FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — I’ve lauded Jim McElwain for his in-game strategy.

I’ve been thrilled with his willingness to attempt to convert fourth downs to prolong drives in enemy territory. I admire these decisions not because it is a risk. I admire it because he has put thought into the decision-making process. He understands that statistically, being aggressive on fourth down is the right thing to do. He is comfortable that he has made the right decision, irrespective of the result.

The result of Florida’s game against Arkansas on Saturday was an embarrassment. But the decision-making process, both in the game-plan preparation and the discussion afterward, was an embarrassment as well.

In Friday’s preview, I expressed concern that Gators QB Luke Del Rio would be making his first start on the road. After two early drops by his receivers cost Florida a pick-6 and a third-down conversion, Del Rio looked like a true freshman. It became clear by the end of the first quarter — and definitely by the half — that Del Rio was overmatched.

With the Gators marching to tie the game at 14, Del Rio threw a backbreaking interception to Arkansas free safety Josh Liddell. Just prior to the snap, the strong safety crept up 5 yards, a dead giveaway that the free safety is going to be playing center field — right where Del Rio was trying to throw the ball.

This is a true freshman mistake, and it’s one that you might be able to justify for someone with Del Rio’s lack of on-field experience. Except he made the exact same mistake twice against Missouri two weeks ago, predetermining his throw to the middle of the field despite the pre-snap read.

McElwain likes to say he tells his players to be proud of what they put on film. Well, Del Rio keeps putting

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