"I came here to compete and earn this starting job," said Appleby on Wednesday after practice. "The way I do that is just be me. If I take care of the things I need to take care of, control what I can control, I believe everything will take care of itself."
Appleby took care of business before coming to Gainesville. The quarterback transferred to UF after completing his degree from Purdue.
"It’s been a wild winter to get to this point," he said. "It was a great four years and it was just time for something new, and there was mutual interest coming from the University of Florida and myself. There’s an unbelievable opportunity here.
"There’s an opportunity to come in here and compete to be the guy," he added. "That’s an opportunity that’s hard to pass up, and I’m excited to be here.”
An opportunity he doesn't want to squander. Appleby understands there is real competition at the quarterback position this year, "it’s a really tight room with a lot of really, really good guys in there," said Appleby. "Very, very supportive from freshmen to me. It’s a very special room. There’s not many rooms like it...The entire room has been great and I’m very blessed to be a part of it.”
The fifth-year signal caller is also happy to be part of Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier's offense; an offense he believes will showcase his talent and skill.
“Coach Mac and Coach Nuss are just unbelievable teachers. The way that they teach the game and the offense itself fits me very well," said Appleby. "It’s the same offense I played under Coach (John) Shoop at Purdue. He was an NFL OC and there’s a lot of similar concepts. It’s just learning the Florida way, learning it the way Coach Mac and Coach Nuss are teaching it. They might be the same plays but the leads are a little different...It’s just the learning process and the more reps you get, the better and better you get."
In his short time at The Swamp, Appleby has seen the game slowed down a bit.
"Every single day that we’re out here, I’m becoming more and more familiar," he said. The balls are coming a little bit easier for me to spit out and when it comes down, all you have to do is play. You can’t think, instead just react, and that’s what we’re working on.”
Appleby's journey to Gainesville took a slight detour to Indiana, however, he does not regret that decision. On the contrary, he will use those four years to help him become a better quarterback and person at Florida.
"I take everything that happened over the last four years as a learning process to get to where I am now," he said. "The good things I took, those things have prepared me along the way to handle life as a quarterback, not only in this league, but at the next level.
"It’s a learning process. I’ve got an opportunity to go through the fire and to experience a lot of things, good and bad, that not many quarterbacks get to go through. I think that experience is going to serve me well in year 5 and it’s going to help the Gators.”
Unlike the other signal callers on the depth chart, Appleby has plenty of college game experience playing in front of some big crowds in the Big Ten.
“I started in the Big 10 for the last two years. Even with the number of practice reps you get, still once you’re out there and it’s live and you’re in front of 100,000, there’s no pretending," said Appleby. "I think the only way you can gain that experience is by being out there. So it’s not new to me. I understand what it takes to prepare;I understand what it is to be under the lights; I understand what it is to stand in there."
At the end of the day, Appleby came to Florida to compete, to compete for a National Championship.
“This team is expecting to win a championship. Championships," stated Appleby. "That’s reflected in the weight room, that’s reflected out here each and every day. And that really gets me going, that’s awesome. And that’s something I’m really, really excited to be a part of and I’m happy to be here.”