Two weeks before they open the 2016 season, the Florida Gators named Luke Del Rio as their starting quarterback against Massachusetts on September 3.
The Gators announced Del Rio as their starter on Thursday, per Scott Carter of the program’s official website.
Del Rio and Austin Appleby were locked in a battle to determine who would be the Gators signal-caller when the season started.
Fellow Gators players did note some of the differences between Del Rio and Appleby as the competition was heating up. Left guard Martez Ivey offered his scouting report on the contrasting styles between the two quarterbacks, per SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi:
Luke is more comfortable in the offense right because he’s been here for a year. He knows how to run (the system) and knows how it goes. He’s more of a dropback passer.
Appleby is more of a scramble type, in my opinion, but he also can sit back in the pocket and throw the ball. He can do just as good as Luke, too. It’s a tough competition between those two.
Florida head coach Jim McElwain has been partial to traditional dropback quarterbacks dating back to his time at Colorado State with Garrett Grayson. The Gators had success last year with Will Grier, who threw for 1,202 yards and 10 touchdowns in six games before being suspended in October.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy did note the Gators have had a lot of problems keeping their starting quarterbacks in Gainesville, Florida, lately:
Del Rio is a well-traveled player. He is a redshirt sophomore who played at Alabama in 2013 and Oregon State in 2014 before he arrived in Florida last year.
The Gators enter the season ranked No. 25 in the Amway Coaches Poll coming off a 10-4 season. They return 12 starters from that team, but their quarterback situation after Grier was suspended let them down with Treon Harris struggling.
Del Rio will be given the first chance to prove he is the right man to lead Florida. A matchup against Massachusetts is the perfect way for him to get his feet wet before the SEC part of the schedule begins.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News