Much has been made of Jim Harbaugh’s attempt to turn Michigan into an honorary SEC team by holding training camp in Florida, with coaches like Nick Saban speaking out against Harbaugh and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey even trying to block the Wolverines’ plans.
But Florida coach Jim McElwain, who has as much stake as anyone in keeping Harbaugh out of the Sunshine State, had a surprisingly positive response to Michigan’s incursion on his territory. Via the AP:
“I kind of look it as more power to him,” McElwain said Tuesday, the day before the Gators opened spring practice. “It’s totally legal. He’s not doing anything that’s illegal. He’s pressing the envelopes. He’s putting their name in the paper every day. And, you know, that’s cool. I mean, I’d come to Florida, too.
“There are great players here, right? There’s a reason every school in the country comes here and recruits. So I think for them it’s trying to gain an edge and give them an opportunity to practice in great weather. I don’t plan on taking ours to Michigan. I’m all for what he’s doing.”
While the SEC and ACC have collectively panicked about Harbaugh planting his flag in the Florida soil and claiming the region’s recruits, McElwain is basically saying, “bring it on”.
The Wolverines held their spring camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, only two and a half hours from Florida’s Gainesville campus, so you would think the Gators’ coach would be more angry than anyone. Instead he showed a level of maturity that, well, he isn’t exactly known for.
McElwain’s measured response could owe in part to the result of January’s Citrus Bowl, when Michigan crushed Florida 41-7. It’s hard to talk too much trash about a coach and team that just creamed you two months ago.