Saturday will be the first start at Florida for quarterback Austin Appleby, but far from his first experience under center in college football.
The graduate transfer from Purdue started 12 games for the Boilermakers, including a handful of contests on the road in the Big 10. Appleby, who started a game on the road at Nebraska, and was on the bench for games at Ohio State and Michigan State, said this to reporters on Monday:
Appleby on road experience: "I've been to Nebraska. I've been to Ohio State. I've been to Michigan State…. All the stadium's are the same"
— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) September 19, 2016
Tennessee fans are obviously planning a rude awakening for the new Florida starter, who will get the nod for Luke Del Rio for at least this week and possibly more after Del Rio went down with an injury against North Texas.
Applby’s somewhat cavalier attitude towards Neyland Stadium comes just a few days after former Oklahoma center Ty Darlington wrote a glowing review about his trip to Knoxville as a member of the Sooners in 2015.
“I was never a big believer in homefield advantage,” Darlington wrote in his personal blog. “I scoffed at the notion that a fan could actually have an impact on a football game. You have a hostile crowd? Good. I feed off of hostile crowds, and I embrace it when fans ridicule me. You think you’re loud? Whatever. We use a silent count anyways, and noise is only a factor on three to four plays a game. Your homefield advantage is incredibly overrated. Bring it on. You’re wasting your breath.
“And then I ran out of the tunnel in Knoxville, Tennessee, FOR WARMUP and was greeted by thousands of screaming fans and the chorus of “Rocky Top.” The game wasn’t set to start for over an hour, and these people seemed to think it was kickoff time. I exited the tunnel for the pregame warm-up, and those psychotic students were already there, giving us a small preview of what to expect in the hours to come. What had we gotten ourselves into?”
That might be what Appleby is asking too Saturday afternoon, but the Vols have to get over a major losing streak to make it an unpleasant experience for him.