JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Suzy Bortles will be in her car most of Friday, making the trek from one son’s football practice to another son’s baseball game.
The bouncing back and forth between athletic events has been common for the Bortles clan. Now, the drives are longer.
The oldest, former University of Central Florida star Blake Bortles, is now a quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The youngest, Colby Bortles, is playing baseball at Ole Miss. Suzy Bortles planned on making a 10-and-a-half-hour drive from Jaguars’ Organized Team Activities to the Rebels’ NCAA Super Regional opener on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Louisiana. The game will air on ESPN2.
“It’s been our life for so long, I don’t know any different,” Suzy Bortles said during Jacksonville’s public workout on Thursday. “Last summer, when Blake was at UCF and Colby was at Ole Miss, that was the first summer we didn’t have anywhere to go. I had a tough time. It was a long summer. So now I kind of feel like, ‘OK, I’m back in the seat again. I can travel.’”
So much is different for the Bortles family and yet so much has stayed the same.
That familiar routine is starting show up on and off the field for Blake Bortles, who has completed two weeks of practices with his new team. After a rough workout earlier this week, Bortles responded with a solid showing on Thursday.
There were some incomplete passes, but his command in the huddle and his reads were on-point, earning the praise of Jaguars coach Gus Bradley.
“His poise out on the field today was excellent,” Bradley said Thursday. “He had a comfort level on the field. ... I think in his mind, and he should think this, today was a big step for him.”
Bortles said he is beginning to get a better grip not only on the Jacksonville offense, but on the more mundane aspects of his new life. He has a home picked out for the year, though he is staying in a short-term rental for another few weeks. He has a better understanding of the Jaguars’ schedule and he is getting to know his teammates.
All of those details had to be ironed out when Bortles first arrived in Jacksonville. And as the outside factors have started to become less of a distraction, his comfort level on the field grown as well.
“You get back in the rhythm, you get back in the locker room, you get back in the meetings,” Bortles said. “Into a routine, into a schedule, into an organized structure of things. It definitely gets back to, ‘OK, it’s just football.’ New people, make friends. New plays, learn them.”
While the Bortles family is getting adjusted to its routine, there was one major new development recently. An article was published that said Blake Bortles could learn a thing or two about being clutch from his little brother, Colby — not the other way around.
That brought a smile to the face of Blake Bortles, who watched from the Jacksonville trainers’ office on Monday when his brother hit a key home run to help send Ole Miss to the Super Regional round.
“He’s doing awesome,” Blake Bortles said. “I root for him just as hard, if not harder, than he roots for me. It’s unbelievable we’ve both had such success this year.”
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