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Gators want respect for Zook and team

With its 16-13 win over Georgia on Saturday, Florida moved up six spots to No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25, the biggest jump of the week. The Bulldogs dropped five to No. 9.

After a .500 start, Florida (6-3, 4-2) has gone on a surprising run, defeating then-No. 6 LSU, then-No. 11 Arkansas and Georgia. Today, the Gators are tied with Georgia for first in the SEC East, a half game ahead of Tennessee.

With all they have accomplished over the past month, Florida players said it's time for critics to let up on the Gators, and more importantly, beleaguered coach Ron Zook.

"He's producing," offensive guard Shannon Snell said. "You guys have got to give him credit. Everybody's bashing him, but we just went on death row and killed everybody. You've got to give him credit."

The big task for Florida is leaving the past behind and trying not to overlook its next opponent, Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 1-8 and 0-5 in the SEC and are coming off a bye week.

"These wins give us a lot of confidence, but we can't get beside ourselves," running back Ciatrick Fason said. "We have to remember at one point we were 3-3."

JUST ANOTHER WEEK: Zook said Sunday that despite Florida's recent success, he and the coaching staff will approach this week like any other. After all, Vanderbilt almost beat the Gators last season. As for what they've done so far, Zook said it's irrelevant.

"It's not important right now," he said. "I don't think you talk about accomplishments until the season's over. They understand they've beaten three good football teams. All that's done is put us in position to accomplish something."

INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback Keiwan Ratliff suffered a slight groin strain and Fason has a bruised triceps and bruised AC joint. Both are expected to play Saturday. The Gators had no major injuries Saturday.

LAST WORD I: "For my senior class to go out 4-0 against Georgia, that's something nobody can take away from us." _ Senior running back Ran Carthon.

LAST WORD II: "Always coming up short this late in the season is disappointing. It tears your hopes and dreams of playing for a national championship." _ Georgia cornerback Bruce Thornton.

_ ANTONYA ENGLISH

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