Jim McElwain goes off on Florida Gators’ ’embarrassing’ effort: ‘We didn’t deserve to win’

By Adam Silverstein
September 13, 2015

Jim McElwain saw red Saturday night. OK, maybe it was just orange, considering the Florida Gators decided to wear a set of eye-straining, single-color uniforms for the first time since 1989.

But no matter how questionable the Gators’ outfits were Saturday during their 31-24 win over the East Carolina Pirates, it was nothing compared to Florida’s play on the field.

Just one week after being praised by McElwain for their improved discipline, the Gators committed 12 penalties for 105 yards, many of them costly and some of them bone-headed. McElwain believes Florida let it’s 61-13 win over New Mexico State get to their heads (seriously) and that the issues all started from the beginning of the week.

There is no reason for us to spell this out any further, though. McElwain had no problem going right after the Gators in his post-game press conference. Though context has been added where necessary, below are his complete comments, edited only slightly for clarity and brevity.

“That was embarrassing, didn’t deserve to win the ball game. I thought Ruffin [McNeil, ECU’s coach] and his team came in here and took it to us. Our lack of playing with discipline and understanding how you play the game crept up and it was embarrassing. Penalties inside the red area? We’ve got a long ways to go.

“It starts with understanding selfish acts hurt the team, and it will be dealt with. And it’s not how it’s going to be around here anymore. Over the last 10 years, the most penalized team in the league – in the country. It’s not going to happen, and we’ve got to learn. And it was embarrassing. It was embarrassing to our administration, our university … and it almost came back to bite us in the end.

“There was some decent things that went on but there were a heck of a lot worse and bad things than there were good things, so there’s not a lot of positive to talk about other than the fact that we figured out how to win a ball game. But it’s not the brand or style of ball we’re going to play. We were inconsistent offensively. Defensively, obviously after the first one you know not getting off to a fast start, but they settled into the game and played pretty decent. …

“We had trouble all day. It was horrible. It was unexcusable (sic). It was all over the field.”

McElwain was asked how he can go about coaching these issues out of his players.

“You correct the mistakes. OK? And part of it is you can’t enable the behavior to happen continually. You got to teach them it’s not OK. It’s not OK to act that way. It’s not OK to call attention to yourself when the selfish act hurts the whole team. It’s not OK.

“It’s not like we didn’t know what they were going to run. And their D-line took it to us. … It was ridiculous.”

McElwain, in a brief moment of brevity, insisted the media should feel the same way about the team they had to cover on Saturday night.

“You guys should be embarrassed having to write about it.”

He sensed that a major letdown was coming this week.

“It started Monday. We had 30-plus guys that didn’t have their ankles taped for the first meeting – 30-plus. Now, before I got here, there was a lot more, but that’s unacceptable. You have to come prepared. That was a look into maybe what was gonna go on this week.

“They were feeling good about themselves. For what? Because they took care of one opportunity? Look, the thing in life, you don’t get many opportunities, so how are you going to let one slip away when you’ve got a chance to play a game. …

“It came to be that the way you prepare is how you’re going to play. That’s unexcusable (sic). And we do that? Shoot, it’s not the way you play, it’s not the way you prepare, it’s not the way you give up yourself for the benefit of others.

“It’s a bunch of entitlement. Entitled for what? How about invested?”

The Gators will move on from here, but it won’t be easy.

“We’ll correct the mistakes, bury it, tear off the rear view mirror and get ready to play a very good Kentucky team on the road that arguably beat us a year ago here, is going to have a lot of confidence, new stadium, new facilities, a lot of energy. I’m sure right now they’re going to look at this and say, ‘You know what? We can beat these guys.’”


  1. Ken (CA) says:

    wow, so true. The talent was there, even without Hargreaves. The guys should have dominated, but they didn’t. They didn’t have the discipline at all that they had last week and looks like they treated this game as a gimme after playing big for the new coach in the first game. This could easily have been a 3-4 TD victory, but it looked like we were back under Muschamp again, no red zone offense at all.

  2. jimmee b says:

    yes sirree Coach Mac – you are 110% correct. i love my Gators, and yet was embarassed by the lack of teamwork and spirit last night.. Kentucky is ready – will the Gators fix this mess??

  3. Daniel M. says:

    The party is over.

  4. Christine says:

    I was not impressed by the way the reporters were treated at the press conference – especially the “Do you want me to type it for you?” I understand that he was mad at the players, but he should be able to give an informative, respectful post-game conference. The players weren’t there to hear him. I also miss the player interviews. There must have been a few guys who did well. I would have liked to hear from the quarterbacks. They are supposed to be the team leaders. The players need to practice celebrating correctly. They need to act it out. Then they will remember it. When a player scores, there needs to be a teammate who will body hug them so they remember.Practice that too. Yes, celebration penalties are inexcusable, not (un)excusable!

    • Scott says:

      “I was not impressed by the way the reporters were treated at the press conference.”

      Really? Were you also not impressed with how the pants fit the players? Dunce.

      • Christine says:

        I would hope that people commenting on this forum could disagree respectfully.

      • Brandon says:

        Thank you Scott for your thoughtful and non sophmoric response, you must have from Florida State. Next time maybe you should give your opinion and not attack other Gator fans who are just offering their opinions.

    • GatorDC says:

      Christine – when the reporters ask the same questions about the same topics…. you would think a professional “reporter” would listen and understand that topics had already been discussed… The reporters try to make stories out of nothing instead of actually reporting the news that is there.

      Also, there are player interviews. Maybe you should take a look before speaking out of turn. They are on the GZ website. Coach Mac stated that the QB’s needed to worry about playing and that maybe once we saw some separation that he would make the QB available.

      With that said, they are being taught to celebrate with teammates. That has been preached since day 1. But when a leader of the team (KT) for some reason wants to think he is above the team… he needs to be reminded and shown that it is NOT OK… like Coach Mac is teaching them. Maybe if this kind of accountability was taught by previous staffs – Aaron Hernandez wouldn’t have ended someones life… We baby these guys way to much and let them do whatever they want. They are Student Athletes… Most will not go to the NFL. Others will go and not even make it past year 2. The truth is – their dreams of being in the NFL for 15 years to make it a career have very slim chances of happening. Teach them something they can learn and use in life… Be Accountable. Prepare Properly. Be Disciplined. Work Hard.

      Go Gators!!!

      • Christine says:

        I just looked on Gatorzone and I see the interviews. Maybe the station we were listening to didn’t wait for them. I’m used to hearing the players on the radio right after the coach.
        I agree, reporters sometimes repeat questions. But he could just say ” I already answers that, does anyone have a different question? In many jobs that pay a lot less than a coaching salary you may be asked annoying or even rude comments, but you are expected to answer politely to keep your job.
        Hopefully will see players straighten out in the next game.
        Go Gators!

  5. Sharon Milner says:

    No excuse but the players are 18-22. They may be great player potentially but they have not grown up emotionally. I’m glad coach sees that and is being tough.

    They need to understand that winning one game only means that winning one game. Need to stay in the present and not think they have earned enough to be in the SEC Championship game!

    Go Gators.

  6. Billy says:

    Coach Mac is taking the right approach by being tough on these kids. I think everything he said was spot on. To be a championship football team the kids have to have the mentality of consistently playing clean football games, in all three phases. Offense, defense, and special teams. Having the mentality that mental errors such as penalties are acceptable will doom a team. Discipline football wins championships! That is what has made Nick Saban so successful at Alabama. His team are always mentally sharp and takes every snap serious. Moving forward, I think we will be fine. But its not going to be an easy road. The SEC East is far better this year with the rise of Tennessee and UK. But having Hargreaves back will help! He’s our best player and that will give any team hope. UK is a good team and we better get ready this week.

  7. Oldflyer says:

    I wonder when he will stop referring to the previous regime as an excuse for his problems?

    It’s all Bush’s uhh Muschamp’s fault.

  8. Drew says:

    As bad as we played we should’ve still won the game by two touchdowns, if not for our own guy tackling his teammate after the fumble recovery in the 4th. No one was even near him. Let the guy go score a touchdown. Geez

    We’ll be fine moving forward. And yes McElwain is right, he has lot to fix at UF. Muschamp left the program in shambles. Champ inherited a dried up program from Meyer and never got things fixed with bad hires, and lack of player development.

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