GAINSEVILLE, Fla. — Florida football coach Jim McElwain met with reporters Monday after practice.
Here are the highlights from his press conference.
- On the weather/general update: “I thought yesterday in pads we really did a heck of a job up front. I mean, there was some really good competition, and today obviously we wanted to get outside and play in the elements a little bit. It’s kind of interesting when there’s distractions. One of the things we talk about quite a bit, and we talked about it last year, is trying to create chaos where there’s other things going on that force you to focus on the details that help you with each individual play. And today execution was not great at all. However, it was a great learning experience to understand you can’t allow external distractions in anything that you do hinder your performance. I thought there was a little bit of that going on. I will say on a positive note, the guys … straining through practice and playing with energy was something that was really good.”
- Offensive lineman Antonio Riles went down with a “leg”. “I have no idea how serious it is,” McElwain said.
- Wide receiver Chris Thompson was held out with a “hip.” “It doesn’t seem serious, he just pulled himself out in the middle of practice,” McElwain said.
- “Other than that we’re doing OK,” he said.
- Florida will start two-a-days on Tuesday.
- On the image impact from Antonio Callaway’s situation: “Obviously I’m not happy about any of it. And yet at the same time, the way it’s been handled it’s been handled very well. The impact, I guess we’ll see down the road on that. As we’ve talked a lot, we’ve got choices, right? And yet we’ll see. I haven’t been updated on anything new or where it’s at. We’ll fight through. One thing I would say is we’ve got a lot of really good guys, a lot of really good guys, good people that do a lot of great things for this community, this university and this school that don’t get celebrated as well. I understand that piece of it. We’ll see where it goes as it moves forward. … But at the same time we can’t jump to conclusions either. I don’t think any of us really know.”
- More on Callaway: “When we were made aware of whatever, it was immediate action that was taken. We’re going by what we’re given, which is whatever is going on and whatever it is, somebody will tell me at the end.”
- McElwain praises the aggressiveness of sophomore Martez Ivey and freshman Jawaan Taylor up front on the offensive line. Also thought Antonio Riles was having a good camp. “We need to get some other guys up there to say, you know what, it’s OK to come off the ball and play at pad level and not being be passive, if that’s a good word,” McElwain said.
- McElwain on whether it’s too soon to make assumptions about Luke Del Rio as the starting quarterback: “Yeah, I think so. Let’s see, we’ve had two practices in underwear, two practices in some shoulder pads and one in a torrential downpour, so yeah, I don’t think it’s there. I’d say the last two practices he made a couple of mistakes that were unacceptable for the way that we expect the position to be played, so we’ve got a long ways to go. Good thing we’ve got practice. … Quite honestly I’m more worried about the people around (the quarterbacks). We’ve got to play better on the o-line. We do. We’ve got to play better at receiver from a consistency standpoint and we’ve got to get the opportunity for those running backs to go make some plays. That’s my big concern right now.”
- McElwain offers some praise for sophomore defensive back Chris Williamson and junior Duke Dawson. Says they still have to figure out who’s going to play the nickel spot against some matchups. “It will be interesting to see as we settle into gameplans moving forward [how that spot will] solidify.”
- More on how Callaway has looked in practice and how he’s been with his teammates: “When you’re part of an organization, and I think sometimes family is an overused term — what does that mean — but these guys are really close. They’re there for support, not to judge, but to be there at all times. And fitting back in, I don’t ever doubt how hard he plays and goes in practices. He’s one of those guys who loves to play the game. You kind of wish from a football standpoint that you have a lot of guys who just loved the game and practice and the competition. But I haven’t noticed anything really different from that standpoint.”
- On whether McElwain has reached out to coaching friends for advice on how to handle Callaway matter and investigation: “There’s really nothing to handle until something happens, I guess. We’ll find out when that time comes.”