Welcome to a new feature on the Gator Bytes blog.
Each weekend, we will look back and rank the three biggest stories from that week. Here’s the first edition of the “Weekly Three” …
1. Appleby transferred to UF to “earn this starting job”: Although Luke Del Rio is the early front-runner to be the Gators’ starting quarterback this upcoming season, don’t count out Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby. Appleby met with the media Wednesday for the first time since transferring to Florida in January. He made it clear that he wants to be the Gators’ starting quarterback this year. “I didn’t come here to not play,” Appleby said. “I came here to compete and earn this starting job.”
2. Three-headed running back competition: This is one of those position battles to keep an eye on. Sophomores Jordan Cronkrite and Jordan Scarlett and JUCO transfer Mark Thompson are competing to be Florida’s starting running back. Each back brings something different to the table, but Cronkrite has received most of the first-team reps this spring, with Scarlett bothered by a leg injury for part of camp and Thompson still playing catch-up as the newcomer. It’s likely all three will get some playing time this season, though. “I’ve kind of always been a guy who believes that you need to have multiple guys in the backfield,” coach Jim McElwain said. “A running back only has so many hits in him and to me, it’s important that you have some depth and not one guy is carrying it 45 times.”
3. Jim McElwain has “come a ways”: Jim McElwain is now a $4 million man after receiving a $750,000 annual raise last week. It bumped up his annual compensation from $3.5 million per year to $4.25 million per year. That’s a lot more than McElwain made in his first coaching job in 1987 at Eastern Washington. “$4,723 a year. Still have the contract,” McElwain said Monday. “Coached quarterbacks and receivers, taught classes, tended a bar, worked at J.C. Penny’s. So I’ve come a ways.”