Florida coach Jim McElwain said Monday during his weekly news conference that quarterback Luke Del Rio is expected to start against Missouri this weekend after missing the last two games with a knee injury and would have gotten the nod had the Gators played LSU last Saturday.

Austin Appleby, who has started the last two games in his absence, has apparently not been told that Del Rio will return under center as the first option and told 247Sports that he is still “preparing to be the starter this week.”

“Until someone tells me otherwise, I’m preparing to be the starter this week,” Appleby said. “Whether I am or not, it doesn’t change the preparation. You prepare to be the starter. You prepare to play. My Monday is the same is the same as it was the week before, as it was the week before as it was the week before that. You prepare to play, you prepare to help this team win.”

Appleby is 42-for-67 (62.7 percent) with 440 yards, three touchdowns and an interception since taking over, but Florida has scored just 20 points over the last six quarters since taking a commanding 21-3 lead in the 38-28 loss to Tennessee.

Del Rio holds the statistical advantage, having thrown for 1.02 more yards per attempt with a passer efficiency rating 13.5 points higher than his counterpart.

“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready to go on Saturday,” Appleby said. “You don’t count your reps, but you make your reps count. I’m hoping the rep count as far as practice goes, is to where whatever guy plays, they get enough reps with the first team so we can be ready to go whichever direction they decide to go. I’m confident in my ability to lead this team if my number is called. I haven’t heard anything else.”

Florida will kick off against Missouri this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.