Saturday was not a good day to be a Florida Gator.
The day began with Florida issuing a statement saying it was not in the midst of buyout discussions regarding coach Jim McElwain’s contract. That’s not typically the best way to start a game day.
And the game itself? Yeah … it didn’t start well either. Georgia scored 21 points to open the game on the way to a 42-7 win over the Gators. It’s Georgia’s biggest win in the annual rivalry since a 44-0 victory in 1982.
The game wasn’t even over before another report surrounding McElwain’s job status emerged. During the second half, ESPN reported that Florida was doing its research to see if McElwain could be fired with cause.
Sources told ESPN that they believe the university has enough cause to fire McElwain without having to pay his buyout. Sources also said that if McElwain were to be relieved of his duties, defensive coordinator Randy Shannon would be asked to be the team’s interim coach.
Earlier this week, McElwain said he and members of his now 3-4 team had received death threats. He didn’t elaborate on those threats publicly and the school said in a statement that McElwain didn’t even elaborate on them privately.
Those accusations could conceivably be the cause if there would be enough legal muster to make it work. When Florida’s statement came out before the game, Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde said there had been no conversations between the school and McElwain’s agent Jimmy Sexton.
After the game, McElwain was asked about his future. This was his response:
McElwain asked if he’d be surprised if he’s not Florida’s coach tomorrow: “Nothing surprises me.”
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) October 28, 2017
Given all of that, it seems nearly impossible to answer the question we posed in the headline of this post. McElwain could be the team’s coach when Florida travels to Missouri on Nov. 4. Or he couldn’t, and Shannon could be the coach if the school is really working to rid itself of McElwain and his contract and if it is successful in that endeavor.
What is clear is that Florida, losers of three straight, is not a good team. Quarterbacks Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire were a combined 10-of-25 for 66 yards and an interception. The once-vaunted Gator defense allowed nearly 292 rushing yards and four touchdowns to the Bulldogs, who snapped a three-game losing streak in the series.
– – – – – – –