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Florida Gators 2009 preview

FLORIDA GATORS 2009 PREVIEW

Monday: Antonya English's SEC preview at blogs.tampabay.com/gators

About the stadium | Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field

Capacity: 88,548

Tickets: All home games are sold out. For the first time, ticket barcodes will be scanned, a technology aimed at discouraging counterfeiting and allowing fans the flexibility of forwarding their tickets via e-mail to family or friends if they cannot attend a game.

Parking: Public lots are limited around the stadium. All lots that are not reserved are available first-come, first-served. Parking on the grass and sidewalks is not permitted, and any vehicles found there can be towed. The reserved parking on campus is a privilege for certain levels of booster club members. For information, call the Gator Boosters Office toll-free at 1-800-344-2867, ext. 5000.

To tighten security around the stadium, beginning two hours before kickoff, no vehicular traffic will be allowed on Lemerand Drive between University Avenue and Stadium Road. The closure will remain in effect until the end of the game.

For information on disabled, RV or visitor parking and a map for game days, go to gatorzone.com.



Saturday Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Oct. 10 Oct. 17 Oct. 24 Oct. 31 Nov. 7 Nov. 14 Nov. 21 NOV. 28
Charleston Southern Troy Tennessee Kentucky LSU Arkansas Mississippi State vs. Georgia (Jacksonville) Vanderbilt South Carolina Florida International Florida State
7 p.m. 12:21 p.m. 3:30 p.m. TBA TBA TBA TBA 3:30 p.m. TBA TBA TBA TBA


2009 SCHEDULE

Home

Away

Basics

Coach: Urban Meyer (44-9 at Florida, 83-17 overall)

2008 record: 13-1, 7-1 SEC; won BCS championship

Conference/division: SEC/Eastern

Conference titles: 1991, 1993-96, 2000, 2006, 2008

National titles: 1996, 2006, 2008

Radio: 620-AM

Web site: gatorzone.com

Area players

• Jim Barrie, Jr., OL, Berkeley Prep *

• Gary Beemer, Jr., OL, Newsome

• Steven Bennett, So., DB, Tarpon Springs

• Riley Cooper, Sr., WR, Clearwater Central Catholic

• Jon Halapio, Fr., OL, St. Petersburg Catholic

• Cody Hampton, Fr., LS, Boca Ciega

• Corey Henderson, So., DB, Lakewood

• A.J. Jones, Jr., LB, Middleton

• Matt Patchan, So., OL, Armwood

• Scott Peek, Fr., LB, Freedom

* Will no longer play due to knee injury

Position analysis

QUARTERBACK

2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow is back for his final season but without offensive coordinator Dan Mullen (now coaching Mississippi State). Under new QB coach Scot Loeffler, Tebow has worked on his mechanics, but don't expect any major changes. Backup John Brantley made strides in the spring.

RUNNING BACKS

There is no way to replace Percy Harvin, but the position isn't depleted. Expect Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, left, and Emmanuel Moody to take over. And Brandon James will see time.

OFFENSIVE LINE

One of the most hotly contested positions entering the season. The Pouncey twins (Maurkice and Mike) are a lock with Carl Johnson and, most likely, Marcus Gilbert. But defensive line convert Matt Patchan and James Wilson are battling at guard. And center Sam Robey is vying for playing time.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Urban Meyer said he has settled on Riley Cooper, below, Deonte Thompson, David Nelson and Brandon James as starters. Andre Debose has been hampered by a hamstring injury. Frankie Hammond and T.J. Lawrence are making strides. Tight end Aaron Hernandez had 11.2 yards per catch in 2008 and spent the spring improving his blocking.

DEFENSIVE LINE

BCS title game MVP Carlos Dunlap is back. Lawrence Marsh, Justin Trattou, Terron Sanders and Jermaine Cunningham are starters who've improved since January.

LINEBACKERS

First-team All-American Brandon Spikes led the team in tackles. Ryan Stamper can play all three positions. Lorenzo Edwards continues to improve. Dustin Doe will eventually return from suspension, and Urban Meyer called Tampa native A.J. Jones the "most improved" in fall practice.

SECONDARY

Led by Joe Haden, Ahmad Black, Major Wright and Will Hill, it's a strength. But the six-week loss of Dorian Munroe hurts.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The kicking battle between Caleb Sturgis and Jonathan Phillips has been intense. Urban Meyer said Phillips wins if it's close, but both will play. Brandon James remains a return specialist, but Joe Haden, Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey and Janoris Jenkins might return punts.

Florida Gators 2009 preview 08/29/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:04pm]

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