Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators will play in a revamped Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has had some cosmetic work done.

A 60-foot-wide (40-yard-line to 40-yard-line), 40-foot deep Gator head logo will now be displayed prominently on the field, moving the "F" from the 50-yard-line to one on each 25-yard line. The SEC logo will sit opposite the "F" letters.

The stadium also has a $5.6 million upgrade in the west concourse, designed to alleviate crowding and congestion that has long frustrated fans. The upgrade includes more than 40 places to purchase concessions, and concession stands that have been moved back 7 feet. All concession stands will have flat-screen TVs, the bathrooms have been completely renovated and brighter lights and a new sound system were installed. And for the old-school fan, some of the walls will be decorated with pictures illustrating Florida's championship seasons, and five of the greatest games played at the stadium.

'Yes, I do'

Saturday holds significance for Florida LB Darrin Kitchens because it most likely will mark the first start of his career, but the date pales in comparison to June 20.

That's when Kitchens married his high school sweetheart, Nathalie, whom he met at Homestead High when she was a senior and he was a freshman. The two began dating when he was a junior.

Now Kitchens, 20, is the only married player on the Gators' team.

Kitchens said he's fielded questions from teammates about married life, and for sure, it seems odd to some, but he said he has no regrets.

"It puts things in perspective," he said. "I've got something a little more to push for. I'm not just fighting for myself out there."

No ban, just focus

Coach Will Muschamp said this month he has no plans to ban Twitter and other social media, but several Gator players said they are putting a personal ban on themselves. Florida OL Xavier Nixon, above left, and Mike Gillislee said they are among a growing number of players who will cease or at least reduce usage of social media, including Twitter.

"There's been a lot of talk going on, but we feel like it's time to go to work," Gillislee said. "No Twitter at all, no social media. It's not everybody, but many of us feel like it's just time to get focused only on football."

 
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