Jim McElwain, new head football coach of the Florida Gators, likes to laugh. This much was obvious when he held his introductory press conference.
He got another chance to do just that on Tuesday when asked by 740 The Game radio host Mike Bianchi what he thought of a recent comment by Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, who panned the decision of defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to leave MSU for UF.
Said Mullen: “I don’t like anybody leaving for what I would view as lateral moves, to be perfectly honest.”
Your turn, McElwain. “[Laughing] Hey, I enjoy humor, you know?” he said.
No one will question that about McElwain, who seemingly let Mullen’s snide comment roll off his back. Earlier in the program, McElwain discussed his sense of humor and the need to have laughter in one’s life.
“I really think it’s really important that you start every day with a smile on your face,” he said. “It’s really about how you can affect the people around you in a positive way and then giving of yourself for the benefit of others. Those are the things I think, trademarks throughout the career we’ve had, what we try to do. I’m really fortunate to have this opportunity, the opportunities I’ve had in really such a highly-competitive business. I’m just excited to get going and really start working with these young men.”
Collins left the Bulldogs for a higher-paying, more prestigious position with the Gators, though he will hold the same job title. He is also ditching a coach who threw him and his defensive staff under the bus at the end of the regular season for a fresh start with a program loaded with more talent on that side of the ball.
For McElwain, picking Collins as his first staff hire was a no-brainer.
“We met each other at the University of Alabama, and he’s a guy that I’ve followed. He’s a guy that does a great job not only putting a plan together but really getting the guys excited to play the game,” McElwain said in a separate radio interview on Monday.
“One of the things I did know was obviously we had success on defense, and I want to maintain some of the same things they did schematically and not [make] wholesale changes on that side of the ball. He’s a guy that kind of fell out of the same tree – as a lot of us have – with that Nick Saban defense. It was a natural fit and obviously a guy that has experience within the conference. There’s no replacing that.”
Photo Credit: The Clarion-Ledger