Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spurrier ... Meyer ... and now McElwain

Colorado State went 10-2 with head coach Jim McElwain last year. Now he is gone and the Rams are bumping along at 3-5 without him, including a 41-17 home loss to San Diego State on Saturday night.

In other news, Florida went 10-13 the past two seasons with a coach who wasn't ready for the job. Now, with McElwain in charge, the Gators are 7-1 and on track for a spot in the SEC Championship game.

I'm detecting a pattern here.

It's the same pattern that Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer followed in their first seasons at Florida, taking a pair of 7-5 teams that were talented but underutilized and promptly coaxing nine-win seasons out of the same basic rosters.

Spurrier won an SEC title in Year 2 in Gainesville, and Meyer's second Gators team won it all, taking the BCS national championship with a group of players who were still generally considered to be about a year away from something so grand.

What does that say about McElwain?

Not enough. Not yet. He still doesn't have a top-grade quarterback or the experience of a showdown with Jimbo Fisher and Florida State, or the certainty of a top-10 recruiting class to keep the river rising.

There's something that finally looks right here, though, and sounds right, too.

McElwain, the offensive coordinator for two of Nick Saban's national title teams at Alabama, has no difficulty seeing his Gators beating anybody on the schedule, or anybody who might show up on it in the postseason.

Following Saturday's 27-3 win over Georgia, McElwain said, "I don't expect to lose and I think we should never come into an event thinking we are going to come in second.

"It doesn't matter who we play. We go in with the mindset that we are going to put a plan together and do whatever it takes to win the football game. You know, we slipped up in that one a couple weeks ago and gave up some big plays, so we learn from it and we've just got to keep moving forward."

He's talking about a 35-28 loss at LSU, and a frantic week of preparation for that game that began with the year-long suspension of quarterback Will Grier for failing an NCAA test for performance-enhancing drugs. Grier blew it big-time, and at a time when he was just taking off with the Florida offense. But it took a 180-yard rushing performance by LSU Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette and a classic trick-play touchdown call from Les Miles to pin the loss on Florida.

The Gators aren't perfect, even on defense, and they need a lot more from quarterback Treon Harris than they're getting, but McElwain continues to see room to grow.

Against Georgia, for instance, Harris teamed up with freshman wide receiver Antonio Callaway for a scramble-drill pass that went for a 66-yard touchdown. Callaway, a star on Booker T. Washington's state championship team in Miami, didn't have to stick with his commitment to Florida during the coaching change, but McElwain made him a priority, and now McElwain is making Harris a priority, too.

"Guys, at the end of the day, the guy is 2-0 in this (Georgia) ballgame as a starter," McElwain said of Harris. "That means something. I am proud of him."

There's a pattern here, all right, and even if it gets a little wrinkled between now and season's end, the Gators and their new coach have partnered up on something that worked in years past and will work again.

— Palm Beach Post

Spurrier ... Meyer ... and now McElwain 11/03/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  3. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you

    Blogs

    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
  4. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American

    Blogs

    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.

  5. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    1. Armwood (7-0)

    Up next: vs. Brandon

    Armwood quarterback Devin Black (7) shakes hands with Plant defensive back Keon King (26) after the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The Hawks beat the Panthers 27-7.