Before speaking to the full crowd at the 2017 SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Florida coach Jim McElwain spoke to the SEC Network crew of Dari Nowkhah, Marcus Spears, Booger McFarland and Jordan Rodgers. Here are the highlights from the segment.
On Malik Zaire
“It doesn’t matter the room,” McElwain said. It’s about the competition, and competition breeds excellence in whatever you’re doing in life. I’m talking about anything. And any time you’re able to enhance competition, you have an opportunity to get better.”
McElwain added that he’ll know who the starter will be against Michigan “when the time comes.”
On the 2017 homecoming game being against LSU
“Here’s the one thing I think you’ll love. So I get off the plane back from Montana. I’m up there. I fly to head lake, enjoying life. Back in my roots, back with my family, friends. Somebody says to me, ‘Hey Mac, do you realize the LSU game is homecoming?’ when I get off the plane. I said ‘Here lies the difference: Coach Saban [at Alabama] decides when it’s homecoming. The head coach at Florida just finds out when the school texts him.”
Emotion of winning the SEC East each of the first two seasons
“It’s kind of something that was in the past. This is a whole new year. It’s a whole bunch of new guys that I’m really excited about, and it’s another opportunity to say ‘Well, what’s wrong with trying to make it three?’ But you only do that based on if you sweat the small details leading up to it. That’s one thing I think our guys are starting to understand a little bit.”
On how the relationship with players is forged
“The base principles and foundations have not changed over time. Now, the presentation of those foundations and those principles have to be regenerated all the time. The message is the same, but maybe the presentation is different which allows these guys to see something new because everything is instant. I think more than anything, it’s explaining the why, not just when something goes wrong. As soon as something goes wrong, we go ‘Well, why did it happen?’ But rather, let’s investigate the why when things are going well. So let’s compound that piece as well as we’re going through. Our guys have learned a lot and we’ve got a long ways to go, but you know what? It’s a fun group to be around and we’re going to be all right.