Coach regrets tirade: Jim McElwain Regrets Tirade

Published: September 14, 2015

Coach regrets tirade: Jim McElwain Regrets Tirade, Two days after berating running back Kelvin Taylor on the sideline, Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain stopped short of apologizing for his profanity-laced tirade but did express regret.

“I’m not proud about it, and neither is my mother,” McElwain said Monday at his weekly news conference. “I don’t feel good about it. As you know, this is a very public job. This is a public thing that we do. I understand that I have a long ways to go and I make mistakes. …

“Am I proud of it? Absolutely not. Do I feel bad about it? Yes. At the same time, I’ve got to understand my mistakes as well and learn from it and go forward.”

Taylor, the son of retired NFL running back Jacksonville Jaguars star Fred Taylor, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after making a throat-slash gesture following a touchdown late in Saturday’s 31-24 victory against East Carolina.

When Taylor got to the sideline, McElwain laid into him in front of teammates, coaches and about 90,000 fans.

A video clip, with audio, surfaced of the rant, during which McElwain yelled at Taylor: “Look at me! Don’t look down! F—— be a man! You f—— let your team down.”

Fred Taylor, who appeared on The Dan LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio on Monday and heard the audio for the first time, said McElwain’s reaction was a little harsh.

“I don’t think he should test his manhood,” Taylor said. “I think it was a little bit extensive, a little bit much. They’ll figure it out. Either my son is going to fall to it, or he’s going to use it as motivation, as I told him, and go out and play some real ball.”

McElwain, who said he got “an earful” from his 94-year-old mother, demoted Kelvin Taylor from first to third team on the depth chart Monday. The junior from Belle Glade leads the Gators with 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Either Jordan Cronkrite or fellow freshman Jordan Scarlett is expected to start against the Wildcats.

“Being a starter is not the end of the world, but what point are you trying to make?” Fred Taylor said. “Are you trying to show the media that you’re going to be a no-nonsense guy? Or are you trying to get the players’ attention? I thought you did that already.”

Fred Taylor, who admittedly made the same gesture many times and even was fined $10,000 for doing so during a 2012 game against the Washington Redskins, told ESPN that both his son and the coach got caught up in the heat of the moment.

“I thought it was a little of an overreaction, but I do understand coaching,” Fred Taylor said. “[My son] got caught up in a celebration that his old man used to do. I throat-slashed many times. I’ve even gotten fined for it. But he understands that he made, as coach called it, a selfish act.”

Said McElwain: “I’m by no means perfect, and I do know our players know how much I care about them.”

Players defended McElwain on Monday.

“I think he did the right thing,” senior guard Trip Thurman said. “On any team, the head coach is a father figure. He wants the best out of his players. What we’re trying to do as a team … not do throat slashes and try to cut down on penalties. Kelvin knows what he did wrong. We learned from it and we’re going to move along. Coach loves us all.”

Fred Taylor agreed that McElwain is just trying to push the Gators in a new direction after having parted ways with former coach Will Muschamp after last season.

“[McElwain’s] job is to come in there and clean up. And sometimes they tend to go a little bit overboard by trying to do what the university hired them for,” Fred Taylor told ESPN. “You try to find that balance.

“But in that particular case, I thought [it] was a little bit excessive. But again, my son, he’s a man. He’s not what coach was saying. He’s a kid who understands humility. He was taught that way. He realizes he made a mistake there. … I’m sure he’s motivated and he’s going to look to go crazy against Kentucky and use it as fuel.”

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