The last time Jim McElwain came to Williams-Brice Stadium, he suffered an upset loss. The last time Jim McElwain saw Steve Spurrier, Spurrier reminded him of it in typical Spurrier fashion.
McElwain was Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2010 when the No. 1 and defending national champion Crimson Tide fell 35-21 to No. 19 South Carolina. When Spurrier caught a ride on Florida’s plane to Bristol, Conn., this summer for an appearance at ESPN, Spurrier showed McElwain a cell phone picture of the game ball from that day.
“Coach Spurrier put it to me pretty good on that one, and he was right,” McElwain said this week with a laugh. “That quarterback, kid out of Tampa, that given game he might have been the No. 1 draft pick in the country coming out of that. He and Alshon Jeffery played really well that night.”
The “kid from Tampa” was Stephen Garcia, who was 17-of-20 for 201 yards and three touchdowns. That team also had a defense that included future NFL players Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, D.J. Swearinger, DeVonte Holloman, Cliff Matthews and Travian Robertson.
“They beat our tails, and (Spurrier) was pretty quick to remind me of that,” McElwain said.
This year, McElwain again comes in a favorite as the head coach of the SEC East champion Florida Gators, who are a 7.5-point favorite.