McElwain laughs at Mullen’s ‘lateral move’ slight

By Adam Silverstein
December 23, 2014

Jim McElwain, new head football coach of the Florida Gators, likes to laugh. This much was obvious when he held his introductory press conference.

He got another chance to do just that on Tuesday when asked by 740 The Game radio host Mike Bianchi what he thought of a recent comment by Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, who panned the decision of defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to leave MSU for UF.

Said Mullen: “I don’t like anybody leaving for what I would view as lateral moves, to be perfectly honest.”

Your turn, McElwain. “[Laughing] Hey, I enjoy humor, you know?” he said.

No one will question that about McElwain, who seemingly let Mullen’s snide comment roll off his back. Earlier in the program, McElwain discussed his sense of humor and the need to have laughter in one’s life.

“I really think it’s really important that you start every day with a smile on your face,” he said. “It’s really about how you can affect the people around you in a positive way and then giving of yourself for the benefit of others. Those are the things I think, trademarks throughout the career we’ve had, what we try to do. I’m really fortunate to have this opportunity, the opportunities I’ve had in really such a highly-competitive business. I’m just excited to get going and really start working with these young men.”

Collins left the Bulldogs for a higher-paying, more prestigious position with the Gators, though he will hold the same job title. He is also ditching a coach who threw him and his defensive staff under the bus at the end of the regular season for a fresh start with a program loaded with more talent on that side of the ball.

For McElwain, picking Collins as his first staff hire was a no-brainer.

“We met each other at the University of Alabama, and he’s a guy that I’ve followed. He’s a guy that does a great job not only putting a plan together but really getting the guys excited to play the game,” McElwain said in a separate radio interview on Monday.

“One of the things I did know was obviously we had success on defense, and I want to maintain some of the same things they did schematically and not [make] wholesale changes on that side of the ball. He’s a guy that kind of fell out of the same tree – as a lot of us have – with that Nick Saban defense. It was a natural fit and obviously a guy that has experience within the conference. There’s no replacing that.”

Photo Credit: The Clarion-Ledger


  1. Michael Jones says:

    I have to laugh at how the anti-Mullen people were always talking about his record at MSU against Top 20 teams and how he really hadn’t done anything there, but now that we’ve got a coach and it’s not Mullen, suddenly it’s understood that there is a huge gulf of disparity between the “haves” of the college football world (e.g. UF) and the “have nots” (e.g. MSU), lol. Suddenly, for Mullen to dare refer to Collins’ accepting the same coordinator position at UF as he had at MSU a “lateral move” is hilariously funny, lol.

    That’s not all that’s funny, lol. I enjoy good humor too.

    • senuod says:

      …all of that aside, if Mullen can’t get along with our AD, personnel in the athletic department, or has a tendency to throw people on his own staff under the bus…we don’t need him.

      Winning fixes everything, but personality clashes can create major issues in any work place. That’s something I’m sure we’ve all seen in our normal work lives. Same applies here.

  2. Jeremy says:

    There is a huge gulf in terms of the long term ability of a program to maintain continued success. Part of it is due to boosters, part of it is due to conference and part of it is due to geography for recruiting purposes. UF has all three of those and thus has a much better opportunity for continued success than a school like MSU. I don’t think it has anything to do with Mullen being hired or not. Mullen would have a better chance for long term success at UF than MSU and in a deep dark place inside of him that he doesn’t talk about at MSU booster parties he knows that also. UF is just a better job.

  3. Tin says:

    I totally agree with you Jeremy! Just because MSU had a good record and a run at the playoffs, doesn’t mean they are on the same level as UF. That is just ridiculous to say that MSU to UF is a lateral move. He may have just been kinda disappointed that Collins is leaving or not getting the job as head coach.

  4. Scott says:

    If it is just a lateral move, what does that say about Mullen or Mississippi State for him to leave?

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