Florida's Del Rio: 'I didn't come back to be a strict mentor or a coach'

Photo of Florida's Del Rio: 'I didn't come back to be a strict mentor or a coach'

Luke Del Rio isn't coming back to Florida to play mentor. He's coming back to be the man.

The redshirt junior may be heavily involved in a quarterback battle for the Gators that includes graduate transfer Malik Zaire and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, but he made it crystal clear Friday his intention is to win the job, not to accept a position on the sidelines, according to Jordan McPherson of SEC Country.

"I didn’t come back to be a strict mentor or a coach," Del Rio said Friday on the one-year anniversary of being named Florida’s starter for 2016. "I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t want to play, so I’m focusing on competing."

Del Rio suffered a litany of injuries last season that included an MCL sprain suffered against North Texas and surgeries on each of his shoulders this offseason. Fans often criticized Del Rio for his passing ability last year, and the quarterback wasn't shy in offering his perspective on the naysayers.

"I found it pretty ridiculous that fans are saying I had a noodle arm when I was throwing the ball 80 yards in the first game," Del Rio said. "So, they have the memory of a goldfish I guess. I’ve never had like a ridiculous arm, like Feleipe has a ridiculous arm. But I’ve always had a pretty adequate arm. I’ve been able to make every throw on time. It’s the first time in my life I’ve heard 'you don’t have a strong arm.' So, whatever."

If the name atop the depth chart doesn't read Luke Del Rio, the pivot will still do what he can to support his teammates.

"If I’m not starting I’ll do what I can to get them ready," he said.

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