GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain held his final press conference of the week Wednesday leading up to the Gators’ SEC opener with Kentucky.
Here were the highlights:
- “I thought this Wednesday was actually really good. I thought it was a little better than last week. I thought we handled some third down and red area things we need. … We’ll get a good look at it tonight, but we had guys flying around and guys are excited about playing the SEC opener.”
- On WR C.J. Worton (high-ankle sprain): “(He) was running pretty good. I’ll take a look at video today, but he wasn’t laboring, he finished practice, so I think we’ll get him back that will help.”
- On WRs Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells (hamstrings, returning from suspension): “The two freshmen have missed a lot of practice. They need to get up to speed a little bit.”
- On LB Daniel McMillian (high-ankle sprain): “D-Mac went. That’s a tough guy now. I’ve seen some high ankles go for half a season. I thought he did pretty good. I really did, for a Wednesday. As you guys know you have to practice on Wednesday to play on Saturday, so we had some guys pushing themselves and that’s a good thing.”
- On not worrying about let-down because of recent close games with Kentucky: “Us let down? Look, we’re 0-3 after the end of the year last year. We got our tails kicked. We’ve got to show up no matter what it is. … I know our guys are ready. Here’s the thing. Great teams, the opponents don’t matter. It’s the personal part of the preparation and play and taking pride in who you are and what you’re all about to go out and compete no matter who you’re playing. It doesn’t matter. … Saturday is an opportunity. Take advantage of it.”
- On the OL in practice: “I thought it’s been pretty good. We’ve just got to continue to grow there and keep playing. … The technique piece has got to be sound in everything their doing, as well as the assignment piece. They’ve worked hard this week and we’ll find out Saturday.”
- Other areas that need improvement: “Offensively we’ve got to put touchdowns (on the scoreboard). We can’t rely on Eddy to just go in and kick, although it’s good to have that in our pocket. Trust me, it helps.”
- On the RBs: “I think they’ve done a nice job. Again, we’ve got to play to our strength. You saw us in a little more two-back, three-wide stuff last week. We’ve got to increase that package … to get your best 11 on the field.”
- On how Worton will mix in at WR: “He’ll roll like those other guys did last week. They all played pretty much the same amount of plays. It just adds to that rotation. Without Dre going, there’s some more snaps there that we can take some reps off of some other guys.”
- McElwain thinks even a more couple more freshmen will play this week.
- On putting his alma mater Eastern Washington on the schedule in 2020: “I know this, they just beat the Washington State Cougars of the Pac-12. It’s still hard for me, Pac-10. That’s a huge win for them, and I know how proud my wife and I are on the win. It’s an opportunity to give them some more exposure. We’re going to have to lace it up with that happens. … That was a place that was obviously 15 years of our lives. All three of our kids were born there and it’s a place that I could truly call home. It did a lot for us.”
- “I think his upside is huge. Here’s the thing. Here’s a guy who loves to practice. I mean, it makes a difference. When you to just go out and play, it makes the games go a lot easier. He’s a guy that at a lot of times makes it look pretty easy. That’s because of the work he puts in on the practice field.”