Saturday, February 17, 2018
Colleges

Many issues for Florida Gators in playing, or not playing, makeup game

GAINESVILLE — Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Monday a multitude of factors are under consideration as officials from Florida and Idaho try to decide what to do about Saturday night's suspended game but he hopes to have a resolution by Wednesday.

The Gators and Vandals got just one play in before the game was suspended. The start was delayed nearly three hours due to heavy rain and lightning in the area.

"Obviously there are a lot of questions out there as it relates to Saturday night's game, what's going on moving forward," Foley said. "We don't have those answers yet. … A lot of people we've got to talk to. Obviously we need to reach out to the University of Idaho. My staff and I met (Monday) morning and talked about possible scenarios. Again, when we have the answers, we'll give them to you. There's just a lot of different moving parts there. We're not trying to be secretive; there's just a lot of different things we have to consider."

Major issues include whether the game will be canceled or rescheduled (both teams have an open date on Oct. 25); whether fans will get refunds if the game isn't played, and whether the Gators will be obligated to pay Idaho its $975,000 guarantee if no game is played. Per University Athletic Association contracts, opponents are not paid until Feb. 1, so it's not as if the Vandals were expecting a check as they left Saturday night.

"We're trying to figure out all those things right now," Foley said. "We're just not there yet."

On Monday's Sun Belt Conference teleconference, Idaho coach Paul Petrino said his team would want to keep its bye week in October and the game could be rescheduled in December.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said though the players and staff were extremely disappointed, he has no doubt that stopping the game was the right thing to do.

"To put things in perspective, between the hours of 5 o'clock that afternoon and 11, we had 1,100 strikes of lightning within a six- to eight-mile radius of our stadium," Muschamp said. "We had 21/2 inches of rain between 5 and 11 o'clock, and the last strike of lightning within six miles of the stadium was at 12:38 a.m.

"It was an issue, not just of the playing conditions of the field — it was awful — but we had lightning all over the place. It was going to be a very difficult to be able to get the game in."

LET US PLAY: Valdez Showers, whose kick return was the only play in Saturday night's game before it was suspended, said players were eager to play despite the weather. A native of Detroit, Showers said it was impossible to make cuts on the field but he has played in worse conditions. His example: "It was a playoff game in, like, late November, and it was probably like 6 degrees outside, and it was snowing," the junior receiver/returner said. "There was also ice out there too. It was pretty bad. You really didn't want to hit the ground because it was so cold that you didn't want to get back up."

DRESS CODE: Players were considerably more dressed up than in the past at Saturday's Gator Walk, something Muschamp said he has encouraged. "Well, I always say it's a business trip, and you don't wear warmups to a business meeting, do you?" he said. "So we're going to dress a little nicer, or try to at least."

JONES OR TAYLOR: Had the game been played, the Gators' first play was going to be a running play with Armwood's Matt Jones starting at running back over Kelvin Taylor. But Muschamp said that doesn't mean much in his book. "Those guys are both going to play," he said. "They've both done a nice job. At the end of the day, they're going to get a bunch of carries."

Contact Antonya English at [email protected] or (813) 226-3389. Follow @TBTimes_Gators.

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