TAMPA, Fla. – Jack Del Rio thinks coaching an NFL team is easy. Playing middle linebacker wasn’t so bad. Only when compared, of course, to watching his son play football.
That involves a level of stress only a parent can understand, one he’ll experience in person Saturday afternoon when the University of Florida plays Georgia.
Watching his son Luke Del Rio play quarterback is a difficult proposition for the Raiders head coach.
“That’s harder than anything I do,” Jack Del Rio said with a laugh. “There’s no question about it. That’s the hardest thing I do. Coaching, playing, no problem, but watching your kid, that’s tough.”
He’s typically too far away to make that happen in person.
It’s a bit easier with the Raiders staying in Florida between games against Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, allowing Jack Del Rio to make a short trip to watch one huge game in an important place.
Florida plays Georgia on Saturday afternoon at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, a stadium where Luke grew to love football. Jack Del Rio was Jaguars head coach for nearly nine years, giving his young son access a boy could only dream about.
Luke Del Rio soaked up every minute.
“Growing up there for eight-and-a-half, nine years, being able to play with my dad and watch his team compete on that field is really special,” Luke Del Rio said, via the Miami Hearald. “We still have a game to win, but it will be fun to be back there.”
The Del Rio family already had a triumphant return to Jacksonville, when the Raiders whooped the Jaguars 33-16. The family wants to go 2-0 on Saturday, with Luke Del Rio starring in a Florida win. Jack Del Rio will have a rare chance to witness the game live.
“It will be pretty cool to get that opportunity to go back to the stadium that we just played in,” Jack Del Rio said. “This is the same field that he was by my side for nine years, throwing the ball in pregame warm-ups and things like that. It’ll be really awesome to go back and watch him play. He was on the sideline with me as a young man and now he’s grown into a guy who has a chance to lead a program like Florida in a stadium where we grew up watching Jaguars and Gators play. Very thrilled for him.”