Image Credit: ESPNI
When head coach Jim McElwain took over the Florida Gators before the 2015 season, he spent plenty of time going over the program’s deficiencies – on and off the field.
McElwain tried to change the culture in the locker room and in the meeting rooms. He began altering the mindset of Florida’s athletic administration.
The results were an indoor practice facility built larger and on a quicker schedule than planned, improvements to the Gators’ dorm rooms and the team’s first SEC East title since 2009, a shock to many, especially considering the state of Florida’s offense.
Asked on Wednesday at a speaking engagement in South Florida what he likes about the team following its second spring practice under his watchful eye, McElwain singled out the “vibe in the locker room” and players understanding both the day-to-day routine and the expectations of playing for the Gators.
Then he chuckled to himself.
“To see how far we came,” McElwain began before pausing for a legitimate laugh of reflection, “from a year ago in spring to where we were this spring, it’s just … it’s rather numbing, to be honest.
“The big part of that is just their understanding of what we expect, how we go about our business and the investment they need to make in themselves to benefit the other people around them. That was fun to see.”
It’s not exactly clear what that will mean for Florida in 2016, particularly as the team will be starting yet another quarterback and dealing with replacing some NFL talent on the defensive end, but there is at least one thing McElwain can confirm has changed over the last years.
“I know this: at least there are nights I can get some sleep.”