GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Injured quarterback Luke Del Rio returned to practice Wednesday and went through some of the individual and non-contact drills, Florida coach Jim McElwain said.
McElwain termed the redshirt-sophomore quarterback “definitely questionable” for the No. 23 Gators’ game Saturday at Vanderbilt and said that fifth-year senior Austin Appleby is ready to start again.
He didn’t completely rule out Del Rio, though, especially if anything happened to Appleby during the game.
“I think the big piece based on what he did today in practice, we’ve got to see how the injury responds moving forward,” McElwain said. “Obviously he’d be a guy that we could put in there hopefully, but we’ll see. If not, one of those (freshmen) will be ready to go and off we go.”
Del Rio was throwing short passes to the receivers during the individual drills period that was open to the media, but that was all reporters were able to see.
The redshirt-sophomore quarterback missed the Gators’ game last Saturday at Tennessee after injuring his knee the previous week when he took a low hit from a North Texas defender.
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Appleby started in Del Rio’s place last weekend, completing 23-of-39 passes for 296 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.
“We’ll see how that feels really in the morning,” McElwain said of Del Rio. “He would go (on the trip) anyway just like he did last week, but moving forward Austin has had a good week and is ready to go play again and that should be good.”
If the Gators need a backup quarterback Saturday and Del Rio isn’t ready, it sounds like Feleipe Franks would get the nod over fellow true freshman Kyle Trask.
“Feleipe took most of the reps,” McElwain said. “Kyle’s had — I guess you’d say most of the reps, I think Kyle had four less. I didn’t see today’s count. But both have been doing a really good job.”