GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain had his regularly scheduled Wednesday post-practice news conference, and the questions largely centered on the comments he made earlier in the week about unspecified death threats to either he, those in his program or their families.
There were also some final injury updates before the Gators’ rivalry clash with Georgia.
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Here were the highlights from his comments:
- “These guys really have had a couple really good days of practice. I think the weather has something to do with it. They got out there and competed. I know they’re excited to get to Jacksonville.”
- “It’s one of those games where momentum can go both sides because the stadium’s actually cut in half. I know we’re ready. Guys are ready and it should be a lot of fun playing against a really good team, a team that’s playing really well right now.”
- “I’m aware of what we stand in front of for them and vice versa. This will be good. It will be competitive, and I know our guys will play hard.”
- On the death threats he mentioned earlier in week: “You know, I speak to our guys all the time and the people within our organization about shutting out the noise and not letting the clutter get to you. And obviously you guys know me well, sometimes things are on your mind and I go ahead and speak it. And it doesn’t make it right. And yet at the same time, it’s letting one or two and don’t even know who get into you and not recognize how great our fan base is obviously and the people associated with this program that are here for you to help in any way. I’ve been doing this a long time, and obviously allowing the clutter to get to you is just not what it’s all about, so we’ll move on. Obviously our guys are aware of it and we’ve talked about it, and we’re ready to go play Georgia and move forward. And people have been great. That’s very comforting.”
- Injuries: “I think right now there’s going to be some game-time decisions. I think (DE Jabari) Zuniga will go. Based on today, I think (WRs) Tyrie (Cleveland) and Kadarius (Toney) are doing everything they can to get rolling.” WR Josh Hammond (back) is “very questionable.” DB C.J. McWilliams reinjured his hamstring and is a game-time decision. DT Elijah Conliffe and LB Jeremiah Moon are back.
- Stronger statement on Tyrie Cleveland and Kadarius Toney: “I’m going to say they’re going to play because they’re trying so hard to play, but ultimately we have to wait for the trainers.”
- Was he surprised by reaction to death threat claims: “Obviously you live in a bubble, right? As I said, it’s exactly what I tell our guys not to do, to let something like that creep into the focus on what you’re here to do and ultimately that’s really what it is. … There again, I would say, probably out of character in that standpoint to take things the way that is rather than a grain of salt. And yet at the same time, know this, we’ve got really good people here and concern, and they’ll be there every step of the way.”
- Why not offer details? “I think we had a good talk about it. In fact it happened in the past. It wasn’t just spur of the moment. It’s just something that came up and obviously was on my mind. That doesn’t make it right to air that laundry, and yet at the same time they’ve got total support. University Police, you guys have seen Calvin, he’s a pretty good guy to have on your side.”
- On Georgia: “They had some growing pains a year ago, I would say, really when you look at what they’ve done offensive line wise, they’ve really gotten better at that position and that’s really helped them as well.”
- Asked again if his family or he received death threats: “I understand that’s the news. It goes with the territory. You know what, it’s hard to leave sometimes. And yet, just how much I care about this program and these players, obviously everything that goes in with it, but ultimately allowing 1 or 2 and who knows even who it was, right? You don’t know, it’s anonymous. So that is what it is. I’m confident we’re all right.”
- On the some of the boastful comments made by his players Monday about the matchup: “I would hope they’re confident. They had good preparation and really knowing that you’re prepared to go and play. I see it as they’re excited as well.” Also added that he’s sure Kirby Smart has all those comments posted, but he didn’t tell his guys to tone it down at all. “No, they have their right.”
- One more on conversation with UAA, was the statement about not providing information misinterpreted: “Yeah, you know, I don’t really quite understand what even the statement was. We visited with Scott and Laird and, yeah, they were really good and supportive.”
- On freshman CB Marco Wilson: “His confidence as a player is up there with any player I’ve ever been around.”
- On what vulnerabilities he sees in Georgia: “I”m not going to give Kirby the game plan. I’ll say this, they are perfect. They’ve got nothing to work on. I’ll say this, he’s got a plan with a belief. That’s something you see him doing. I know they’re on the revenge tour from a year ago and we’re one of those pieces, so it’ll be a fun game.”