Tennessee Volunteer fans probably felt sick after watching the Florida Gators come back from a 20-7 second half deficit to win their 11th straight game in the series, but it’s the Gators that are feeling under the weather on Monday.
“Right now probably our biggest problem is the flu bug,” Jim McElwain said on Monday. “We’ve got about nine guys out today that came in, in fact today was our flu bug shot day. But obviously our timing is impeccable.”
McElwain wouldn’t say which players came in sick on Monday morning but nine players is a lot to come in sick on the Monday before the biggest game of the young season. The Gators are ranked inside the AP Top-25 for the first time since 2013 and will host No. 3 Ole Miss in the first matchup of two ranked teams in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium since 2012.
The Gators have their hands full with the Rebels who deploy a high-powered offensive attack and a suffocating defense. The No. 3 ranking matches the highest the Rebels have ever been ranked since 1964 and McElwain knows his team has their hands full this Saturday, flu bug or not.
“[We’ll} go play a team that I’m sure is going to come in here and figure that they should beat the heck out of us,” McElwain said. “Highly ranked opponent that has everything going for them. I remember when I was in the SEC a ways back and now when I see them on film, this is a totally different Ole Miss team from a talent standpoint.”
That is the second time McElwain has said that Ole Miss “should beat the heck out of us” since Saturday night. Obviously, McElwain is referring to Ole Miss being favored; no player or coach goes into a game with the belief that they are going to lose. McElwain has often said the Florida Gators won’t play for a participation ribbon, so you can imagine the look on sophomore cornerback Quincy Wilson’s face when McElwain’s comments were brought up to him.
“He said what? I mean, I don’t see it that way. Our defense is going to handle it,” Wilson said. “He’s always challenging us. Our defense is real competitive, but we’re just all about putting the ball out and go play.”
Before the Gators get a chance to shock the world on Saturday, they’ll need to get better and quickly. McElwain is worried about how players being sick will affect the way that they can prepare for the No. 3 team in the nation in what will be the biggest test the Gators face this season.
“Obviously I think this runs its course, but it hurts in preparation, but that’s OK,” he said. “Something we got to deal with.”