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

printer version

Offense changes ahead for UF

But the Gators say they have not lost confidence in starting QB Grossman.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 14, 2002


GAINESVILLE -- Rex Grossman stood on the sideline Saturday night, heard the chorus of boos and watched the fans exit in droves early in the fourth quarter after his fourth interception.

Another bad performance, another loss for Florida.

Oct. 5, it was Ole Miss, Saturday a 36-7 loss to LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium -- the first time the Gators have lost consecutive SEC games since 1992.

The best Grossman could do was apologize and beg the indulgence of the Gator faithful:

"I understand their frustrations, but at the same time we haven't held up our deal. We're going to fight back. I know the type of people we have on our team. Eventually ... we're just going to go play and not care about what happens, and then everything is going to come together and we're going to get out of this slump."

The season has come down to this: Florida (4-3, 2-2 SEC) has dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 1990, winning the coveted SEC championship no longer is in its control and coach Ron Zook is contemplating changes.

"We've got to do a better job of executing the offense, and we've got to simplify some of the things to make sure that we're controlling what's being called and maybe cutting back on some of the checkoffs that Rex is doing as well," Zook said Sunday. " ... We have personnel that can execute this offense better than what we're doing right now and we're not playing the way we need to play. That's our job as coaches to get our team playing the way they have to play."

Lately, it seems nothing is working.

Florida is 12-for-33 on third-down conversions in its past two games. The rushing game has been held to under 100 yards in the past three. Against LSU, Florida was held to 163 passing yards, 74 rushing. Grossman, last season's Heisman Trophy runner-up, has thrown 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Grossman enhanced his reputation of being predictable, throwing 13 passes to receiver Taylor Jacobs in the first half Saturday -- but completing only four.

Grossman is 5-for-22 in the third quarter in the past two games, and the Gators have been outscored 86-29 in the third this season.

"I don't have an answer for it," Zook said. "We feel like we made the adjustments we need to make."

Zook said he isn't considering benching Grossman for backup Ingle Martin, but hinted Martin may get his chance.

"I think you're getting to a point a little bit there," Zook said. "I'm not telling you anything that I'm not going to tell Rex today as well. There comes a point and time where, and not necessarily because anybody's lost confidence in Rex, I have not lost confidence in Rex nor has this football team ... but I think on the same token, maybe sometimes you do need to settle him down. But I've got a lot of confidence in him and I think he's going to be fine."

Grossman's eight interceptions in two games have led to 28 points, but his teammates said Saturday night Grossman should not shoulder the blame alone. Several times receivers ran the wrong routes.

"I know that in all the situations where something isn't going for us, it's been an inch off perfection," Jacobs said.

"It's all about communication," Grossman said.

The Gators' fate is in Georgia's hands. For Florida to win the East, it needs No. 5 Georgia to lose twice.

Despite the odds, Zook said, the Gators aren't deterred: "Now everybody's eyes are on us as a football team and how we're going to handle this situation. I also told them that a year ago, LSU had exactly the same situation, same record and had just come off a loss at home and went on to win the SEC. All that means is, hey, it's very possible. Obviously, we need somebody to help. But, still we can't mess up anymore. We've messed up all we can mess up."

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
  • Gators fall out of Top 25 for first time since 1990
  • 'Noles aren't demoralized after defeat
  • USF refs not music lovers
  • Hurricanes: Win wasn't in doubt
  • Offense changes ahead for UF
  • Ex-Cornhusker missing after bombing in Bali

  • NFL
  • Security tight at 'Skins game
  • Obscure Saint totals 356 yards in rout
  • Cowboys, Carter win on 2 late TDs
  • Sub lifts Falcons on road
  • Alexander shines under bright lights
  • First Ram win, first Raider loss
  • Titans return to old form against Jags
  • NFL roundup
  • Mare kicks Denver off Mile High perch

  • Baseball
  • Halo, World Series
  • Fear of Bonds pays off for Giants
  • NL: Coach sees self more as observer
  • AL: Twins won't be satisfied

  • More sports
  • McMurray stuns NASCAR
  • Florida leads national boom in triathlons
  • Freaky goal helps Wings win
  • Penske Racing makes official switch to Dodge
  • Michael Schumacher: 3 in a row in Japan GP
  • Sports briefs
  • NBA: Bulls forward faces gun, license charges
  • Pak retains Mobile title by 4 shots
  • No-look plan nets win for Tataurangi

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Rays
  • Piniella in limbo; others in demand

  • Bucs
  • Running wild
  • Gimme five
  • Alstott makes most of start
  • Browns praise tough Bucs defense
  • Bucs fail to convert on scoring chances
  • Bucs/Browns Quotebooks
  • It's a group effort on D
  • Sound bites
  • Game balls

  • Lightning
  • Fisticuffs with 'Canes help build camaraderie


  • 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