Florida coaches and administrators met with travel officials Monday afternoon and came to the decision to move travel plans to Tuesday, a day ahead of their original departure date, according to FloridaGators.com writer Scott Carter.
The decision was made due to Tropical Storm Idalia’s untimely nature, which left the Gators football team to evaluate their options as they prepared for their Week 1 matchup against the No. 14 Utah Utes.
Now, the Gators will leave Tuesday and land in Dallas where they’ll spend the night before arriving in Salt Lake City Wednesday.
Florida initially planned to depart from the Gainesville Regional Airport Wednesday and stay in Salt Lake City for as little as possible, said UF head coach Billy Napier.
Florida did research on the effects of altitude exposure to prepare for its matchup against the Utes and were told by its training staff, sports scientists and NFL teams to stay on normal schedule.
“It really takes 10 days to get adjusted,” Napier said in a Friday press conference. “We feel good about our plan.”
Rice-Eccles Stadium, home of the Utes, is more than 4,600 feet above sea level and 4,400 feet higher than Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Utah hasn’t lost a game at its home stadium since Nov. 21, 2020, when it lost 33-17 to Southern California. The Utes have a 14-game win streak at home going into Thursday’s matchup.
Florida and Utah will face off at 8 p.m. Thursday and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Luke Adragna is a third-year journalism student and the Florida Gators football reporter at The Alligator. He is a cat ethusiast and completes the NYT Daily Mini in less than a minute each day.