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Jim McElwain wants Florida Gators to appreciate SEC championship game

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain is seen during an open practice the day before the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain is seen during an open practice the day before the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.

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December

ATLANTA - For the first time since 2009, Florida is here to play for the SEC championship. And first-year Gators coach Jim McElwain is trying to make sure his team appreciates it.

"I guess you kind of took it for granted for a while," McElwain said Friday afternoon in a news conference at the Georgia Dome.

A few quick notes from the media availability for McElwain and Alabama coach Nick Saban in advance of tomorrow's game:

* Gators WR Demarcus Robinson will play some Saturday. Robinson, the team's leading receiver, was suspended for the Florida State game and was reinstated by the seniors earlier this week. "He continues to learn," McElwain said. "It'll be fun to see him come out here and play."

* DE Alex McCalister (foot) is out for tomorrow. WR Brandon Powell was in a walking boot yesterday and probably won't play, either. OT David Sharpe (foot) is questionable, and LB Antonio Morrison will likely try to play through his undisclosed injury, McElwain said.

* McElwain said UF probably can't resort to trick plays to try to beat ‘Bama. He also said it's unlikely QB Treon Harris will scramble more than he will already have to against the Tide's swarming front seven.

* McElwain spoke highly of Tide QB Jake Coker, the transfer from FSU. UF is impressed with his ability to throw accurately and limit mistakes in the system. "He's the one that kind of makes that thing go," McElwain said. Saban, like pretty much every coach, said offensive balance will be key against the Gators' strong defense.

* A lot has been made of McElwain's four years as an assistant under Saban. I'll have more on that later. Saban, for what it's worth, said he was proud of McElwain's success as a head coach. But is Saban surprised? "Not at all," he said.

[Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2015 4:25pm]

    

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