St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Special teams make progress for UF

After a down game vs. Miami, the improvement comes in all phases.

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

GAINESVILLE -- After a missed extra point, a missed field goal, minimal gains on kickoff and punt returns and a botched punt against Miami on Sept. 7, inclement weather conditions could have been bad news for Florida's special teams.

Not quite.

In the midst of a bizarre game against Ohio marred by sloppy play on both sides of the ball, the Gators' special teams had a flawless day.

After a 46-minute delay in the first quarter because of lightning, players returned to a soggy field. But the Gators handled the conditions well.

"Any time you have rain and wind and things like that and it gets wet and sloppy out there that's going to change the course of a football game," said cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who handled punt returns. "You've just got to fight through that and play through."

Junior Sean Morton, who replaced Jason Hunter at punter, averaged 40.3 yards on three attempts. His longest was 47 yards.

Morton, a transfer from Northwestern, also was the holder for placekicks.

"I thought Sean Morton did a nice job tonight, he really did," Florida coach Ron Zook said.

Sophomore kicker Matt Leach, whose position was up for grabs last week, converted his four extra-point attempts.

Leach had missed an extra point and a field goal attempt against Miami. He also missed a point-after and a field-goal attempt against Alabama-Birmingham on Aug. 31.

The lone miss on an extra point Saturday came from Brendt Talcott in the fourth quarter. By that time, Florida had a 34-6 lead.

Zook said he was impressed with kickoff returns and punt returns.

Instead of using Ratliff and Vernell Brown, Zook turned to tailback Ran Carthon and linebacker Larry Kendrick to field kickoffs. Ratliff and Brown handled punts.

After his lackluster performance against Miami, Ratliff had to make Ohio's coaching staff think twice about punting on fourth down. Late in the first half, Ratliff returned a 49-yard punt for 41 yards.

"Keiwan had some nice runs there, and Keiwan's going to be a pretty good punt returner for us," Zook said.

In the first quarter, Ratliff returned a punt for 24 yards. However, a flag was thrown on the Gators for running into the kicker.

For Ratliff, that was no big deal. He fielded the punt and ran for the same distance on the next play.

"Tonight we had more opportunities as far as punt returns and kick returns and things like that," Ratliff said. "Earlier in the season most of our punt returns have been pooch situations, or basically situations where I've been standing on the 10, so I really haven't had a chance to return many. This week I had more of an opportunity and more of a chance to go out and show some of our special teams."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

College football
  • Maryland mauling
  • Florida remedies few weaknesses
  • As ugly as can be for Bulls vs. Hogs
  • College football: Sick child receives valuable gift
  • Special teams make progress for UF
  • Weather delays 1st half
  • Local star steps in for Terps
  • Sloppiness doesn't cost Miami in rout of Temple
  • Big East: Syracuse rebounds against overmatched R.I.
  • ACC: Tiger defense preserves victory after late fumble
  • Around the State: Printers leads FAMU at Riverfront Classic
  • Around the nation: Nevada quarterback helps knock off BYU
  • Big Ten: Freshman Clarett spurs Buckeyes
  • Big 12: Trojans give Buffs little in trouncing
  • Irish squeak by Wolverines
  • SEC: Texas Tech sets Big 12 mark against Ole Miss
  • S.C. miscues lift Bulldogs
  • C-USA: West Virginia escapes Cincy's comeback specialist
  • Pac-10: Oregon continues mastery of Idaho
  • USF stumbles badly out of the blocks
  • Arkansas' blitz, mistakes silence Bulls offense

  • NFL
  • Rams will not abandon their confidence game
  • NFL Game Day: Week 2

  • Golf
  • Tough times near end for Tampa Bay Classic
  • A threat has little effect on Fleisher

  • Bowling
  • Two-time titlist top qualifier for World Team Challenge

  • Motorsports
  • Battle in Texas to decide IRL
  • Montoya has fastest F1 lap

  • Track
  • Montgomery breaks world record in 100

  • Et cetera
  • Highs and Lows

  • Baseball
  • Rivera is upbeat over BP session
  • NL: Risk pays off for red-hot Cards
  • AL: A's silence Mariners bats again
  • Cold spells may doom Red Sox

  • Prep
  • Depth the difference as Jaguars, Tigers repeat
  • Seminole's turnaround culminates
  • This time, Warhawks outduel Hurricanes
  • Level of competition the focus for Mitchell
  • Second-place finish helps Bucs enjoy trip
  • Mustangs, Knights overcome course
  • Plant teams pull off sweep

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Letters
  • Game between 'Canes, Gatorsis worth seeing every season

  • Rays
  • It's 100 down, more to come
  • Vaughn sits, waits, doesn't complain
  • Rays tales
  • Uptons anticipate a smooth transition

  • Bucs
  • Standard deviation
  • Walker will stick around
  • Kickin' back: Never an embarrassing moment
  • High Profile: Aaron Stecker
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • Side line

  • John Romano
  • Ravens mortgaged future for title, with no regrets

  • Lightning
  • Fedotenko brings color to Lightning
  • Prospect Watch
  • Prospect lights up scrimmage

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts