UF’s McElwain weighs QB change as Gators’ offensive struggles continue

Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio has six interceptions in three games, including a pick-six to open Saturday’s 31-10 loss at Arkansas. Del Rio said he is struggling with decision making and locking into his first option at receiver. FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Jim McElwain considered a move, but never made it.

This week, McElwain might have no choice other than to change quarterbacks, looking to spark a moribund offense that failed to score a touchdown at Arkansas with Luke Del Rio at the helm.

Since his return from a knee injury against Missouri, Del Rio has thrown two touchdowns and six interceptions in three games, including two pivotal picks during Saturday’s humbling 31-10 loss to the Razorbacks.

“I haven’t played well,” Del Rio said. “I haven’t taken care of the ball. I need to be consistent with my decision-making and my accuracy. I felt we’ve had really good game plans in all the games.

“Guys have done their jobs. I need to do mine.”

Whether Del Rio gets another chance is the question gripping Gator Nation following another abysmal showing by an offense McElwain was hired 23 months ago to fix.

McElwain said he will evaluate his quarterback situation this week.

The options might not be limited to Del Rio and backup Austin Appleby, but according to McElwain could include first-year freshmen Kyle Trask and Feleipe Franks. Neither has taken a college snap and would burn his redshirt season with just three regular-season games remaining.

“There’s a lot of positions we’ve got to evaluate moving forward,” McElwain said.

The disappointment and drama surrounding McElwain’s quarterback quandary will be amplified by Saturday’s Senior Day opponent.

UF’s second-year coach now will face the man he replaced, first-year Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp.

During four seasons at Florida, the defensive-minded Muschamp failed to identify the right quarterback or offensive scheme to win enough games, much less contend for championships.

But Muschamp could coach defense. Despite some serious talent deficiencies as he rebuilds the Gamecocks, he undoubtedly will have a scheme in place for whoever lines up under center for the Gators (6-2, 4-2 SEC).Ironically, Muschamp has made bold moves at quarterback himself this season and finally settled on promising first-year freshman Jake Bentley. The Gamecocks (5-4, 3-4) have won three consecutive games behind Bentley, including a 24-21 win Oct. 29 against Tennessee — 38-28 winners Sept. 24 against the Gators.Whatever good will remains for McElwain among an increasingly restless fan base will evaporate if Muschamp returns to the Swamp, upsets the Gators and further jeopardizes their chances to defend the SEC East title.UF still holds a 1.5-game lead over Kentucky (5-4, 4-3), while Tennessee (6-3, 2-3) remains alive, too. But a Florida loss at home to South Carolina, followed by a Nov. 19 visit to LSU does not bode well for the Gators.The idea of losing three consecutive SEC games seemed unfathomable for Florida two weeks ago entering the Georgia game.But the continued struggles of Del Rio and the offense, along with several key injuries Saturday at Arkansas have turned the Gators into a very vulnerable […]