Florida seemed to enter this season set up at the quarterback position for the first time in a long time. Jim McElwain announced Luke Del Rio as the starter during fall camp. Last year, we all heard many reports saying that Del Rio was the best QB on the team and would have beat out Will Grier had he been eligible. Unfortunately, it took only a few weeks before fans realized Del Rio was not going to be the savior of Florida football.
Del Rio suffered an injury in the third quarter of the North Texas game, but before he got hurt he went 14-25 for 186 yards with an interception. Florida’s offense, led by Del Rio, was unable to even score enough to allow Florida to play their back ups.
(Florida led 19-0 at the time of the injury).
For a point of reference: Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky, and UTEP all scored 45 or more points against the Mean Green. Florida fans prayed for Del Rio when learning he was hurt, and threw their support to the graduate transfer, Austin Appleby. For one half in Knoxville, fans appeared to be rewarded, but then it all fell apart.
Florida’s second half play calling against Tennessee was clearly a sign that the Gators got comfortable and eased their foot off the gas. Since the first half of the Tennessee game, the Florida offense has not looked alive; the offense has been hiding.
Just look at Florida’s offensive rankings:
Rank 115/128 in Total Offense
Rank 84/128 in Passing Offense
Rank 89/128 in Passing Efficiency
Though this wasn’t completely Luke Del Rio’s fault, as Austin Appleby also played during a large portion of the season, Appleby wasn’t supposed to be our savior. Appleby didn’t outperform Grier last season. For goodness sake, he lost his starting job at Purdue!
Here’s Luke Del Rio’s, (hopefully), final stat line at Florida:
57 % completion percentage
With this background, I would like to address the recent tweet made by Luke Del Rio, which has since been deleted, and appeared to call out Florida fans for their criticism of the team. His tweet stated:
Luke-It seems you don’t know what it means to be a true fan. Fan is short for fanatic, which is defined as a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal.”
It appears that you don’t know where UF’s fans came from, don’t know our story, or just don’t care. I’ll bet you never spent the last little bit of your paycheck to attend a game and sit in the very last row of the stadium, only to be disappointed to see your heroes flounder.
To call out a fan base for being “fair weathered fans” is reprehensible from a man who left two different universities because he didn’t have the opportunity to play. The only honorable thing you did in those situations was walk on and not use up a scholarship.
You had the benefit of being an NFL coach’s son. In fact, you were lucky enough to be the kid out there on the field before games, throwing the football with and learning, first-hand, from legends. I’m not trying to blame/shame you for the privilege you knew while growing up, but what a waste it seemed to be! Maybe you should grow up, stop acting entitled, get off Twitter for a while and try to understand and reverse the issues behind the failures of every quarterback at Florida since Tim Tebow.
Many Florida fans feel they have been duped, and in hindsight, if we had just looked closely at the writing on the wall, we might have seen this coming.
It’s true-we are FANatics for Florida athletics!
The way I see things, it will never be OK for an athlete, on any level, to complain about fans expressing their opinions. As long as we’re willing to spend our hard-earned money, and our valuable time, supporting and cheering on OUR team, we should also be afforded the right to let our team know how we feel when things aren’t going well, and athletes should be grateful that we even care!
(All statistics in this article came from NCAA.com)