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UF football preview

Tuning in?

Coach: Urban Meyer, below

Assistants: Steve Addazio (assistant head coach offense/defensive line), Vance Bedford (cornerbacks), Kenny Carter (running backs), Billy Gonzales (recruiting coordinator/wide receivers), Chuck Heater (assistant defensive coordinator/safeties), John Hevesy (tight ends/assistant offensive line), Dan McCarney (assistant head coach/defense/defensive line), Dan Mullen (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks); Charlie Strong (defensive coordinator/associate head coach/linebackers)

Conference/division: SEC East

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

National titles: 1996, 2006.

Radio: Brooksville — 1450-AM; Crystal River — 95.3-FM; Dade City — 1350-AM; Tampa — 620-AM; Zephyrhills — 1400-AM

Web site: gatorzone.com

2008 schedule

SaturdayHawaii 12:30

Sept. 6 Miami 8

Sept. 20 at Tennessee TBA

Sept. 27 Mississippi TBA

Oct. 4 at Arkansas TBA

Oct. 11 LSU TBA

Oct. 25 Kentucky TBA

Nov. 1 Georgia (J'ville) TBA

Nov. 8 at Vanderbilt TBA

Nov. 15 South Carolina TBA

Nov. 22Citadel TBA

Nov. 29 at Florida State TBA

CAN'T MISS GAMES

Sept. 6 Miami: Because the schools don't meet on an annual basis, fans from each side love to call the other out as afraid to play. They're playing, so that alone makes it an event. Miami could use the win to prove its rebuilding effort is heading in the right direction. A Gators victory might help loosen that 'Canes recruiting stronghold in South Florida. And the fact that the fans generally don't like each other just adds to the fun, right?

Sept. 20 at Tennessee: It doesn't matter that the Vols aren't among the preseason Top 10. This game has become a signature battle because it's the first SEC contest for both. And while losing doesn't mean elimination from the East race (Tennessee reached the title game last season after losing), it creates an uphill battle.

Nov. 1 Georgia (at Jacksonville): Can you say bad blood? Florida, apparently, is still bitter about last year's beatdown and the Bulldogs' end zone celebration after their first touchdown. Georgia says get over it. Coach Mark Richt apologized. Urban Meyer faked an acceptance then publicly called out the Bulldogs, and now everybody's bitter. If it plays out that first place in the East is on the line, everything escalates.

2007 (9-4)

Western KentuckyW49-3

Troy W 59-31

Tennessee W 59-20

at Ole Miss W34-20

Auburn L 20-17

at LSU L 28-24

at Kentucky W 45-37

Georgia L 42-30

Vanderbilt W 49-22

at South Carolina W 51-31

Florida Atlantic W59-20

Florida State W45-12

Capital One Bowl

Michigan L41-35

Area players

OL Jim Barrie (Berkeley Prep), WR Riley Cooper (Clearwater Central Catholic), DT Torrey Davis (Armwood), DB Corey Henderson (Lakewood), LB A.J. Jones (Middleton); WR Louis Murphy (Lakewood), OL Kyle Newell (Chamberlain); DL Matt Patchan (Armwood), S Bryan Thomas (Zephyrhills)

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Capacity: 88,548

Tickets: A limited number remain for the Citadel game, but all other home games are sold out. Florida law prohibits individuals and organizations from selling or purchasing tickets at any price on campus without written consent from the school.

Parking: Gainesville Regional Transit provides shuttle service from the Oaks Mall, the downtown plaza, the UF Hotel and Conference Center and Haile Plantation at the Village Center. Downtown parking lots and garages are open on game day. Service begins three hours before kickoff with the last bus departing 10 minutes before kickoff. Return buses start at the beginning of the fourth quarter and run through the first hour after the game.

Directions: Take Interstate 75 north to Exit 384 (Archer Road) and make a right. Follow Archer Road to 34th Street. Turn left on 34th and follow it to University Avenue. Turn right on University Avenue and follow it to Gale Lemerand Drive. Turn right on Lemerand, and the stadium is on the left.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

floridagators

MUST-WATCH STATS

Fourth and 1: Florida was a few third- and fourth-down stops from playing for the SEC title. After opponents converted 58.3 percent of fourth downs, UF needs a true go-to leader. "That's what we're looking for," defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said.

Who's carrying the ball?: Conventional wisdom says the second time around, opponents aren't going to let quarterback Tim Tebow run roughshod. Without a solid, consistent rusher besides Tebow, Florida likely won't be making room in the trophy case.

Opponents' passing yards: The Gators were last in pass defense in the SEC last season (98th nationally), allowing 258.5 yards per game. They opened preseason shuffling and searching for replacements at safety after losing four potential starters since January.

UF football preview 08/27/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:28am]
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