Florida football coach Jim McElwain is keeping his goatee as a sort of rally cap for the men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament. [File]
McElwain using basketball team's success as talking points
Florida football coach Jim McElwain has come down with a serious case of March Madness. A strong Gator strain of it, as a matter of fact.
That became apparent Monday, when McElwain turned his football news conference into an ongoing conversation about Mike White and the UF basketball team’s success in the NCAA Tournament.
McElwain praised White, said he admires the way the Gators play unselfishly together as one, and revealed that he’s keeping his new goatee as sort of a rally cap for the basketball team.
“It’s a great time of year. My hat's off to how our guys are playing,” McElwain said. “Mike's got those guys playing unselfish. You don't see a lot of guys calling for, ‘Me, me, me.’ I think it's really a testament to see the team play and be concerned more about their teammates and getting them involved rather than how many points they score. That's fun to watch. I can't say enough good things.”
A few minutes after football had become the topic again Monday, McElwain interrupted his own news conference again by bringing up basketball.
“Can we talk some hoops? Unbelievable. I thought Arkansas had that thing (against North Carolina). That would have been good for all four (SEC) teams,” he said. “Seeing what South Carolina did, that was pretty powerful.
“More than that, just the way our guys are playing, Mike's got our guys playing unselfish ball. Guys giving of themselves for the benefit of others. I love it. And aren't afraid to, doing the things in life that are not easy, but that are hard, only to look forward to the stuff that you like to do.
“What they're doing, they're doing the little things. It's something we talk about over and over and over. To be successful, you have to do some things you don't necessarily like to do or that don't come natural. Getting in a defensive stance, sinking your hips, not reaching and playing team defense. That's what they're doing. It's fun to watch."
McElwain wanted to talk basketball. So, he got a basketball question at his football news conference: Will KeVaughn Allen come out of his shooting slump?
"There's no doubt in my mind,” he said. “I look at it like this. Sometimes those guys that get into that, you don't want them to get hot so the other team is going to go ahead and maintain their, ‘Here's the shooter, you've got to take this away.’ In turn, I think he's done a great job of involving the other guys.
“So when he gets out of that little bit off a shooting slump, which is going to happen in the Garden, (it’s going to be great).”
McElwain said he hasn’t been talking about the basketball team just with the media. He’s also been discussing the Gators’ Sweet Sixteen run with his players. He said the football team can learn a great deal by watching what the basketball team is doing and how it’s doing it.
“We talk hoops all the time. Using some of the things that they do, or great teams do,” McElwain said. “I see our (hoops) guys, they’re affecting each other the way it should be. There are some great lessons to learn. It doesn’t matter what the sport because the things that help you be successful in any team sport are universal. Any examples of those that we can use, obviously we use.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.
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