Can Jim McElwain succeed at UF?

By Michael Cannady (@mike_can21)  Comments
Updated: December 24, 2014

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The University of Florida football team has not been relevant since Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow left. The fans at the University of Florida are hoping that the former Colorado State head coach can make the Gators into a national title contender for many years to come.

New Florida head coach Jim McElwain finished 10-2 under his former team, the Colorado State Rams, before deciding to become the head coach for the gator football team. McElwain has a track record of success.  He has taken a team that was ranked 100th nationally in scoring to ranked 13th in total offense at 498 yards per game.

Florida’s main problem is putting points up on the scoreboard. Former UF head coach Will Muschamp being a defensive minded coach was not able to get the job done during his four-year tenure in Gainesville, Fla from 2011-2014. Although Muschamp’s defense was ranked top 25 nationally in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game, the offense was not. The Gators were ranked 55th in points per game and 94th in yards per game. What was the problem on the offensive side of the football?

Football fans and coaches around the world need to understand that we are in a whole new era, and the game of football has changed due to the type of athletes. Will Muschamp was trying to play “smashmouth football”, and did not find any success even when he hired a new offensive coordinator in Kurt Roper.

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban understood that he could not continue playing “old school football”, and had to put points on the board. Saban hired first-year offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, and is having much success through the air passing rather than just running the clock out with Kiffin’s West Coast offense. I’m not saying Alabama wasn’t successful when the team was not throwing a lot, but the main thing Nick Saban understood is that he had to play just like the Oregon Ducks.

The Florida Gators athletic director, Jeremy Foley, could have possibly found the right guy for the job. Foley was after an offensive minded coach and got just what he was looking for. Jim McElwain was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in 2014, and was the offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2008-2011.

In the 2009 season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, his offense set a school record with 5,642 yards from scrimmage. Moreover, in 2010, the Tide scored 464 points which is the second most in program history. In 2011, the offense was averaging 219.8 rushing yards and 213.6 yards passing per game.

Although the numbers look good, it will all boil down to recruiting the right players. If McElwain can get the athletes that suits what he’s trying to accomplish on the offensive side and defensive side of the football, there is no doubt he will bring UF back in the national spotlight. Until then, he has to work with what he has now. I’m pretty sure he would be fired up to work with UF quarterback Treon Harris who has shown signs of potentially becoming an outstanding signal caller for the next three years.

Those who have worked with McElwain or have been around him says he has a mild-mannered personality which will fit well around the guys in the locker room. What are your thoughts? Do you think Jim McElwain has what it takes to build UF into a championship contender?

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