GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain said he got the news during practice Thursday that the Gators’ postponed game with LSU would be made up Nov. 19 while moving from Gainesville to Baton Rouge, La.
While Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley conveyed his frustration with the process in a statement that accompanied the news release, McElwain used his weekly appearance on “Gator Talk” to mostly reassert that the Gators never wavered in their intent to get the game played.
“We obviously wanted to play the game in any way, shape or form as we could,” McElwain said during the live radio show inside Piesanos Pints & Pies. “I thought Jeremy, our administration, our president did a great job of making that happen no matter what the other side wanted. And yet there was no way that we weren’t going to play LSU. That’s a game that’s been played since the early ’70s, it’s our natural crossover from the (SEC) East to the West, it’s a game people expect to be played and it’s a game that quite honestly our guys and being a Gator, those are the games you want to play.
“And it doesn’t matter where it’s going to be. We’re disappointed we lost this home game obviously for our fans, and yet you know what, it doesn’t matter. We’ll go out in the parking lot as far as I’m concerned.”
McElwain was then asked again about the criticism that was directed toward Florida and the SEC following the postponement last week.
He has consistently expressed his confusion as to how critics could fault a decision based on the threat of an incoming Category 4 hurricane.
“Think of all our first responders and all they did was go over and help a bunch of people that were in distress,” McElwain said Thursday. “Over 50 of our guys (are from) the area that was basically the red zone, their families, the concern that we had. And of course as everyone understands, a storm, a natural disaster like that coming this way, it could have been a whole different thing. And yet there’s parts of this country, not only have people died in this storm, there’s parts of this country that are underwater, still don’t have power. It’s one of those deals where at some point reason has to come across and say, ‘I’m happy for all the people who were helped.’
“Obviously our governor, I think, did a great job getting people out of the state, out of the areas with good warning and now we can get to where football, hopefully we can get back to normal and football can start again and I’m excited for our guys and that opportunity.”
Florida hosts Missouri this Saturday in The Swamp.