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Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio’s start highlights schedule

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It’s the quarterback’s day. Nothing can change that.

Today is all about Luke Del Rio, the new passer of the Florida Gators. He’s the guy who really counts.

Oh, Mark Richt matters. He’s the new coach for the   UM Hurricanes. And Scott Frost matters. He’s the new guy at Central Florida. Marlon Mack matters for USF.

But, really, it’s  Luke Del Rio’s day.

They love their quarterbacks at Florida. That’s why three of them – Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow – are represented as statues outside Florida Field. So you can talk about the players who are suspended (Jalen Tabor) and the players who aren’t (Antonio Callaway), you can talk of Spurrier doing two-bits, you can talk about the layup opponents.

But really, today is all about Del Rio. Will he look sharp? Will he hit Callaway deep? Will he look as good as Will Grier looked last year?

Florida ended last season on a slump, remember, behind Treon Harris. The hopes are that Del Rio, who has journeyed far to find his home, hopes to make that all a memory. After all, the running game is going to be pretty good. The receivers will be okay. But Del Rio has a chance to turn the Gators from good to very good.

Florida doesn’t face much in the way of competition with Umass.

That will be true throughout the state. Miami plays against FAMU. USF plays Towson State. UCF plays South Carolina State. FAU plays Southern Illinois.

If you’re wondering which state team might play a good opponent, well, FSU plays against Ole Miss Monday night in Orlando.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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