Jordan McPherson/SEC Country
Florida coach Jim McElwain talks to linebacker David Reese at practice on Tuesday.

Florida Gators still searching for their identity this season

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Separation between Florida, Georgia noticeable

When the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs face off in Jacksonville on Saturday, it will be a battle of two teams going in different directions. The Bulldogs are 7-0 and the No. 3 team in the country under second-year head coach Kirby Smart. The Gators, winners of the SEC East the last two years, are 3-3 in Jim McElwain’s third season and coming off back-to-back losses.

How did it get this way? Our Ryan Young explains:

“To put it simply, Georgia has found an identity under Smart, while Florida is searching for one, no longer the dominant defense it once was and no closer to being the offense that was envisioned when McElwain arrived.

And that’s the sobering reality for Florida fans this week. Struggling with a young team is one thing. Watching a rival need less time to successfully become what was once hoped for from this regime is only going to make this Gators rebuild all the more frustrating.”

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A closer look at Jim McElwain’s death threat comments

McElwain’s unprompted comments about family members of the team receiving death threats shook up the fan base heading into the biggest week of the Gators’ season. It also provided a glimpse into a potential divide between McElwain and the administration of Florida’s University Athletic Association.

As the Tampa Bay Times’ Matt Baker reported on Tuesday, this isn’t the first time McElwain and the UAA administration has had friction between them. Some highlights from Baker:

“McElwain had his say Monday. He chose to bring up death threats while answering an innocuous question about whether his team deserves praise for its effort, in the face of injuries, suspensions and Irma. Then he chose not to give more details about them, even after he was pressed by reporters and administrators.

UF had its say, too. It chose to make a questionable statement about the first head coach in SEC history to make it to the league title game in his first two seasons.”

Recruiting roundup

In other Florida football news

Florida hoops to play charity exhibition game

The Gators announced Tuesday that their men’s basketball team will play an exhibition game at Jacksonville University on Nov. 2 to raise funds for hurricane relief. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

“We’ve seen the news coverage and heard stories of all the people affected by the weather damage around our state, so we’re glad to be able to take part in this event and appreciate Jacksonville University’s willingness to host the Gators to benefit a great cause,” Florida coach Mike White said in a statement.

Around UF

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What they’re saying on Twitter

Defensive lineman Jordan Sherit:

Linebacker Ventrell Miller:

Quarterback Luke Del Rio:

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