Jim McElwain: Florida’s Defensive Backs ‘Have A Lot To Live Up To’

Florida head coach Jim McElwain spoke with the media on Monday with updates on the play of the quarterbacks and offensive line, among other subjects.

For a lot of his press conference on Monday, it seemed that Florida head coach Jim McElwain was more interested in talking about the Gators basketball team, which is headed to the Sweet 16 for a matchup against Wisconsin after a big win over Virginia on Saturday, than his football squad.

“Can we talk hoop? Do we have to talk football?” McElwain asked midway through answering questions.

The third-year coach did come around and answer some questions about his team, including praising his offensive line for how they have performed in spring practice so far.

“Really excited about how our offensive line has progressed. Just seeing the energy with which their playing, with the finish kind of throughout practice, and seeing those guys kind of joining arms a little bit. (They’ve) really done a good job and we’ll see if we can sustain as we move forward.”

Here are some other quotable notes from McElwain’s time with the media.

On quarterback play during Saturday’s practice

“Really good, especially in some situational things. Both quarterbacks, I was happy to see, executed at a pretty high level. We did dummy it down a little bit for their progress, but the big thing is finding out what they feel comfortable with. They’ve handled a lot of the new stuff we’ve installed.”

On units that have been impressive so far

“I think the most competitive, I go to our running back group. Seeing some competition at wideout, which is good to see, and knowing that Freddie (Swain) is still not there and he’s going to be a big piece of what we’re doing. I think we’re developing stuff at that position as far as guys pushing each other. And without David (Reese) there at that linebacker group, we’ve got a bunch of guys taking reps.”

On offensive line under new coach Brad Davis

“I think any time that happens. Mike did obviously an awesome job with those guys and created the continuity when we got here. Obviously hearing a different voice, the way they go about the drills, they’re not just walking to the line of scrimmage. They’re playing with a renewed sense in how they go about it and he demands it from them.”

On playing defensive back at Florida

“The defensive back spot at the University of Florida is a legacy position and those guys have a lot to live up to.”

On running back Mark Thompson

“I think he’s taken some real maturity steps.”

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