GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain said quarterback Luke Del Rio looked good in practice Tuesday, but he reiterated he won’t take any chances with his injured quarterback.
Del Rio has missed the last two games with a knee injury and has been targeting a return for the No. 18 Gators’ game this weekend with LSU.
“You know, (he’s) been pretty good. This morning, (we’re) just checking kind of the stiffness, soreness, swelling based off of a little more reps than he has been taking on a Tuesday,” McElwain said on the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning. “But right now we’re still splitting them a little more with Austin, but we’ll see here after the Wednesday third-down, red-area and obviously our normal good-on-good stuff to kind of see where that his and his ability to play and perform at a high level.”
Fifth-year senior Austin Appleby has started the last two games. He 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.
McElwain will meet with reporters again after practice Wednesday and may have a clearer idea of his quarterback plans. Or he may not.
“I think one of the things I’ve said over and over, it doesn’t matter the position, but my long-term concern and care and welfare for these players, we’re going to make sure that they’re able to go at a high level,” McElwain said. “Part of that in Luke’s case is being able to perform the things that he was able to perform in those first couple of games. That’s how we handle the injury situations and it doesn’t matter what position it is.
“We did the same thing with (defensive end) Jordan Sherit, who we ended up (getting his knee scoped) just based on his ability to play at a high level for us defensively last week. And we’ll do the same thing with Luke.”