Preparations continue in Gainesville for the Gators game coming Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with the Tennessee Vols. And even though Hurricane Irma passed through the state a few days ago, it is still a race to get everything done and to make sure the setting is safe and secure for the game to be played. And the opponent Saturday is willing to help make sure things go smoothly.
More on that in a moment.
First, there has been rampant speculation that even after the University of Florida announced on Tuesday that the game would be played as scheduled Saturday in Gainesville, the game might be postponed again, or at least moved to another site, because of traffic and security concerns for everyone trying to attend.
Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin quickly shot that down via Twitter on Wednesday night, when a fan directly asked:
I’d suggest ignoring rumors. 👊🏼🐊🏈
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) September 13, 2017
Another of the big concerns is the amount of security and first responders that would be available on game day and inside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, when more than 70,000 people are expected to be in attendance for this heated SEC home opener.
In an ironic but neat twist, the University of Tennessee’s police force will actually come and help out with that part.
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) September 14, 2017
The fact that the Vols, their athletic department, and even their police force is willing to step up, shows the Brotherhood not only in law enforcement but also in Big Time college football. We have written this week about how the Florida state Miami game could not be played this weekend and has been postponed until October 7th, UCF home game with Georgia Tech schedule for Saturday in Orlando is cancelled and likely will not be made up.
And while USF is scheduled to host Illinois Friday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, there are not expected to be even 50,000 much less 70,000 people at that game. Thus, it’s not the same nightmare of people, traffic and potential problems, as what’s going to go on in Gainesville the next day.
Gators head coach Jim McElwain was definitely in a somber mood at his news conference Wednesday and set the tone for this week that the hurricane, its devastation throughout the state and those trying to help people rebuild their lives was more important than football.
But, obviously, by the time we get to Saturday everyone, especially in the northern part of the state, will rally around this matchup in hopes that the Gators football team can get back on their feet figuratively.
And that the rest of the state does soon, as well.