Graduate quarterback Austin Appleby will make his first start as a Florida Gator on Saturday at Tennessee. As such, the former Purdue quarterback got some time at the microphone on Monday to discuss the upcoming rivalry game, which was picked as the SEC on CBS Game of the Week for Week 4.
For many fans, it was a chance to get to know Appleby better ahead of Saturday’s huge SEC East matchup. Luke Del Rio has been the entrenched starter for a few weeks now, and until his injury against North Texas, there wasn’t a high demand for Appleby’s backstory.
After Monday’s media availability, here are three big things we learned:
1. Austin Appleby was a Tim Tebow fan growing up. There is no faster way to win the hearts of Florida fans than to invoke the name of the two-time national champion and Heisman Trophy winner. It might make some of you feel old, but Appleby said he had a No. 15 Gators jersey as a kid.
Austin Appleby said he grew up a huge Gator fan. Loved Tim Tebow. Had a No. 15 jersey as a kid.
— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) September 19, 2016
2. His experience at Purdue has Appleby unphased by Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium. The first rule for any new Florida football player is to quickly educate himself on the important rivalries. Tennessee fans are foaming at the mouth in hopes of seeing the Vols snap their losing streak to the rival Gators and Appleby just tossed raw meat to the wolves with this dismissive quote about the environment in Neyland.
“I’ve been to Nebraska. I’ve been to Ohio State. I’ve been to Michigan State,” Appleby reportedly said. “All the stadium’s are the same.”
3. Appleby might have thrown some shade at his old coaches. Austin Appleby wanted to compliment Jim McElwain’s support of Florida players. The quote got interpreted as Appleby throwing shade at the Purdue coaches. You judge for yourself.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Florida’s new starting QB is a big Tebow fan, and he’s not scared of Neyland