GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida head coach Jim McElwain had his final media session of the week Wednesday night before the Gators’ home game Saturday night with North Texas.
Here were the highlights:
- “We’ve still got some things to clean up. That’s why we get a Thursday tomorrow and we should be ready to go.”
- Injuries: LB Jeremiah Moon will have surgery on his thumb. “He was doing a heck of a job for us not only at the backer spot, but also really on special teams.” … WR Dre Massey had his knee surgery today. “Everything went really good there, happy about that.” … Center Cam Dillard had an elbow issue pop up, but should be good. … CB Joseph Putu has a “high leg” issue. … WR Tyrie Cleveland will not play due to his hamstring injury.
- The big one: WR Antonio Callaway (quad) still limited. “Callaway went bits and pieces. I would say he’s probably highly questionable to doubtful. He got really three periods in and that was about it. He did a couple things. It loosened up really good this morning when he was in for treatment. Got a lot out of that; didn’t think we got a lot out of this afternoon.
- One more big injury: Right guard Tyler Jordan has an issue with his eye. “Tyler Jordan had a deal with his eye that actually goes back to when he broke his orbital bone. … He’s got to get some work on that so he’ll be out for a couple of weeks.”
- Redshirt-freshman Richerd Desir-Jones will get a chance to fill in for Jordan at right guard, but true freshman Jawaan Taylor and sophomore Fred Johnson (both naturally right tackles) could play together with one moving inside to guard.
- On his impressions from practice: “I thought we were pretty good. I was really happy with Tuesday, and then today on purpose (we) created a bunch of different things for them (in changing up the practice routine). And not only that, but did it for the coaches as well, people in the organization that we’re running practice, to keep an edge. I’m excited to see how these guys play on Saturday and see if we’re going to be a different Gator team or not.”
- On avoiding a let-down against a team like North Texas: “To me, I don’t know how you can every do anything and not go out and do it your best. And yet, that doesn’t mean you’re going to go out and do it perfect. No one’s ever perfect, but the energy and the way you prepare to go out and against anybody, it shouldn’t matter if it’s football or it’s tiddlywinks or it’s going to the ice cream truck really fast, you want to go do it the best way you can. Yet, just organizationally, program wise from a historical standpoint, this has been something that has been a little bit of an Achilles heel for Florida football. So I stressed to our guys this is an opportunity to create your own identity and be different. We’ll see on Saturday.”
- On Richerd Desir-Jones filling in for Tyler Jordan: “(Jordan) had obviously taken a lot of snaps so the communication piece from him to Fred or Waanny was very good. The thing Richerd does is he gives you a 110 percent at all times. … He’s got great quickness, he gets on you quick. I’m excited for him to play. He graded out well the last game. He got a lot of snaps in there. It will be a great opportunity for him. It will be a great opportunity for us to look at Fred and Waanny (Jawaan Taylor) together at times, not only in the heavy package but at times at guard and tackle.”
- On the pass rush: “I’d say the biggest thing is the discipline in their pass-rush lanes. The QB were playing this week is quick, shifty … I know this, they’ll move him out of the pocket and get him on the edge. The nine sacks is great, but again, the discipline of the pass rush lanes … keeps the quarterback there so maybe somebody else can get him.”
- On whether McElwain ever got chewed out by Alabama coach Nick Saban during his time there: “All the time. Yeah, it was awesome. … Maybe he just knew I was so whacked out anyway, it really wouldn’t matter.”
- Again, on not having a letdown this week: “I just think there’s a certain way you go about your business no matter what it is. I think you can get too up for rivalries and stuff. I think the way you go about your business is something … what I hope is guys had enough personal pride to go out and do their job at the highest level they possibly can, knowing they’re not going to be perfect.”
- On facilities and upgrades: “The vision for the future is what’s really exciting and obviously what we’ve done already in this short time facility wise is (exciting). Just seeing some of the former Gators that come back … When I had Coach Spurrier last spring come and speak to the team, he walked into the team room and he says, ‘Yep, nothing’s changed around here.’ … I thought, huh, that’s a telling sign. And yet, at the same time, seeing the stuff that we’re doing and the way we’re heading forward is really exciting for us. And the new things I think are on the horizon here, I’m pretty fired up for.”