Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Mcelwain: Gators Much Farther Along

When Jim McElwain took the Florida Gators to the SEC title game last year, he knew it would be a hard act to follow. On Wednesday night in Jacksonville to talk with the Gator faithful, McElwain said recruiting this area is key to continued success.

“We have roughly 15 to 17 players from this neck of the woods,” McElwain said. “The success of those guys, we have three starters from this area.”

With an emphasis on being better in the passing game for 2016, McElwain said some of the onus will fall on the receiving corps, including Kenny’s Ahmad Fullwood.

“We wanted him to be aggressive with the ball in the air,” the Gator Head Coach explained. “He made two plays in the spring game that were great. He’s really been a good mentor for the young guys.”

A lot of the experiences for McElwain, his staff and the players this year are all about just doing it again. In his first year it took a while for everybody to know what they were supposed to be doing. In year two, the expectations are known, and everybody’s adjusted.

“We’re so much farther along. Understanding what we need to do to move forward,” he said. “Our team understanding about how to go about your daily business. The meetings, practice, the weight room.”

That progress showed in the spring game where McElwain was impressed with the process as much as he was with the result. That wasn’t by accident. Spring of 2016 was a whole different experience for everybody in Gainesville.

“I really felt of our 15 full practices where there was only a practice and a half where I said, ‘I’m not sure we got better today.’ And that reflects on the leadership guys are taking.”