GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain met with reporters Tuesday to discuss the news that defensive coordinator Geoff Collins is leaving to become the head coach at Temple, bowl preparations and more.
Here were the highlights from his comments:
WATCH: Florida coach Jim McElwain’s news conference
Posted by Florida Gators Insiders on Tuesday, December 13, 2016
- On defensive coordinator Geoff Collins leaving for the head coaching job at Temple: “Obviously the news of the day … Coach Collins, we’re really excited about the opportunity for him and his family at Temple. It’s a place that’s really done a great job and he’ll carry that on. He’s a guy that’s meant a lot to us. As you guys know, one of the first guys that I hired, and yet he’s not the only one on our staff that’s been contacted. And yet, that’s kind of cool, people taking note about what we’re doing and how we’re going about it. So I’m really excited for him moving forward.”
- “Obviously it just kind of happened. As a coach you prepare for these things no matter who it is. As a coach, you make plans for all your guys should something happen, and we’ve got some things already in the works. But in the meantime we’ll kind of visit with Geoff and see as far as bowl plans moving forward, how that’s going to work and I’ll be able to let you know that on Monday. But I will say this, I’m really excited, those opportunities, and it’s an opportunity for us as well. That’s something that you always look to do, and we’ve got a plan moving forward. We’re excited for him.”
- On whether LB coach Randy Shannon is a candidate to fill that job? “Absolutely,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of options and we’ve already discussed them here. Obviously this isn’t the first time Geoff’s name’s come up, Nuss’ name or Randy’s name or Coach Rumph’s name, Tim Skipper’s name. So we plan for all those scenarios.”
- Injuries: DE Antonneous Clayton, S Nick Washington, DE Bryan Cox Jr., LB Jarrad Davis, LG Martez Ivey, Nickel Duke Dawson out for the start of bowl practice Wednesday.
- LB David Reese injured his wrist in the SEC Championship Game and is also out for the start of bowl practice.
- Will the injured guys be out for bowl game or just the start of practice? “Just looking at them, I’ll know more on Monday. It’s hard to say. Some of them are high-ankles, hopefully they’re shrinking to low ankles, but we’ll see.”
- Full practices start Thursday, and they will start working extensively at Iowa on Monday.
- “It will be interesting to see some of the guys that are kind of getting ready for the NFL, their mindset moving forward. We’re going to need those guys to play as Gators and give everything they have. I think about when I first took this job and what Dante Fowler did in that Birmingham Bowl. I don’t know how many sacks he had, 5 maybe? 6, 3.5, couple fumbles? Here’s a guy that knew he was going to be a top-round draft choice and yet chose for his team to go out there and play his tail off. I was so impressed with that. We’re going to need that kind of effort with our guys as well, and time will tell as we move from there.”
- More on keeping draft guys focused: “Well I think the big piece, it’s a personal choice. We’re going to prepare to go win the ballgame and we’re going to need those guys to play well, play with energy and to give us an opportunity to go win it. You move forward and really it’s an individual choice by each one of those guys.”
- On plans at linebacker: “Right. Well, you know, that’s an interesting one. Rayshad (Jackson). Obviously Vosean (Joseph) will play a ton, and he’s been playing. Moving forward there, Rayshad obviously, Kylan (Johnson), who’s been a little bit dinged up but he’ll be ready to go. And, you know, obviously D-Mac’s got to play a huge role in this game for us to be successful.”
- On Lane Kiffin, Charlie Strong and Butch Davis getting jobs in the state: “That’s pretty cool. No, it is. Guys that deserve jobs. I know Butch was trying to get back in. I’m excited for him down there, and obviously his understanding of recruiting especially South Florida, I think that’s really good. Lane’s got a lot of experience down here and I talked to Charlie already. I can’t tell you, this is one of the best guys in the business and I’m really excited for Charlie and what he can bring for them.”
- On recruiting competition: “Yeah, but we’re the University of Florida. I don’t think we always recruit against the same guys and each program has to decide what fits them as well.”
- On going with Austin Appleby at QB in the bowl game: “No. 1. Luke isn’t all the way back yet either, but Austin’s done a good job. He’s studied the plan, obviously there’s some throws he’d like to have back, but at the same time this late in the year he deserves it. And, you know what, I’m excited for him to go play in this game, another opportunity for him to help this team win.”
- Any discipline for RB Mark Thompson? “I’ve got to kind of find out exactly where that sits moving forward, but obviously we’re aware there was an incident.”