Jordan McPherson/SEC Country
Florida coach Jim McElwain, pictured before the game Saturday.

What Jim McElwain said after Florida’s momentous win over Tennessee

Ryan Young

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida watched a 10-point fourth quarter lead disappear only to pull out a momentous win on Feleipe Franks’ 63-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland as time expired.

With that, the No. 24 Gators secured a 26-20 win over No. 23 Tennessee in The Swamp.

Here’s what Florida coach Jim McElwain said after the game (with full video below):

WATCH: Florida coach Jim McElwain recaps the last-second victory over Tennessee

Posted by Florida Gators – SEC Country on Saturday, September 16, 2017

  • “That was a lot of fun. I’d just say how happy I am for Gator fans, how happy I am for our players. I love those guys. They’ve been through some things, and you know, they just keep going. It obviously was not pretty, but sometimes as you go through this business it’s about figuring out a way to win. And our guys figured out a way to win.”
  • “We’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to continue to do to grow and go play a really good football team (Kentucky) on the road.”
  • “It was a great crowd. They had a lot to do with it and caused their team trouble. That’s what it’s about playing in The Swamp.”
  • Injuries: Chauncey Gardner Jr. hurt his ankle and “gutted through it. “ Duke Dawson, “I don’t know where we’ll be with him. We had to pull him, got hit in the head. But with that being said, there were a bunch of rookies in there running around doing some things. That will be a cherished memory for those rookies.”
  • On bracing for a potential game-winning FG try with Eddy Pineiro: “What was that range? You were about to find out.”
  • On the final sequence: “Right there at the end I thought Feleipe got the first down where it was marked and wanted to save the timeout. I was kind of surprised there we didn’t get the measure. (But) I think everybody found out Feleipe can throw the ball a long ways in the air.”
  • On the last play call: “It was trainride open, Big Ben in. Same exactly play (as Antonio Callaway’s game-winning TD vs. Tennessee two years ago).”
  • On McElwain’s postgame reaction: “I was more, nothing to do about me, I just enjoyed watching the guys. I just enjoyed seeing them, their excitement, because I know how hard they worked, I know what they put into it. So for me it was just seeing the people in the organization enjoying the moment. Sometimes things like that are really special. I’ve got some burned images in my mind that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
  • On QB Feleipe Franks: “I think the one thing I saw out of it was that he was just very calm. Didn’t get rattled after the interception.”
  • On using more shotgun with Franks this week: “We did kind of more so just with some of the fly stuff we had in. It was part of the plan, but it wasn’t necessarily just, hey, we’re going to be in shotgun all game. I do think he likes it back there, but I do think there’s some need too to get under center to help your play-action game.”
  • On what he wants to see from the offense: “Get to the line and go. When they do that, they go play pretty good. And yet, it’s almost like, I talked to them, sometimes in life it’s not about being afraid to be wrong but rather think what it is to be right. And we just wait to shoot ourselves. Afraid to make a mistake instead of just cutting it loose and going. It doesn’t matter the play. Just go play it fast and don’t be afraid to go make a mistake. We’ll get there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
  • On the defense: “They wore (down) a little bit. Vosean was out. I think Garcia and Rayshad did good in there. Moon played more than he’s ever played. We did miss some tackles, but I think up to that point our guys did a heck of a job.”
  • On Kadarius Toney: “There’s something that’s pretty cool about having a human joystick out there, but he’s got to still learn and learn how to play and do some things. But obviously as we talked during the week he was a guy that we felt needed to get touches. He’s an electric guy, man.”
  • On effect of suspensions: “I do think when you lose some guys you’re close to, that’s human nature. But I will say this. I think that’s a pretty good remedy for that.”
  • On how big is this for team: “I wouldn’t say for the program. What it’s great for, it’s great for these players and the city of Gainesville and all the Florida fans. That’s what it’s great for.”
  • On impact of OC Doug Nussmeier moving to booth: “We’ll see when we break it down. He’s been up there before. I thought it was just a good opportunity for him to be able to see the whole thing. I thought there were some good things we did at times.”