Former Florida quarterback Austin Appleby, who played in nine games for the Gators back in 2016, joined “XL Primetime” on 1010XL radio in Jacksonville to discuss the Gators win over LSU.
“It was absolutely huge as far as turning a culture, turning a program, and really taking that step that was so desperately needed,” Appleby told 1010XL. “Here are a couple of reasons why. First, a sold-out Swamp and the energy in that place was unbelievable. The second part of it is, the buy-in that players are getting from Coach Mullen and his staff is also unbelievable.
“If the Mississippi State win was big, then this LSU win was huge. Just to continue to believe in what this staff is doing for this team. Just the energy they are bringing to this program and the belief that they can go in and win any game period.
“The confidence that they are going to pull from this one and move on to further weeks is going to be incredible, I’m so excited for this program.”
Appleby was teammates with current Gator quarterback Feleipe Franks in 2016 and he is seeing growth from Franks, as well as a coaching staff finding ways to accentuate his strengths.
“I think that this Feleipe Franks that we are seeing is, for him, a coaching staff that is doing a really good job in tapping into his potential,” Appleby said. “They’re not asking him to do anything that he can’t and they’re not asking him to even necessarily win games.
“They’re asking him to just manage the game and make the easy throws and the easy reads. This offense that they are running is totally different than what was ran in years prior.
“What I mean by that is (Jim) McElwain’s system was very pro-style and very quarterback driven, in a sense of not only what you have to do with the ball in your hand, but what you have to do pre-snap.
“It’s hard for a young guy, let alone a young guy where it really doesn’t fit him. His attributes are the physical, his arm, his running ability, his toughness. They have really taken the thought process more or less out of his hands and they have really just made the reads more defined for him.
“So now he can just focus on what he needs to do as far as playing pitch and catch with his receivers.”
Appleby says one thing above all stood out to him about Franks against LSU.
“His toughness,” Appleby said. “Coach (Dan) Mullen asks his quarterbacks to be willing runners, be a part of the run game, and stand in there and make championship level throws. What really impressed me is he stood in there when he had to and took some shots. He didn’t drop his eyes with the rush coming at him, or start scrambling, which has happened in years past. I didn’t see that Feleipe Franks. I didn’t see him flinch. He didn’t flinch and he helped lead the Gators to one of their biggest victories.”
Although the LSU win was a big one, Florida has Vanderbilt in Nashville this Saturday and Appleby says it’s time to look forward.
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