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Lineup includes half-dozen new starters

Published August 31, 2003

GAINESVILLE - Just call it the youth movement in Gator Country.

Six players made their first starts Saturday: offensive lineman Tavares Washington, quarterback Ingle Martin, quarterback/receiver Gavin Dickey, defensive tackles Kenny Parker and Ray McDonald and cornerback Johnny Lamar.

McDonald made the first big play of the newcomers when he sacked Scott Rislov for a 10-yard loss on the game's fourth play.

Twenty-nine Gators saw their first action, including 22 freshmen and 10 true freshmen, which is the second-most in school history. Twelve true freshmen played in 2000.

Forty of the 90 players dressed, including 23 scholarship players on the dress roster who had never played.

"My concern coming into this game was that (about) 45 of those guys had never played on this field before," Florida coach Ron Zook said.

"We didn't really know how they were going to react or how it was going to be. I think they were focused all weekend."

NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS ... : Florida fans looking for improvement in the special teams had to be skeptical after the opening kickoff. Kendrick Starling returned it 57 yards to the Gators 38, stirring memories of last season's dismal special-teams unit.

The Spartans got a field goal, but Florida later blocked a punt to set up a touchdown.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS: St. Petersburg's Julian Riley did not dress. Riley, a freshman defensive end who played at Lakewood, likely will redshirt.

Former Jefferson High standout Andre Caldwell made his first collegiate reception early in the second quarter when Leak rolled out and found him streaking across the middle for a 31-yard gain.

ANOTHER DEBUT: Offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher made his debut on the sideline after spending all of last season calling plays from the press box.

With the possibility of three new quarterbacks playing the decision was a no-brainer, he said.

"With young quarterbacks I like to sit down and look them in the eye and see them face to face.

"I'm very comfortable with our staff and getting all the information I need from upstairs."

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