tampabay.com

UF: For the fans

By Times Staff
Published September 1, 2006


COACH: Urban Meyer

STAFF: Steve Addazio, offensive line/tackles and tight ends; Stan Drayton, running backs; Billy Gonzales, wide receivers; Chuck Heater, recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks; John Hevesy, offensive line/centers and guards; John "Doc" Holliday, associate head coach/safeties; Greg Mattison, co-defensive coordinator/defensive line; Dan Mullen, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks; and Charlie Strong, assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator/linebackers

CONFERENCE/DIVISION: SEC, Eastern Division

CONFERENCE TITLES: 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000

NATIONAL TITLE: 1996

RADIO: WDAE-AM 620 in Tampa; WFLA-AM 970; WHNZ-AM 1250 in St. Petersburg; WWJB-AM 1450 in Brooksville; WXCV-FM 95.3 in Crystal River; WZHR-AM 1400 in Zephyrhills

WEB SITE: www.gatorzone.com

BEN HILL GRIFFIN STADIUM AT FLORIDA FIELD

CAPACITY: 88,548

TICKETS: All tickets are sold out.

PARKING: General parking areas are available to the public on campus on game days. Parking is also available in lots on private property within a half-mile of the stadium for various prices. There is no parking on grass or sidewalks. To avoid having to search for space on campus, fans are encouraged to use the RTS Gator Aider shuttle. Contact RTS at (352) 334-2600 or visit www.go-rts.com for information and pickup locations.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 75 North to Exit 384 (Archer Road) and make a right. Follow Archer Road to 34th Street. Turn left on 34th and follow it to University Avenue. Turn right on University Avenue and follow it to Gale Lemerand Drive. Turn right on Lemerand, and the stadium will be on the left.

2006 SCHEDULE

Saturday Southern Miss 6

Sept. 9 UCF 6

Sept. 16 at Tennessee 8

Sept. 23 Kentucky TBA

Sept. 30 Alabama TBA

Oct. 7 LSU TBA

Oct. 14 at Auburn TBA

Oct. 28 Georgia 3:30 at Jacksonville

Nov. 4 at Vanderbilt TBA

Nov. 11 South Carolina TBA

Nov. 18 Western Carolina TBA

Nov. 25 at Florida State TBA

3 GAMES TO WATCH

SEPT. 16 AT TENNESSEE

It's the first big test of the season, on the road, for a Florida team that struggled away from home last year. The loser always finds itself in an uphill battle from there.

OCT. 14 AT AUBURN

The Tigers are the gold standard by which the other league teams are being measured this season. Florida will have four SEC games under its belt by this game, but if the Gators have fared well in the others, this could be one of the biggest games of the season.

NOV. 11 VS. SOUTH CAROLINA

Steve Spurrier returns to Gainesville for the second time this season, the first as an opposing coach. (The other visit? To honor the 1996 national championship team Sept. 2.) The Gamecocks handed the Gators a 30-22 loss in Columbia last season that ultimately cost them a trip to Atlanta. Don't think that this game hasn't been circled on the calendar for a long time.

3 STATS TO WATCH

QUARTERBACK PRODUCTION

Chris Leak threw for 2,639 yards and 20 touchdowns, 558 fewer yards and nine fewer touchdowns from his sophomore season. Entering his second season directing Meyer's offense, Leak said he expects to improve greatly upon last year's numbers. The Gators can only hope he delivers.

THE RUNNING GAME

Meyer's system requires a strong running game, but Florida averaged just 3.9 yards per carry last year, 146.8 per game. Florida must find a consistent running back, or things could get ugly fast.

THE RED ZONE

The Gators were ninth in the SEC last season in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score 24 touchdowns and go 4-for-8 in field goals. Co-defensive coordinator Mattison calls it the "No. 1 thing the Florida defense has to improve on."

2005 RESULTS (9-3)

Wyoming W 32-14

Louisiana Tech W 41-3

Tennessee W 16-7

at Kentucky W 49-28

at Alabama L 31-3

Mississippi State W 35-9

at LSU L 21-17

Georgia W 14-10

Vanderbilt W 49-42

at South Carolina L 30-22

Florida State W 34-7

OUTBACK BOWL

Iowa W 31-24

- ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times staff writer