Gator Nation looks for new leader

Florida head coach Jim McElwain looks over plays during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game between Alabama and Florida, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Atlanta.(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The University of Florida is hoping a new face will bring new luck to its struggling football team.

The school is searching for a new head football coach after it was announced they’re “parting ways” with Jim McElwain.

Patricia Martillotta, a football fan, tells News Channel 8 she agrees it’s for a change. “It is UF,” she said, “And everybody expects everything and they did not get it so there you go.”

Randy Shannon, the team’s current defensive coordinator will fill the spot temporarily.

Chris Brondon, another football fan, felt McElwain did not utilize the players properly.

“We got plenty of talent down here,” Brondon said. “You got to play it the right way.”

With a 3-4 record, the Gators sit behind Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky in the SEC East.

McElwain has an overall record of 22- 12 in his less than three seasons with Florida. He led the Gators to two SEC Championship games.

“I am disappointed to see Coach Mac go. He was a pretty decent coach. It is unfortunate to see him go,” another fan, Alex Prastitis said.

But the Gators lost both games to Alabama, and McElwain was never able to build a successful offensive unit in Gainesville.

“I guess they need an offensive mind coach to get them on the right track,” said another fan Taywon Harrold. “But, of course, you still have to play defense though because without defense you still cannot win games.”

Scott Stricklin, UF’s athletic director said he is searching for the right coach.

“Beyond somebody that you want to work with, that is a good guy, that you want representing your program, I do not want anything beyond that,” Stricklin said at a press conference on Sunday night.

In a perfect world, Stricklin said the team would have a new leader by the end of December because the early signing period for recruits begins on December 20, but the athletic director said he won’t rush the process.

“I want to do a good job and I want us to have a good football program and I want to do everything I can to bring the right leader in here that Gator Nation can get behind,” said Stricklin.

The Florida Gators will play their first game under interim head coach Randy Shannon at Missouri on Saturday.

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