But this will be different.
“In golf, I know what I’m doing,” Biondi said. “This is going to be like an out-of-body experience.”
This will be Biondi’s turn as honorary “Mr. Two Bits” Saturday night for the 2023 Florida football team’s home football opener against McNeese at Spurrier/Florida Field. Biondi grew up in Brazil before moving to the Sunshine State at the age of 14, so the tradition made famous by the late George Edmondson was not part of his upbringing. Neither were the Gators, actually. In fact, Biondi recalls his father, Fernando, had a hat with the UF logo “F” on it. Young Fred just assumed the “F” was for “Fernando.”
But after five years on campus, a slew of All-America and All-Southeastern Conference honors, a finance degree and enough championship hardware to stuff a trophy case, Biondi is a Gator through and through. Now he has to come through in the clutch for his football team.
The role will require some YouTube crash-coursing, with plenty of celebrity “Two Bits” options – Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Cris Collinsworth, Dara Torres and many, many more – on the web to surf and scout. Biondi will be just the third golfer to do the pre-game celebrity honor (joining Chris DiMarco and Billy Horschel), which this year will mark the 10th anniversary since former tailback Errict Rhett was the first to don Edmondson’s trademark yellow shirt, khaki pants and cardboard signs and lead the crowd through the iconic chant.
“When I got to Florida and saw who was doing it, I was like, ‘What is that?’ ” Biondi said.
He knows now.
He better know really well.
Biondi definitely knows about being a Gator. What the fifth-year senior did – alongside Ricky Castillo, Yuxin Lin, John DuBois and Matthew Kress – in taking Gator Nation on the golf version of a week-long thrill ride last May, first coming from four strokes down on the final day of stroke play to win the NCAA indy crown, then joining forces with his steely-eyed teammates in the program’s first…