University of Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp
On S Matt Elam as a player and as a person:"I think he'll be very successful. Matt is extremely intelligent. He can play multiple positions. He can do a lot of things for you. He is a physical, tough football player. He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He is a guy that throws his body around. He is a reckless football player. He has ball-hawk ability as far as creating turnovers and being a part of gaining the ball back for the Ravens. So, I think he's going to be outstanding."
On what the Ravens are getting in Elam:"They are going to get a great competitor. [If] you turn on the tape, it's pretty obvious. Football is very important to him. He really enjoys playing the game – preparation of the game. Again, I go back to the first thing I said – he is extremely intelligent. He is a really good communicator. He can handle everything that you ever want to do defensively. He communicates well. He sees the game very well. He's just a really good football player. I think this past year, he was as productive of a defensive football players as I've been around."
On if Elam was the best tackler that he has coached:"He is a violent tackler. He has really good explosion in a short area. He can really snap his hips in a short area, so [he is] a guy that is a good box safety. He can do that. He can still also play with range in the middle of the field and tackling and running in the alleys and different things. He's a physical football player."
On what he learned about Elam from the adversity he has overcome in life:"Matt has been through some tough times, there is no question. I think that part of the growing process is handling adversity, and he has been able to do that. He has been able to separate the personal side and the business side. I talked to our football team [about how] the personal side are the things that happened off the field, and the business side is the football. That's where he has been able to separate those two things."
On if Elam has any weaknesses he has to work on:"He has to adapt to the NFL game – the different hash marks, the different markings on the field. Obviously, going against the type of caliber athletes and adjusting to the speed of the game – the natural progression that any rookie goes through and adjusting to the NFL. It's a long season. When you hit Thanksgiving, you have five, six games left, and that's not including the playoffs there for the Ravens. The natural things that happen for any rookie, those are the things he has to be able to adjust to. But again, I go back to he's a very mature young man, and he's very intelligent. Generally, those guys that have those two qualities adjust well."
On Elam maturing and developing within the last year after a meeting with Muschamp: "I think sometimes when young men play at a place like the University of Florida, which is a phenomenal place to play, they look at themselves as where is their position just at Florida. I think the big thing that I tried to emphasize to Matt is, 'Let's look at the big picture here. Let's get out of just your realm of the University of Florida. Let's start going more nationwide. Let's compare ourselves to other programs, to other players at other places.' And, I think as much as anything, he understood what I was talking about. It's not just about being the best player at Florida. Let's be the best player in the country. Those are things – as far as the big picture – I tried to emphasize to him."
On how Elam coped with his smaller stature and being 5-10: "I think again that can be a little overrated at times. What's the difference between 5-10 and 6-foot? He has great leaping ability, and he has really good ball judgment. As far as playing the ball and getting the ball off of people and being strong-handed in coverage, [those] are things that, I think, are some of his strengths. I think that overcomes those two inches that people may point at."
On something that people don't know about Elam: "I just think as much as anything it's his competitive edge. He's a competitor. When he gets on the field, when he walks between the white lines, he's a different guy. That's something that … People gravitate to him. He has really good leadership ability, and he's a guy that can command a lot of respect by the way he plays and the way he carries himself."