JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain faced the obvious questions in his postgame press conference after the Gators’ 42-7 loss to Georgia.
His future as Gators’ coach is reportedly in question after a bad week for the program, and he took a range of questions on the matter.
Here were the highlights from his comments.
- “Obviously didn’t turn out the way we wanted it. They jumped on us early. I thought our guys hung in. Would have liked to have been able to punch that one in during the first half. … My hat’s off to them. They played their tails off. Our kids played our tails off. I still like these guys, like this team. They’re a bunch of hard-working young men. We put a plan together, had an opportunity to go out and win and didn’t win. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.”
- Injuries: RB Malik Davis has an unspecified knee injury, LB Kylan Johnson reinjured his hamstring, DE Jachai Polite hurt his shoulder and WRs Tyrie Cleveland (ankle) and Kadarius Toney (shoulder) may have been reinjured.
- On distractions pregame: “It’s hard to tell. I thought our guys, they prepared well all week. Obviously, I was made aware of the stuff right before we walked into pregame meal. Was the first time I heard anything of that nature. I talked to them immediately right there that, you know, we’ll see. That’s the first I’ve heard of it.”
- On his job security: “At the end of the day, we all, we were brought here to win and we haven’t done it. My concern isn’t about my job. My concern is about these players, our staff. We’ve got a fantastic staff, support staff, their families. That’s the concern. It isn’t about me.”
- “I haven’t been told anything. The first I was made aware of the stuff that was out there was going into the pregame meal. I visited with our guys in that meal about whatever twas popping up. There have been no conversations about that (with AD Scott Stricklin). I mean I talked to him on Thursday. Talked to him on the phone. We had just normal talk about what was going on (with legal matters of suspended players). But no, nothing along those lines.”
- Would be surprised if he was fired after today? “Nothing in this world surprises me. I know what I was brought here to do. Look, we haven’t been good on offense, I get it. We’ve won a few games, but we haven’t won enough, haven’t won a championship. That’s real, that’s life, that is this business. And I take full responsibility for all of it. There’s no doubt. Like I said, my concern has to do with those players and seeing them in that locker room and seeing that staff that’s worked so hard just to get to where we are even at now. That’s what’s hard, just to see the unknown.”
- “As a coach, you really kind of put your head down and work so I was surprised as anybody when I was going to team (breakfast) today. Those eggs didn’t taste real good.”
- On having any regrets from what happened this week: “I’m sure, when you look back, I’ve made mistakes in my life and yet (I) stand by everything that occurred. It is what it is. … As I go back, look, we’ve put a lot into this program. People have been great to my wife and I, and we’ll see what happens. That’s the stuff that’s out of your control, and yet I’m proud of our team. I am. I know we haven’t won, but those guys are what it’s all about.”
- On being photographed smiling walking off field after loss: “She told me to keep my chin up and that’s something my dad used to tell me. It doesn’t do you any good to hang your head, just like I told our guys. I’ve never been about good looks so I apologize for that, I guess.”
- On whether he wants to be Florida’s football coach moving forward: “Yeah, this is one of those deals, and I’m glad you asked. Because this is a dream job, it’s a great place, great fans, great support. The resources are there to win. Obviously, I’m disappointed I haven’t been able to deliver in the time I’ve been here. But you know what, it’s an opportunity, this is one of those places I said from the start, that you should have an opportunity.”
- What support did he feel from Stricklin before all this? “Scott, Laird (Veatch), President Fuchs, they’ve all been great. Never doubted any of it. They’ve been really good since they’ve gotten here.”
- What was nature of conversation you had with Scott on Thursday? “It had to do with the news that came out at like 2 o’clock that day about our guys so just to make sure we knew what was going on with the release.”
- What’s your gut feel right now? “You know, I haven’t really had any time. I just finished up talking to the team. Like I said, my concerns are not at all me. My concerns are these guys, this university. It’s a great place. That’s really my concern.”
- On this team moving on: “How you rebound is when something doesn’t go right, you certainly don’t run the other way and you come back to work and get ready to go play this game next week.”