Like most Gator fans, former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel is frustrated with how the offense has performed in year three under Jim McElwain.
But Wuerffel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1996 under former coach Steve Spurrier’s high-powered offense, said that fan angst should have its limits. McElwain said Monday that he and his players have received death threats, though UF’s athletic department released a statement later that day saying that the Gators coach has yet to substantiate those claims.
Florida is 3-3 and has lost two straight heading into its showdown with No. 3 Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville.
“You’ve got to appreciate that your average fan that wants to see you do well and win is frustrated,” Wuerffel said. “But we’ve all got to remember that this is football and in the scheme of things that are most important in life, let’s keep it in perspective …
“That to me is getting way out of hand. That’s not what we’re about and I think the majority of Gators are definitely disappointed, but have a good grounded perspective. In any situation in life, the people that are on the fringes or say the most ridiculous things get all the press. I’d rather focus on all the good Gators out there that love their Gators, but are just a little disappointed.”
Asked if he received any threats during his playing career, Wuerffel responded: “There were different letters I remember getting where people had unpleasant things to say. But you know, it was snail mail and nothing happening in real time. It was very, very different.”
Wuerffel is hosting his seventh annual Desire Cup Event at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra on Thursday and Friday. The event will raise funds for Desire Street Ministries, a faith-based organization working side-by-side with neighbors to help provide services and solutions to poverty-stricken communities.
Last April, Wuerffel was prophetic in saying the Gators shouldn’t count out redshirt junior quarterback Luke Del Rio in UF’s starting quarterback competition. Del Rio ended up winning the starting job by leading Florida to a comeback win over Kentucky, but suffered a season-ending injury the following week when he broke his collarbone against Vanderbilt.
“I was really sad to see Luke get hurt, he’s been through so much,” Wuerffel said. “I think he did bring a spark briefly there when he was in there.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks will make his sixth career start for the Gators against Georgia. Franks is 2-3 as a starter and has struggled at times spotting open receivers.
“Feleipe is obviously incredibly physically talented as a young quarterback,” Wuerffel said. “It’s hard to kind of overestimate how difficult it is as a young person at that level, particular with the speed of the game around you, I think with each and every snap and with each game, the phrase a lot of people use, the game slows down a bit, you begin to be able to process information quicker because you are seeing things just moving more in slow motion than too fast for you.”
Wuerffel said the ability to see the field and process information as a quarterback can be developed over time.
“I remember my first high school play, I don’t even remember what happened,” Wuerffel said. “I said hut and the play was over, and then each time you move to a new level, going to college and the NFL you kind of have that experience, but over time you begin to see what’s happening, and you can anticipate what’s going to happen and then you’re going to anticipate what you can anticipate.”
Wuerffel said this year’s Desire Cup golf tournament will be played on the Stadium Course at Sawgrass. Spurrier will be on hand for all the festivities, as will former Gator and current PGA golfer Billy Horschel.
More information about the Desire Cup and Desire Street Ministries can be found at www.desirestreet.org.
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway’s blog at Gatorsports.com.