be a bigger mockery over time than the actual player will. My son, he’ll forget about this. He’s forgotten about it, so I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
Fred went on to say his son would like more carries. Taylor has run for a team-high 109 yards on 24 carries in two games this season while rotating with Scarlett and Cronkrite.
“Even my son, he wants more reps,” said Fred, who used to also use the throat slash celebration in his playing days. “He’s a junior, he wants to make it happen. He wants an opportunity to not get caught up in the whole rotating three running backs. Two, well, you deal with it. Three? The rhythm and that piece of it, it’s sort of frustrating. He had the opportunity to sort of punch on in and he got caught up in the celebration his old man used to do.”
Taylor’s high school coach, Pete Walker, said the junior didn’t have a history of unsportsmanlike play at Glades day.
“It’s not something that is common for Kelvin,” Walker said. When he played for me, he was coached up and gladly just handed the ball to the official when he scored. You always want to do it like you’ve been there before. He always did a very good job of that when he played for me. I think he just got caught up in the emotion for some reason. I don’t think you’ll see it happen again.”
McElwain said he sat down and had a “great” talk with Taylor after Saturday’s game. He said he hugged Taylor “just like I did after the incident happened.”
Taylor’s teammates stood behind McElwain.
“I think (coach McElwain) did the right thing,” redshirt senior guard Trip Thurman said. “On any team, the head coach is a father figure. He wants the best out of his players. Kelvin knows what he did wrong. We learned from it and we’re going to move along. Coach loves us all.”
Since arriving at Florida, McElwain has been on a crusade to cut down on undisciplined penalties. The Gators averaged the second highest penalty yards per game in the Southeastern Conference last season (59.2) and in 2010 (57.3), and led the SEC in that category for three consecutive seasons from 2011 through 2013.
After committing just one penalty in the opener, Florida reverted back to its old ways against East Carolina. The Gators were penalized 12 times against the Pirates.
But McElwain admits he might have gone too far on Saturday night.
“By no means am I perfect,” McElwain said. “I do know our players know how much I care about them.
“Look, I give everything for these guys. That’s the why you go into coaching is because you want guys not only to be better as players. We try to treat them like they’re our own, and you got to give them an opportunity to make choices.”