GAINESVILLE ó Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.
Gators coach Jim McElwain said there have been death threats directed toward his program after UFís 3-3 start.
"The hard part is obviously when the threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will thatís brought upon out there," McElwain said Monday. "And yet I think itís really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to whatís going on out there nationally. A lot of angry people. In this business, weíre the ones they take the shots at, and thatís the way it is."
McElwain wouldnít elaborate on the details of the threats, including who was targeted and whether any were against him. He said UF didnít contact law enforcement over them, and a spokesperson for the local FBI office did not return a request for comment.
Whatís even more distressing: McElwain said he isnít shocked by the threats leveled midway through the season at a team that has won back-to-back SEC East titles.
"Youíre in the business, thatís all part of it," McElwain said. "When itís directed toward your players, when itís directed to families, wives, that kind of thing Ö and yet at the same time they know what they signed up for as well. Thatís part of the business."
The Gators confirmed that administrators met with McElwain to talk about the threats Monday.
"The University Athletic Association takes the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and families very seriously," spokesman Steve McClain said. "Our administration met with Coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details."
Although FSU coach Jimbo Fisher didnít mention any death threats Monday, he was heckled by a fan after Saturdayís 31-28 home loss to Louisville dropped FSU to 2-4 for the first time since 2009. A fan yelled at Fisher to get new coaches, and Fisher snapped that the fan should come say that to his face.
Two days after the viral encounter, Fisher doesnít regret it. He said criticism (especially from the media) comes with the coaching profession, but he "would have never thought in a thousand years" heíd hear a comment like that from a Seminoles fan after a home game.
"Weíre walking off the field, and Iím walking off the field, and Iím looking at the hurt and watching our kids cry," Fisher said. "And I look at the coaches ó how hurt they were. And coachesí kids are standing there right by the tunnel. Theyíre sitting there, listening to the guy. Ö
"To hear one of our fans reaching over saying that about our coaches in front of their own kids and in front of their own players Ö that doesnít belong there."
FSU RB Jacques Patrick will have surgery this week after tearing cartilage in his knee Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound junior is second on the team with 434 rushing yards. FSU wonít have a specific timeline for his return until after surgery, but Patrick will likely miss the rest of the season.
Five-star freshman Cam Akers is set to receive even more carries, and Fisher said sophomore Amir Rasul and St. Petersburg Catholic alumnus Ryan Green could also see more time in the rotation.
"They might be the No. 3 team in the country, but they canít beat Florida. Thatís our mentality going forward, and weíll come out and be ready to play."
Gators WR Josh Hammond on playing undefeated SEC East favorite Georgia on Saturday. UF has won three in a row in the series.
Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.