Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators draw inspiration from past Gator greats Danny Wuerffel, Emmitt Smith

GAINESVILLE — Florida's pregame and postgame messages over the weekend were delivered by some pretty impressive former Gators.

Former quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel spoke to the team on Friday night at its hotel, delivering a powerful message as he recovers from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder.

"What an amazing man he is," coach Will Muschamp said. "He's a lot better person than he was a football player."

In the postgame locker room, the Gators heard from former All-America RB Emmitt Smith.

"When you have a guy like that that's played and had the success that he's had, when he talks, people listen," Muschamp said. "They will listen to his message. And his message was simple: 'You guys have got a good football team. You play with a tremendous passion and energy. You play with enthusiasm. You play together. You play as a team.'

"And all the things you talk to your team about, he reiterates when he stands up and talks to them. It was a great message."

Smith was in Gainesville on Saturday to promote his new book, Game On: Find Your Purpose Pursue Your Dream. He had a two-hour signing at the University Book Store, then was recognized on the field before the game.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer was among the Gators' biggest cheerleaders from the sideline during the game and later spent time reminiscing with Florida offensive line coach Frank Verducci, who was the offensive line coach at Dallas the season Smith broke the NFL career rushing record.

RECORD DAY: RB Chris Rainey put himself in the Florida record book. His blocked punt early in the second quarter was the fifth of his career, setting a school record. The Lakeland native was tied with Tim Paulk (1987-91), Sam McCorkle (1992-95) and Carlos Dunlap (2007-09).

STURGIS, GOOD: Florida K Caleb Sturgis admits he's a little torn about his current streak.

On the one hand, it means the Gators aren't scoring touchdowns in the red zone. On the other, it means his team has confidence in him — and he's coming through.

Sturgis connected on a career-high four field goals Saturday and is 9-for-9 on the season.

"I'm happy to be back playing again and happy that I'm helping the team," said Sturgis, who missed the final nine games of last season with a back injury. "I'm always cheering for the offense to score, but I'm glad to help the team out if I'm needed."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com. Follow her coverage at gators.tampabay.com.

Florida Gators draw inspiration from past Gator greats Danny Wuerffel, Emmitt Smith 09/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 17, 2011 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: The bats have disappeared

    Blogs

     

    Center fielder Mallex Smith reacts after striking out swinging in the seventh inning.
  2. Bryan Harper's path to the majors, where his brother is a star, has been bumpy

    The Heater

    He has thrown 215 professional innings over 168 minor-league outings, and at various points the kid from Las Vegas has called Viera and Hagerstown, Md., and Harrisburg, Pa. and Syracuse, N.Y., and even Arlington, Va. home. During that summer he lived in the D.C. suburbs, he would rise some mornings with his brother in …

  3. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  5. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.