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Ex-Gators great Jack Youngblood: Florida had more problems than McElwain expected

Jack Youngblood
COURTESY OF NFL

One of the all-time Gator greats, Jack Youngblood joined 1010XL Radio in Jacksonville on Tuesday night and gave his thoughts on Gators coach Jim McElwain and the Gator season to this point.

“You know, I like what he has tried to do,” Youngblood said. “He got into a program that he didn’t realize had as many problems as it had, so he had to go in and fundamentally clean up the operation. It still has some problems. I don’t think the message has sunk in to some of those kids. They do some stuff that is just wrong.

“It’s really about the discipline aspect and then character comes into play there, but I do think Jim is on the right path there. He’s been successful and put us in the SEC championship game two years in a row, and that’s hard to do coming into a new operation.

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“He got into something that was a little deeper then he imagined, I think. But he has come a long way with making do with what he had and what he has right now.”

Youngblood starred at Florida from 1968-70, earning first-team All-American honors in 1970 as a senior, before being drafted in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. Youngblood played 14 years for the Rams, earning seven Pro Bowl trips and being named first-team All-Pro five times. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Youngblood was in attendance Saturday to watch Florida play LSU, and didn’t like some of what he saw.

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“I was watching the defense and we couldn’t stop the sweep. It drove me crazy,” Youngblood said. “That’s the first aspect of being a defensive end — you can’t let that get outside. You have to take that away from them first thing and then make a play.

“They have some ground to cover and get better at on the defensive side of the ball. Jim must also think he has no luck at all when it comes to his quarterbacks. They come and go like they’re part-time guys. But I think if we can get the running game going and take the pressure off the quarterbacks and then be able to stop the run, we will be fine, we will be good.”

(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)

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