When Jim McElwain was introduced as Florida's coach on December 6, someone asked about what his role would be during Florida's bowl game — a game he wouldn't coach, with D.J. Durkin being installed as the Gators' interim head man.
Eating popcorn. I'm going to see what the normal guy does. Maybe we'll go tailgate. We go do that, Bernie, go set up a grill (laughter)?
On Saturday, McElwain did more or less what he joked he would in the hours before the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.
Sure, this was a really easy public relations win for Florida, because its new coach is a personable guy who will joke about something and go through with it. And with a reporter and a cameraman there, it's possible — probable — that this was more for show than for McElwain's own enjoyment.
But it's also a sign that Florida is aware that PR wins like this are possible, and that the program understands the significant value of putting McElwain out in the world to sway fans in a context other than a press conference.
At a time when Florida could certainly afford to rebuild fans' trust in the Gators, having McElwain out in the world and literally shaking fans' hands is a wise move.