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Florida Gators season preview news and notes

saturday Sept. 11 SepT. 18 sept. 25 Oct. 2 Oct. 9 Oct. 16 Oct. 30 Nov. 6 Nov. 13 Nov. 20 Nov. 27
Miami (Ohio) USF at Tennessee Kentucky at Alabama LSU Mississippi St. vs. Georgia at Vanderbilt South Carolina Appalachian St. at Florida State
Noon, ESPN 12:20 p.m., Ch. 38 3:30 p.m., Ch. 10 TBA TBA TBA TBA 3:30 p.m., Ch. 10 TBA TBA TBA TBA


Florida Gators | 2010 Preview

About the stadium

Capacity: 88,548Tickets: Remain available for the Sept. 4 Miami (Ohio) game and the Nov. 20 Appalachian State game. All other home games are sold out.

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. For information, call the Gator Boosters Office toll-free at 1-800-344-2867, ext. 5000. Beginning two hours before kickoff, no vehicular traffic will be allowed on Lemerand Drive between University Avenue and Stadium Road until after the game. For information on disabled, RV or visitor parking and a map for game days, go to gatorzone.com.

Basics

Coach: Urban Meyer (57-10 at Florida, 96-18 overall)

2009 record: 13-1, 8-0 SEC; won SEC East title; lost to Alabama in SEC Championship Game.

Conference/division: SEC/Eastern

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

National titles: 1996, 2006, 2008

Area players

Gary Beemer, Sr., DT, Newsome; Cole Gilliam, Fr., OL, Durant; Chaz Green, Fr., OT, Tampa Catholic; Jon Halapio, Fr., OT, St. Petersburg Catholic; Cody Hampton, So., LS, Boca Ciega; William Hiler, Fr., TE, Plant; A.J. Jones, Sr., LB, Middleton; Michael McFarland, Fr., TE, Blake; Leon Orr, Fr., NT, Gulf; Matt Patchan, So., OT, Armwood; Scott Peek, So., LB, Freedom; Ben Sams, Fr., RB, St. Petersburg

Position analysis

QUARTERBACK

John Brantley has much more experience than an average first-time starter. He completed 36 of 48 passes (75.0 percent) for 410 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Still, moving from little-used backup to lead man is a huge step. Freshman Trey Burton will see time at the wildcat position.

RUNNING BACKS

The Gators will have a solid backfield in Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody and Mike Gillislee, particularly if Moody can stay healthy. Demps has speed; Moody has power. Gillislee is inexperienced but vastly improved from his reserve role last season, coaches said. Florida's biggest concern might be establishing the short-yardage game — Tim Tebow's forte, especially in the red zone.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Arguably the greatest strength of this team entering preseason, the unit has been hit hard with injuries. Matt Patchan and Xavier Nixon will miss at least the opener, maybe more. Mike Pouncey, Maurice Hurt, Marcus Gilbert and Carl Johnson are all seniors with vast experience.

RECEIVERS

The Gators are in desperate need of a playmaker. Seniors Deonte Thompson and Carl Moore need to have breakout seasons. Freshman Andre Debose is finally healthy, and expectations are high. QB turned TE Jordan Reed is said to be making strides, and the Gators are hoping that moving Chris Rainey from running back to receiver will be beneficial.

LINEBACKERS

Jon Bostic should be the focal point at middle linebacker and has shown leadership as well as the talent to replace Brandon Spikes. Seniors A.J. Jones, Brandon Hicks and Lorenzo Edwards are battle tested and have national title rings to prove it. Converted DB Dee Finley is a talented sophomore but probably behind the others.

SECONDARY

Junior CB Janoris Jenkins will lead the unit, along with senior Ahmad Black. The biggest concern is the corner spot opposite Jenkins. That will go to either Moses Jenkins, who missed the second half of '09 with a concussion, or Jeremy Brown (bad back, missed the season).

SPECIAL TEAMS

Florida returns key members of its special teams unit that finished in the top 10 nationally in net punt returns (second, 41.0) and kickoff returns (fifth, 26.4), including K Caleb Sturgis and P Chas Henry. Speed in the return game will be key, including Demps and Rainey.

Florida Gators season preview news and notes 08/28/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 28, 2010 9:08pm]
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