Florida head coach Jim McElwain says he believes his team is behind the postponement game with LSU and ready for Saturday’s matchup against the high flying Missouri Tigers.
“They were geared up,” McElwain said about the team ready to play LSU last week. “When you mentally go through a week and you start to get to that pitch that you need to be to play on Saturday… so when that didn’t occur, the regroup piece, which I was a little worried about. I thought they were pretty well regrouped but we won’t know until Saturday.”
In the end, these players have a finite number of games they can play in their college career and one of them is on tap in The Swamp in front of their rabid fans on Saturday. Go play the game.
“What it really boils down to is grabbing your jersey and grabbing your helmet and going out in the park and playing, and having a good time doing it,” McElwain said. “That’s what we’re looking to do on Saturday, against a team that lives off explosive plays, we’ll find out how good our secondary is because they will get challenged a lot. We’ll see if we can stay consistent as far as pushing the pocket and forcing the quarterback off his mark a little bit. They do a great job, as I said earlier, of getting it out of their hands and seeing if we can learn to finish through a play offensively, and this will be a great test for us. Looking forward to it, should be a lot of fun.”
McElwain knows his team needs to do better all the way around. One thing he has been adamant about for everyone on the team is to not quit until after the whistle blows.
"I'm looking for obviously improvement in all phases,” he said. “But more than that, I'm looking for improvement with guys not just trying to do their job and stopping, but actually doing their job and finishing. That's really what I'm looking for this week."
He wants his quarterback to finish too and the quarterback this week will be the return of Luke Del Rio in place of backup Austin Appleby.
"He obviously has come full with it,” McElwain said of Del Rio’s return from injury. “I thought Austin was comfortable with it. Austin will be ready to play. They split with the 1's. We'll start Luke and we'll see how it goes from there."
The Gators are getting healthier. The week off from playing certainly didn’t hurt. Del Rio is back Daniel McMillian is banged, but going to play. Jarrad Davis seems set. There are a few that will miss still.
"Injury wise D-Mac (shoulder) practiced today, I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready to go, so I’d say probable there,” McElwain said. “(Joseph) Putu is still a little banged up with that ankle, but should be ready to go. We had some go-as-can guys. C.J. Worton was out today. Caleb’s got that hand. He didn’t go a full day today. I don’t know what his deal is. We want guys to show up and play. Obviously, still (Joey) Ivie and (Jordan) Sherit are still out with what happened with them. Justus Reed will be out. But, we’ll be ready to go. ”