GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In a rare occurrence, Steve Spurrier wasn’t the biggest name at the University of Florida when he visited Wednesday.
Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio and a family friend, Oscar winner Gene Hackman, attended Florida’s practice to watch Jack’s son, Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio.
“I’m proud of my son like any dad,” Del Rio told SEC Country. “It’s a treat to be able to get out here and see him play.”
The redshirt sophomore, a former Alabama and Oregon State quarterback, is in his first year of eligibility at UF after transferring to the school in 2015 and sitting out last season due to NCAA rules. Del Rio said his son is in good hands with Gators coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
“He’s surrounded by great people and being coached by great guys,” Del Rio said. “I know his whole mindset is coming in to compete, be the best teammate he can be and work as hard as he can to help this football team win games. He’s happy to be here.”
“From my standpoint,” Del Rio’s father said, “the things I look for in a quarterback is a guy who’s smart, tough and accurate. He has those three things and he’s got leadership ability.
“Those are things I like as coach. I’m glad I have those in (Oakland quarterback) Derek Carr. But Luke is competing for the job and he’s having a lot of fun doing it.”
The Raiders coach came to Florida this week for the NFL owners’ meetings in Boca Raton. Del Rio, who turns 53 on April 4, will have an early birthday celebration this weekend with family.
But his first priority after wrapping up work was a trip to Gainesville.
“It’s always good to see him,” Luke Del Rio said of his father attending practice. “He’s seen me play a lot. It’s kind of switched roles, usually I watch him coach. But it’s kind of fun to let him watch me play because he’ll have some notes.”