McElwain has been a win-win for Florida and Foley

Florida head coach Jim McElwain reacts in the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. LSU won 35-28. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Florida head coach Jim McElwain reacts in the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. LSU won 35-28. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Florida head coach Jim McElwain reacts in the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. LSU won 35-28. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Jim McElwain hasn’t underwhelmed so far. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Jeremy Foley’s biggest hires have been booms (Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan won four national championships) or busts (Ron Zook and Will Muschamp, about whom we need say no more). When Foley, widely regarded as the best athletic director in the SEC if the not the nation, hired Jim McElwain to replace Muschamp as Florida’s football coach, it was out of character. It seemed a low-risk, low-reward move.

The word most folks in the industry used to describe McElwain-to-Gainesville was “solid.” Grantland’s Matt Hinton wrote that Gator fans greeted McElwain with “a collective shrug.” Ty Duffy of The Big Lead lumped Foley’s hire under the heading of “Kind Of Underwhelming,” and wrote: “It doesn’t put the rest of the SEC on notice.”

I’d be lying if I said my reaction was any different. Jim McElwain? Good football man, I thought, but no Spurrier (whom Foley didn’t hire) and no Meyer. No Jim Harbaugh, either, to invoke the name of the hottest hire of the past offseason. Florida is often regarded as one of the two best jobs in the country — Texas is the other — and McElwain seemed more like the guy who’d be coaching Colorado State. Which he had been until Foley called.

Today McElwain has the Gators, who were picked fifth — fifth! — in the SEC East, in position to play for the conference title. If Florida beats Georgia in Jacksonville, the Gators will win the division. (They’d have a two-game lead with only Vanderbilt and South Carolina remaining.)

Even if his team loses Saturday, McElwain must be re-categorized as a difference-making hire. Florida is again relevant, not that that in itself is any achievement. With its resources, Florida should never be irrelevant. But McElwain has taken Muschamp’s leftovers — leftovers McElwain characterized as “really insufficient” — and turned them into a functioning team, which is something his predecessor never did. (Even in the 11-2 season of 2012, Florida didn’t have an offense.)

If nothing else, the rest of the SEC East has, er, been put on notice: The Gators are again growling. McElwain has made Foley look smart, not that there was ever much doubt about the AD’s brainpower, and hiring him to coach Florida has had the  consequence of lessening the team recently considered the class of the East.

Colorado State hired Mike Bobo, Georgia’s often-unappreciated offensive coordinator, to replace McElwain. Mark Richt hired Brian Schottenheimer to replace Bobo. To date, that has been a win-win for the reptiles.

Reader Comments 0

31 comments
patriotdog
patriotdog

One more thing: Bauta is a qb who extends plays with his legs, was touted as a right handed Tebow in high school. So, of course Richt has him drop back and throw from the pocket 90% of the time. Why???

Of course, I realize that Marshall was a db at UGA and started at qb in a title game at Auburn and Cam Newton was recruited by Richt as a tight end. I guess some coaches can't change their play calling to suit the on field talent......and others win titles I.e. Meyer winning at Fl with Leak and Tebow, two entirely different qb's.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Interesting first paragraph....the worst Fl coaches, Muschamp and Zook, were 3-1 against Richt.

The Ga program, not just the team but the entire program, is a shambles. Replace Richt or not, I could not care less. The bloated, inbred system of 'Dooleys boys' that have wandered into key positions within the athletic department through no expertise other than being Dooleys boys need to be run off.

A new culture, for lack of a better term, needs to be cultivated at Butt Smear

AABraves
AABraves

Another double Prozac game for Dawg fans..Can Richt go after they lose to Auburn and Ga Tech? Please!

H2O_Dawg
H2O_Dawg

Gators are trying to hand the game to UGA. Harris is awful but we can't tackle worth a darn. Special teams is brutal and our offense is terrible. I'm not sure what is worse, the playcalling or execution of the plays because both stinks. C'mon Dawgs, get something going!

Alphare
Alphare

Don't Bama's last 3 NCs all have to do with McElwain? Bama just doesn't seem to be the same and cannot overcome ever since he's gone. Pruitt said he is super creative.

Keep those in mind and this year's result, it seems Florida hit a home run.

FLGators
FLGators

It is true McElwain will seem like a win-win today. Florida is going to beat Georgia so bad it will feel like they won twice.

RangeRover
RangeRover

"Florida is often regarded as one of the two best jobs in the country..."  By whom?

1.   Texas

2.   Alabama

3.   Southern Cal

4.   Notre Dame

5.   Ohio State

5.   Florida State

6.   Michigan

7.   Oklahoma

8.   Oregon

9.   Florida

10. Georgia

And before the Sandusky Scandal, Penn State would have ranked above Florida.


96JB
96JB

Again, Mark Richt is put on the spot. Georgia SHOULD have a more stable program, better talent (* at this time) Stable coaching staff for the most part, 15 years to have all the pieces together..........BUT, if you look at Richt's body of work his FIRST 5 years vs his last 5, YOU SEE A BIG PROBLEM. Call it anything you want, but he is not beating " good" teams, AND, seems to always have holes in his roster, As in No QB, No experience at WR and a very green defensive backfield......Who do we blame after year 15? No indoor practice facility?...... IMO, in today's college football world of " win now", Richt has been at UGA to long. As a former season ticket holder and a fan of 40 plus years, I'm willing to go in another direction, even if the next hire has to be fired after 3-4 years. Doing the same thing in Athens over and over and expecting different results is not working.........Yes, I know he's a good man..... Geez.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@96JB

Was it that dadgum Tenn game that changed your thinking?

_________________

96JBOctober 9, 2015

I'm reading all these post about the Vols winnings. Won't happen. Dawgs much much better.

96JB October 4, 2015

We WILL NOT lose to tenn . . . .


UnbiasedObserver
UnbiasedObserver

Meanwhile....back in Athens....


Mark Richt is a nice guy.  

Mulk
Mulk

What has Florida really done? No more than Memphis? SEC chest beaters want Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky to be good. But, again, what have they done? I hope the Gators win but I still think that UGAG has more talent. Now, coaching is another topic all together??

PhilSGator
PhilSGator

Well, I guess by this mentality, you can say more than Bama, considering Bama couldn't do it. Lol

Mulk
Mulk

@PhilSGator


I agree with that, too. Bama hasn't done anything, either.

dawg fan
dawg fan

He'll coach circles around Richt.  We know this.  If Richt couldn't win the East when Mizzou was our chief competition how in the world is he going to get it done now that Florida has a real coach again?  Not going to happen.


We'll be playing for magical 10 win seasons from here on out.   

RangeRover
RangeRover

Bradley,

A win-win?  Wasn't it Bobo who couldn't do anything with the Florida defense last year?

DawginLex
DawginLex

Yeah let's anoint him Lombardi after a half a season playing with a stacked deck left by Muschamp


Those "leftovers" were part of 4 previous highly rated recruiting classes. Muschamp hitched his wagon to Driskell and it cost him his job. The talent everywhere else was never an issue.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@DawginLex  Kind of like what Richt did with the stacked deck left by Donnan and how he has done absolutely jack freaking squat since.


You mean that sort of thing? 

John Branca
John Branca

@DawginLex  Stacked deck left by Muschamp?  You mean exactly one scholarship offensive lineman who had played even one down in college, after ignoring the position for two recruiting cycles, all the while trying to operate with a power running game?  Gators had so few linemen, including walk-ons, that the Orange and Blue game almost wasn't held.  That the stacked deck you're referring to?

39Concepts
39Concepts

florida job---probably top 10, but not one of the two best. 

Atlbuck
Atlbuck

Considered one of the 2 best jobs in the country?  By whom?

John Branca
John Branca

@Atlbuck By those who know.  Massive athletic department budget that funds itself instead of touching state funds, enormous alumni money, massive endowments, recruiting hotbed... only Texas and I think either MIch or OSU have a larger athletic department budget.  

GTBob
GTBob

I think McElwain has done a great job so far but after watching so many recent coaching hires start out well and fizzle out pretty quickly, its hard to claim victory on this hire so early.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@GTBob


McElwain stated the same thing this week, emphasizing the importance of recruiting the right fit players in the future. \

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

McElwain a "Substance over Style" hire ,too bad for CMR and the Dogs. The narrow window of success vs. the Gators is over, even as narrow as it was over the last 4 years under Coach Boom. This also makes you wonder if hiring Schottenheimer was just the opposite a "Style over Substance Hire. As far as I can see Schottenheimer is a former NFL offensive coordinator ,but not a very successful former NFL "OC'.I guess this is why he was available when CMR and the Dogs made the call.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DawginLex

You mean Mark Sanchez was not a decent QB , played in AFC title game as a rookie. We all know it was the Jets Defense that got them there.Sanchez did just enough not to lose any games. Kind of like what is being asked of Lambert by CMR and Schotty. Unfortunately CMR and Schotty do not have a shut down defense with Pruitt and the dogs. And I do not think Lambert can win any big games if he has to make the plays

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Buschleaguer  It would help if Schotty ever walked into a situation with a decent QB


I don't think he ever has anywhere he has been including this year

dawg fan
dawg fan

@DawginLex You're seriously going to make that excuse on a blog about Florida who just lost their starting quarterback to suspension? 


Are you on drugs? 

John Branca
John Branca

@DawginLex @Buschleaguer I hope Schotty does well because he's a Gator... but our two teams are 0 for 1 so far in using each others' alumni as coaches...