Luke Del Rio's injury brings Florida, Jim McElwain to the crossroads – Alligator Army
Florida fans of a certain age — ones who remember a time before Steve Spurrier being the Gators’ head coach, which I literally can’t — and ones who are aware of history beyond their own time may recall that Richard Nixon once told reporters, bitterly, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
On Saturday, Florida fans won’t have Luke Del Rio to kick around anymore. But as with Nixon — who told the press that in 1962, after a failed bid to become California’s governor, and a half-decade before he was elected president — there’s a chance that Del Rio could come back to put the lie to those words.
The primary task for Jim McElwain, Doug Nussmeier, and every other decision-maker on Florida’s coaching staff this week is to decide whether they should angle the Gators toward that possibility, or a far more uncertain future.
Two things have seemed unequivocally true about the Gators’ coaches beliefs about their quarterbacks in 2016:
McElwain, Nussmeier, and the rest have started and stuck with Del Rio because they believe him to be the quarterback who gives Florida the best chance to win football games right now. Those same coaches are committed to finding the best chances at winning football games right now, rather than sacrificing some chance of winning now and pouring some foundation for a possibly brighter future.
I’m not sure how else to interpret what we’ve seen: Florida sticking with Del Rio not only after Austin Appleby’s underwhelming cameo, but through three games in which he was limited by injuries and threw six interceptions and two touchdowns, and not playing freshmen Feleipe Franks or Kyle Trask at any point.
Florida’s coaches have either shown that they don’t believe that Appleby, Franks, or Trask is better today than even an