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

printer version

Gators lose badly but remain atop Eastern Division

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 2, 2000


For all the yardage Florida gave up in an embarrassing 47-35 loss at Mississippi State on Saturday, the Gators really didn't lose much ground.

How does first place sound?

Among six teams in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, only Georgia won Saturday. Florida (4-1, 2-1) and South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) remain tied at the top, with Georgia (3-1, 1-1) a half-game behind. Western Division leader Auburn (5-0, 3-0) is the league's only unbeaten team.

UF fell nine places to No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

"We've got to regroup and start scraping and clawing," coach Steve Spurrier said. "We're not in complete despair around here. But we've got some problems we've got to try to correct."

Topping the fix-it list is a broken-down defense that allowed 351 rushing yards, 517 total, to the league's worst-ranked offense. Mississippi State had two 150-yard rushers: Dicenzo Miller (172) and Dontae Walker (156).

"We've got the same run defense we had last year, but it's not working this year," Spurrier said. "Our scheme is such that we try to free one guy up to make the tackle. We've got to get two or three guys trying to tackle the ball carrier.

"This scheme worked pretty well last year. We were good against the run, had a lot of sacks. But now, all of a sudden, this same scheme's not holding up very well."

Florida's inexperience at middle linebacker is largely to blame. The Gators lost junior Andra Davis, a second-year starter who was second on the team with 109 tackles last season, to a season-ending knee injury in the opener.

Travis Carroll, a junior transfer from Alabama, was suspended the first three games and injured in his first appearance, spraining a knee Sept. 23. He could miss two more weeks.

That leaves redshirt freshman Matt Farrior and freshman Travis Harris to hold down the middle, where UF's defense has been most vulnerable.

"We certainly aren't getting the play from the middle linebacker that we need to," Spurrier said. "He got blocked a bunch (against MSU), didn't scrape across and get where he needed to be."

The next thing that needs mending is senior quarterback Jesse Palmer's right ankle, which he sprained while being sacked for a safety in the first quarter. Palmer attempted to return Saturday, but could not push off to throw. He will be evaluated during the week.

If Palmer cannot play, freshman Rex Grossman will start, Spurrier said, though he might use Grossman and freshman Brock Berlin in a rotating system.

"They both performed very well," Spurrier said. "We really sort of planned on rotating them if it came to that."

Grossman was 13-for-16 for 231 yards and two touchdowns, but fumbled on the Gators' first play of the second half. Berlin was 13-for-19 for 148 yards and two touchdowns, but saw most of his action in the fourth quarter after fumbling the ball away early in the third.

CROMARTIE RETURNS: Junior cornerback Robert Cromartie, sidelined with an ankle injury, may return to the starting lineup this week beside Lito Sheppard, Spurrier said. Cromartie, a starter last season, did not make the trip to Mississippi State.

TIME CHANGE: Saturday's home game against LSU will start at 12:30 p.m. and be televised by Jefferson Pilot affiliates (Ch. 38).

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

Bucs

  • Mizell: Offensive woes set off wave of worry for fans
  • Not ready for prime time
  • Sapp takes punishment, dishes it out
  • Husted returns the favor vs. Bucs
  • Bucs chat
  • Sanders shows why he's still dangerous
  • Buccaneers quick hits
  • Roller coaster stops, but not in time for Bucs win
  • Redskins quotebook
  • Bucs quotebook
  • Devil Rays

  • Rothschild may know fate today
  • A's victory cancels return to Trop
  • Wheeler picks up his first victory
  • Local writers honor Williams
  • Lightning

  • Dudley: no trades in works
  • Therapy speeds Weekes' return
  • College football

  • Rejuvenated Jackson gets running game back in gear
  • Big win no longer enough
  • Gators lose badly but remain atop Eastern Division
  • Et cetera

  • NFL briefs
  • Baseball briefs
  • NHL briefs
  • Captain's corner
  • Sports briefs
  • Young sailor breezes to victory in Regatta


  • 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