By ANTONYA ENGLISH
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 17, 2001
GAINESVILLE -- Sometime around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, when Florida was supposed to be hosting Tennessee at Florida Field, Gators coach Steve Spurrier knew for sure what he had thought all along.
The nation's Division I-A schools had done the right thing by canceling their football games Saturday.
"I agree it was not a day to play football," Spurrier said Sunday. "It seemed like last Wednesday was a time we felt like we should continue on and the president had even said we need to continue our normal lives. But it just seemed like there was a national movement to curtail play this week, and I really think all of our players were also sort of glad that we weren't playing. We were going to play and try our best, but looking back, I really believe that was the correct thing to do."
Florida (2-0) turns its attention to Kentucky. Spurrier said he hopes the players will be able to rebound quickly from the abrupt end to last week. The players did not practice Thursday or Friday.
"Hopefully, everyone will try to get back to where we were before these terrible events happened last Tuesday and I'm sure everyone is going to try their best to return to where we were," he said.
TOUGH TASK: If the Tennessee game is moved to Dec. 1 as expected, the Gators will end the season with South Carolina, Florida State, Tennessee and, possibly, the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 8. There was talk about rescheduling UT for Saturday and moving Kentucky to the end of the season but "Florida boys" didn't like the idea of playing in Kentucky in December, Spurrier said. He also said Vols officials preferred coming to Gainesville in December.
"It could be a big game in the Swamp if Tennessee and us are in contention for the Eastern Division," Spurrier said. "Heck, they may lose two or three or we may lose two or three before then. We don't know what's going to happen, but potentially it could be one of the biggest games ever down here, so that's one way to look at it also."