St. Petersburg Times
Online: Tech Times
 tampabay.com
Print storySubscribe to the Times

Florida Gators

Georgia bites Bailey again

Safety Cory Bailey is haunted by three missed big-play opportunities.

By BRIAN SHAFFER
Published October 31, 2004

JACKSONVILLE - Cory Bailey enrolled at Florida while Steve Spurrier was at the helm, embraced Ron Zook while a nation doubted him, and became a team leader during his senior season.

And that is what he hopes Gators fans remember.

Unfortunately, the safety's legacy could be forever marred by three plays against three conference opponents in three devastating losses.

Bailey's latest moment occurred with 8:37 remaining Saturday against Georgia as he and his teammates were attempting to make a comeback. On third and 9 from his 15-yard line, Bulldogs quarterback David Greene threw a pass intended for wide receiver Fred Gibson. While it momentarily appeared Bailey was going to make a play on the ball, Gibson darted in front of him, snatched it and strolled into the end zone to put Georgia ahead 31-21.

Bailey had previously been in position to make interceptions against Tennessee and Louisiana State. But as was the case Saturday, what could have been momentum-capturing turnovers ended up as touchdowns for the opposition.

"It is very frustrating because as a defensive back you feel that you want to make every play that you can," Bailey said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to play well and those plays stick out in my mind, and that's a bad thing. Over my whole career, I feel that I have played well, but those three plays will stick in my head forever. I will never forget those three plays."

Much like Bailey's career, the Gators' season could be remembered for just a few plays that went wrong. In each of their four losses, the Gators failed to make what could have been game-changing late defensive stops.

Against Georgia, Gibson's touchdown might have been an emotional back-breaker, but a Bulldogs conversion on third and 1 with less than three minutes remaining ended any hopes of a comeback. It was one play in a season full of one-play games that led to another Florida loss.

Linebacker Travis Harris said that the Gators are 10-12 plays from being undefeated, and the frustration of being so close so often is apparent. Linebacker Brandon Siler, who replaced an injured Channing Crowder after the first quarter, said it is difficult to convince those on the outside looking in that the Gators are a good team, despite their 4-4 record.

"One play in the Tennessee game, one play in the LSU game and one play in this game has really made the difference," Siler said. "They are the difference between people saying, "We were wrong about the Florida Gators' and us losing a coach.

"It could've been three plays and this whole season could be slapped around, and it hurts. It hurts because you know you are good and you just keep coming up short."

[Last modified October 31, 2004, 00:57:29]


Baseball

  • Subplots plentiful in Bosox's tale
  • Red Sox fans let it all out after an 86-year buildup

  • College football
  • ACC: Wake Forest finally pulls out a close one
  • Big East: Troublemaking receiver propels Mountaineers
  • Big Ten: Michigan wins in triple OT
  • C-USA: East Carolina denies Army 3rd straight win
  • Nation: UTEP's fifth straight win seals rarity
  • PAC-10: USC romps to 17th straight win
  • State: Florida Atlantic offense has record-setting day
  • Big-12: Sooners barely remain unbeaten
  • SEC: Vols all but wrap up East

  • Commentary
  • Rant: Happy Red Sox fans? That just feels wrong

  • Florida Gators
  • Game balls
  • Dog day afternoon
  • By the numbers
  • Dawgs celebrate long-awaited win against Gators
  • Georgia bites Bailey again
  • Faith, family help Zook endure

  • FSU Seminoles
  • Terrapinned!
  • No bailout from defense this time
  • QB controversy? Give Bowden few minutes

  • Golf
  • Singh poised for history
  • Golden ties Park for 1st with eagle
  • Veteran in surprising battle

  • In brief
  • Tiebreaks lift Agassi to final

  • Motorsports
  • NASCAR loses its teacher
  • J. Burton to stay at RCR in 2005
  • Kenseth is double trouble for challengers

  • NFL
  • NFL picks: week 8
  • Point/Counterpoint: The cut block
  • Roll call
  • Steelers say Patriots' manhandling continues
  • Stop the chop? Broncos called out

  • Outdoors
  • BASS move brings acclaim to Florida
  • Daily fishing report

  • Parimutuels
  • Ghostzapper exorcises Classic winless streak

  • Preps
  • Calvary has banner victory
  • Clash a prep for playoffs
  • Friday night rewind: Pinellas
  • Gaither star Quick fights off bad week to make state meet
  • Hurricanes sweep boys, girls titles
  • Knights' Justus wins region diving
  • Largo meets coach's hopes
  • Masterson back on top at region
  • Sickness can't slow Pirate
  • Tigers take the A-3 title

  • Pro basketball
  • News worse for Pacers star, now out 6-8 weeks

  • Pro hockey
  • Veterans have to stop this madness

  • Sports in print
  • Times writer takes first place in Florida Press Club contest

  • Sunday Extra
  • Ali's Rumble helped shape black culture

  • UM Hurricanes
  • Kicked out

  • Your turn
  • Letters to the Editor: Zook's firing tactless
  • Bucs
  • Griese showing pedigree
  • Return of Galloway will provide a boost
  • Letters to the Editor: It's only fair that Brown catches heat
  •  


    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111