Florida Gators QB Austin Appleby has been to intimidating road environments before, but one columnist thinks the quarterback isn’t taking the atmosphere at Neyland Stadium as seriously as he should.
Appleby told the media on Monday that he isn’t worried about his first road start at Florida. As a former starter at Purdue, he faced some tough environments in Big Ten play. He went so far as to say that, in the end, “All the stadiums are the same.”
Appleby on road experience: "I've been to Nebraska. I've been to Ohio State. I've been to Michigan State…. All the stadium's are the same"
— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) September 19, 2016
The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley took exception to that remark during an appearance on WJOX on Thursday morning.
“No, they aren’t (the same). He’s never been anywhere like (Neyland Stadium),” Dooley said. “I think standing on the field, it’s the most intimating stadium in all of college football because it feels like the bleachers go up forever like they never are going to end. They touch God up there. I’ve been on that field, it’s an amazing place.”
It is worth noting that Appleby didn’t actually play in Purdue’s road games at Ohio State in 2012 and at Michigan State in 2013. At Nebraska in 2014, he completed 18 of 46 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
His coach, Jim McElwain, is a little more realistic about what the environment in Knoxville will be like on Saturday. However, the coach said he’s happy the atmosphere will be so tough, saying, “This is why you do it.”
McElwain: "This is fun. You get a chance to go on the road, 100,000 people booing ya. … This is why you do it." #Gators
— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) September 21, 2016