Florida columnist on Appleby: He's never been anywhere like Neyland Stadium
Entering his first game as Florida’s starting quarterback this weekend on the road at Tennessee, former Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby made headlines this week when he said he would not be intimated by the Neyland Stadium crowd.
“I’ve been to Nebraska, I’ve been to Ohio State, I’ve been to Michigan State… All the stadiums are the same,” Appleby was quoted as saying.
During a guest spot on WJOX The Opening Drive Thursday morning, Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun proclaimed that is certainly not the case.
“No, they aren’t. He’s never been anywhere like (Neyland Stadium),” Dooley said on the air. “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.”
Dooley also noted that while Appleby does have plenty of experience, the quarterback who beat him out at Purdue continues to struggle. In Dooley’s mind, that indicates the problems with the Boilermakers have more to do with the program than the quarterbacks.
“The guy who beat out him and Danny Etling (LSU’s current quarterback), threw five picks in his last game,” Dooley said.
Purdue starting quarterback David Blough did indeed throw five interceptions in a 38-20 loss to Cincinnati last week.
Only time will tell if calling out the Tennessee crowd prior to the game will pay off for Appleby but it’s not hard to imagine the first-time Florida starter might have been better off reserving judgement on SEC crowds before actually hitting the road for the first time as a Gator.