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This time, Florida Gators play the respect card

Florida’s Brandon James calls Oklahoma “a real good team’’ and says the Gators have plenty of respect for the Sooners.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Florida’s Brandon James calls Oklahoma “a real good team’’ and says the Gators have plenty of respect for the Sooners.

BOCA RATON — Two years ago, coach Urban Meyer provided his Gators with a psychological edge by convincing them that nobody believed they had a chance in their national championship game against then-No. 1 Ohio State.

Now it's Oklahoma taking on the underdog role. The Sooners have complained all week that though they are No. 1 in the BCS poll and have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, they aren't getting due respect. It seems coach Bob Stoops has taken a page from Meyer's book.

"I get that feeling and I don't like that," Meyer said. "I don't believe that (they are disrespected). We played the loss of respect, no respect card two years ago and it worked. I'm not sure which direction we're going to head here."

The UF players said it's a misconception they aren't concerned about OU.

"We feel like they are a good team and we respect them, so I don't know where that's coming from," junior return specialist Brandon James said. "They have put up 60-some points a game and shutting other teams down. So they are a real good team."

The Gators completed their final full practice Tuesday.

"I can't ask our players for anything more than they've done," Meyer said.

LOEFFLER OFFICiAL: Former Michigan and Detroit Lions quarterback coach Scot Loeffler has been named Gators QB coach, Meyer announced. Loeffler will begin on Friday.

A Michigan quarterback from 1993-96, Loeffler was instrumental in working with former Michigan QB Chad Henne, the school's all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts. He also worked with Tom Brady and Brian Griese.

Loeffler spent six seasons as Wolverines quarterback coach, before spending last season in the same position with the Lions. He has a relationship with QB Tim Tebow, recruiting him out of high school.

RETURNING THE FAVOR: Basketball coach Billy Donovan is flying to Miami on Thursday to attend the national championship game. Meyer was at both games when Donovan's teams won back-to-back national titles, and Donovan said he feels it's important to support Meyer. This will be Donovan's first football title game. He missed the win over Ohio State two years ago because the Gators had a basketball game the next day.

Donovan developed a friendly relationship with Stoops when Stoops was an assistant at Florida, but says he's "not torn at all'' in rooting for UF.

"I love Bob,'' Donovan said. "When he was here he was great to me. I get a chance to see him every once in a while in the summer and we keep in contact. But, I'm a Gator. I'm happy for Bob. … He's done a special job. … I'm not rooting against Bob Stoops. I'm rooting for Florida."

TICKETS: The Orlando Sentinel said that a survey of online brokers shows that tickets in the farthest corner of the upper deck at Dolphin Stadium, going for as low as $450 a week ago, are now $550.

This time, Florida Gators play the respect card 01/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 11:10pm]

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