Jim McElwain wondering how Florida Gators will respond to belly rubs of praise
The 11th-ranked Gators find themselves in a spot they haven't experienced in years, and first-year coach Jim McElwain isn't sure how his team will respond.
After struggling during the Will Muschamp era, Florida is 5-0 and just outside the top 10 after last week's win over then-No. 3 Ole Miss. The challenge this week, McElwain said, is to handle that success without getting cocky or complacent.
"It'll be really interesting to see how we handle the praise from all the people that obviously said they weren't worth a hill of beans and now are talking about them," McElwain said. "People (are) rubbing their bellies and making them feel good. Yeah, they should get their bellies rubbed. I mean, they've done a good job. And yet, how do you handle it?"
McElwain's metaphor choice shouldn't be a shock; he's made it quite known that he's a dog person.
His message doesn't come as a surprise, either. Since preseason media day, he has preached that players only get (at most) 15 opportunities and must maximize each one - regardless of the highs or lows that come from the previous game.
"It's a choice," McElwain said. "How we choose to attack it, we'll see. And look, there's nothing wrong with getting your belly rubbed. It feels good. Man, I like it."