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Alex Byington | The Decatur Daily | July 12, 2016

Florida's McElwain says Saban can coach 'forever'

  SEC coaches expect to keep coaching against Nick Saban for a long time.

HOOVER, Alabama -- Jim McElwain is in the early stages of his career as a collegiate head coach, entering his fifth season as a head coach -- the second at Florida -- after more than a decade as an assistant.

Four of those years as an assistant were spent serving under Alabama coach Nick Saban, who is on the other side of the spectrum entering his 10th season with the Crimson Tide.

But while speculation is that the 64-year-old Saban is nearing the end of his nearly 45-year coaching career, McElwain, for one, doesn't see his former boss stepping away from the game anytime soon.

"I think he can go forever," McElwain said Monday on the first day of SEC Media Days. "That's just the way he's wired."

This offseason, Saban reaffirmed his desire to stay on the sideline, despite some competition using his growing age against him in recruiting.

For his part, McElwain, who coached against Saban when the two met in the 2015 SEC Championship game last season, hasn't seen any indication that Saban's increased age might be getting to him.

"I haven't seen one thing," McElwain said. "When we were around each other that week of the SEC Championship game, I didn't see one less bounce in his step, anything like that. ... The guy's something special."

Mason: 'It's not about competing anymore'

Derek Mason is entering his third season at Vanderbilt and he understands how critical a year this is for his continued tenure.

Thankfully, at least according to Mason, the tide appears to be turning for the long-suffering Commodores.

"I believe the winds of change are coming," Mason said Monday. "This group is moving, and we're excited about what looks to happen on West End. Critical factors for improvement are really about the changes from '15 to '16."

Mason highlighted this season's 42 returning upperclassmen "who have gone through the maturation process -- the fire, so to speak -- in terms of what it takes to try to compete in this conference, this big dog conference called the SEC."

But whether that experience can translate into more conference wins is yet to be seen.

"This football team knows how to compete. OK? It's not about competing anymore, it's about winning." Mason said. "We missed some opportunities (last season) and that has not gone unnoticed by this football team."

Hancock: 'No discussion of expanding' playoff

Since its inception a few years ago, the College Football Playoff has been a four-team event, and executive director Bill Hancock reaffirmed that stance for the foreseeable future.

"There's no discussion of expanding," Hancock said Monday. "We set the four-team tournament for 12 years, and there's no discussion in our group about any kind of expansion."

While the number of teams might not be changing, Hancock said the days of the CFP semifinals could move from their current spot on New Year's Eve following a dip in viewership this past year.

"The issues are what day is the best to allow the most number of people to watch the games?" Hancock said. "And, yes, we were disappointed with the viewership, although millions of people watched those games. ... We know we face the challenge with New Year's Eve."

That said, Hancock isn't in any hurry to make a change to the current setup, which will have the semfinals on New Year's Eve this season and New Year's Day for the 2017-18 season.

This article was written by Alex Byington from The Decatur Daily, Ala. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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