GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Speaking after practice Wednesday, Florida coach Jim McElwain still was not ready to make a final decision on the status of quarterback Luke Del Rio.
Or, at least, he was not ready to announce a decision.
McElwain said that Del Rio split reps with Austin Appleby, who started the last two games for Florida. The coach had acknowledged earlier in the week that Del Rio has been targeting the No. 18 Gators’ game with LSU this weekend as his hopeful return from his knee injury.
“After yesterday’s practice, which was pretty extensive obviously for a normal Tuesday, there was some stiffness — and obviously there’s going to be — this morning,” McElwain said of Del Rio. “He got back on the horse today and I thought looked pretty good, moving, sidestepping, doing some of the things in the move the pocket stuff that we need to do to be successful. We’ll find out really there again how it reacts tomorrow, so nothing definitive there.
“He’ll be prepared to play, so will Austin, so will Kyle (Trask), so will Feleipe (Franks). So whatever direction we have to go, we’ll go that way, but he’s obviously a step ahead of (where) he was last week.”
Appleby has gone 1-1 while passing for 470 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception overall.
Del Rio had the Gators off to a 3-0 start while throwing for 762 yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His 320 passing yards against Kentucky were the most by a Florida quarterback in an SEC game since 2004.
“I thought he was playing at a pretty high level. I thought he was really on time with some things and had just a step ahead, just an understanding of what … With that, Austin did some good things, but what (Del Rio) brings is another quarterback in the meeting room that can go play and that’s a good thing for us,” McElwain said.
McElwain was asked if Del Rio’s command of the offense gives the Gators more options with the offense?
“You know, no, Austin, he does a good job. They do some things differently, so to play to those strengths, you know, one or the other, is something we have to do obviously as play callers and putting a plan together,” he said.