One last hurrah for Appleby

No matter what happens from this point as long as he is healthy, the Outback Bowl will be the last start at the University of Florida for senior grad transfer quarterback Austin Appleby. Appleby arrived from Purdue in January and has already played against Iowa a couple of times, he finishes it if against the Hawkeyes with Jim McElwain’s blessing.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Jim McElwain told everyone earlier last week, that Austin Appleby deserves to start in the Outback Bowl and indeed he has been through some rough times and has played honorably and well at times. Appleby traveled to one bowl game at Purdue, but as never played in one.

“I guess it’s good,” Appleby said about McElwain’s approval of him as the starter. “You go through your process. You prepare to be a starter every single day. Nothing changes as the process goes. I think I played well. You’re having the most dependent position in all of sports. You’re the guy that gets all the glory when things go great and you’re the one that gets all the blame when things don’t go well. Right, wrong of indifferent, that’s football. And that’s how it goes. Obviously a vote of confidence from your head coach is great. I’m excited about the opportunity to play again with my brothers. Anytime you get an opportunity to play the game, it’s awesome. And I’m going to make the most of it.”

Pro Football Focus is a group that breaks down every big college game by play and rates every player they can find on film.  They came up with the conclusion that Appleby was the most accurate passer to face Alabama the entire year. That says something given the competition they faced and the hurdles Appleby had to cross to get to that game.

“I guess people that know the game and study the game and can give a real analysis can come out and say something like that, I guess it’s cool. I try to stay out of the media the best I can,” he said. “I know you guys do a great job, but I try not to read it.

“We know what goes on in this building. I get coached hard every single day. I know the things I do well, I know the things I need to work on. So does the rest of this team. The pass game is not a reflection of just me throwing the ball, but its protection, its receivers being where they need to be. The details of the pass game are so in-depth. At the end of the day, what most people see is the ball and where it goes. That’s the end result. And we’re working it every single day to smooth it out and get better, because we know what we’re capable of and we know what we need to do to perform at a high level. We’re going to keep pushing forward. We have another great challenge ahead of us.”

Appleby will bookend his playing time in college around the Hawkeyes.

“It’s awesome… it’s really cool,” he said. “The first game I actually played was against Iowa, so that’s kind of cool and neat in itself. First time, I’ll ever start against Iowa, but I played every year that we played against Iowa. Anytime you get an opportunity to play, especially in a game like this, just the Outback Bowl in general, it’s a big bowl game and we’re excited about it. I know I am.”

Appleby says the Gators understand what is ahead of them and should be ready for the January 2, game.

"It means a lot,” he said of the bowl. “We want to go out here and win and put our best effort forward. We've definitely been challenged. I was told and I've heard that wasn't the case last year. Guys were maybe looking ahead, thinking about the next level and maybe were trying to protect their bodies. We've been challenged. If you want to play and you want to go ahead and do this thing, let's go. Let's be all in and beat a great opponent. I don't think you go into a game wanting to lose or not wanting to give everything that we've got. And we've got the kind of guys in this locker room that truly want to give their best because of the guys next to them. In one practice, I've been really encouraged."

And after the game, he plans to make a go of it at the professional level.

"I'm hoping to keep playing.” He said. “I'm going to train, get ready for the opportunity to play at the next level and keep chasing the dream."

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