Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators lose focus in Wednesday practice

While the Gators prepare for a 2-8 opponent this week, they’re preaching discipline on the field.

Jim McElwain’s weekly concern about attention to detail on the field extends into the Gators’ preparation for Florida Atlantic. The Owls have a running quarterback in Jaquez Johnson, who leads an FAU offense full of trick plays that can catch the Gators off balance.

Early in the week, the Florida defense handled preparation the right way by staying disciplined and not giving up the big play. Things changed on Wednesday at practice.

“This is a team that what they do with the art of deception, what they do with a lot of the different things they do on special teams, obviously on offense with the gadgets and defense with the different type looks, it really creates discipline and you've got to be focused,” Florida coach Jim McElwain. “I don't think we were that today.”

McElwain was quick to point out that the energy level has been good this week at practice and the players have been enthusiastic during the week. They’ve spoken multiple times about each game being a playoff situation and taking things seriously, which they’ve done this week outside the minor lapse on Wednesday.

Florida has surprised the country with its 9-1 record so far this season, and the players are doing everything possible to avoid taking a step back.

“You can’t really have steps back at this point,” Florida tight end Jake McGee said. “(If) we lose, your end goals aren’t going to be the same. It’s one of those things where every week you have to continue to improve, regardless of who comes in the stadium.”

Florida co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Randy Shannon echoed that the Gators had a strong week in practice on Monday and Tuesday.

“Monday and Tuesday so far this week has been really, really phenomenal,” Shannon said. “Enthusiasm, excitement, guys correcting mistakes and anticipation of being tuned in to every detail is above and beyond what we’ve even done in the past. I think those guys on this football team and the coaching staff have really understood the importance of playing at a high level.”


McElwain said Florida left tackle David Sharpe reinjured his foot during practice on Wednesday and is questionable to play on Saturday.

Defensive end Jordan Sherit (hamstring), defensive tackle Joey Ivie (leg) and defensive end Alex McCalister (foot) are expected to be out on Saturday.

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