Wholesale changes are being shopped and brought to Gainesville. An astute offensive mind, Jim McElwain wasn’t brought to Gainesville because the Florida Gators were wearing out the lights on scoreboards. He intends to make sweeping changes to the offensive side of the ball and bring back some bite to Florida’s offense.
It’s a big picture change. In the past four seasons, Florida tried to go from a spread offense to a pro style system and then back again. McElwain is bringing his own brand of offense, along with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, and the two spent the past month, spanning fifteen practices, implementing their scheme and philosophy.
While the objective is black and white — take an offense that put people to sleep and make it one fans can be proud of — the devil is in the details.
McElwain uttered the word “detail” eight times in the fifteen minutes he spoke to the media following the Orange and Blue Debut. McElwain knows that he’s in the infancy stages of a tremendous undertaking but before the Gators’ offense can run they must learn to walk.
“t’s a work in progress. It took a while. Let’s face it, there’s parts, right, and we’re identifying the parts and we’ll put some plans together to help the explosive playmakers to have an opportunity to make those plays,” he said. “That’s for us to come up with after we go back through and go through every single cut up of every practice. It’s amazing you see when you do that see how guys get better to details.”
The minutia matters.
Most fans see a quarterback drop back and throw a pass. They only judge if the pass was complete or incomplete and was the play a positive one. The coaching staff has to break it down further. Did the quarterback take his drop correctly? Did he shift his feet in the pocket, keep them moving as he goes through progressions? Did he make the right read? Did the receiver run the route on time and with the proper depth? The little things — the ones that go unnoticed to most — are what the Gators are focusing on now.
“That’s the main thing. Everything down to footwork, making sure mike points are right and hots are right and everything like that,” quarterback Will Grier said. “Those are little things that add up and become big things and help us be successful.”
McElwain sees the big picture but he’s smart enough to know that the amount of work that needs to be done in the long run would be mind numbing and defeating to stress on his players. They’ve set a long term goal, sure, but setting short term goals of doing the little things right is what he’s stressing. If you take care of the little things and do enough of them correctly, the picture will come out the way you want it to in time.
“Really in every position on the field. Attention to detail is a huge part of the passing game, running game and really anything,” said Grier. “He pushes it so hard on us because that creates that if you’re doing the little things right, the big things take care of themselves.”
The Gators need to paint the Sistine Chapel. The undertaking is staggering but McElwain and the coaching staff are trying to make it easy by breaking it down into smaller segments. The Gators’ offense is painting by numbers.
It may take longer, but in the end the product could still be breathtaking.