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Extra points

Compiled by JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000


Player spotlight: Reche Caldwell

GAINESVILLE -- In the preseason, sophomore Reche Caldwell was the leading candidate to become Florida's next go-to receiver. In Saturday's 38-7 victory against Auburn, Caldwell caught his first touchdown pass of the season.

And his second.

And what should have been his third.

"It was good to see Reche finally get a few touchdowns," coach Steve Spurrier said. "He practices well. He's just sort of been unlucky because all the touchdown passes have been going to somebody else."

Caldwell, a former quarterback at Tampa's Jefferson High, is the Gators' second-leading receiver with 29 catches for 402 yards. Sudden-sensation Jabar Gaffney has 37 for 598 yards. His 10 touchdowns are a Southeastern Conference record for freshmen.

"We've got great receivers and they're starting to get momentum," freshman quarterback Rex Grossman said. "They know how to play and I feel comfortable with all the receivers."

Including Caldwell.

An integral part of the offense all season, Caldwell did not find the end zone until Grossman hit him with an 8-yard corner route early in the first quarter.

"Jabar was getting double teamed and Rex audibled," Caldwell said. "He made a great call and I just had to run my route and get open. He made a perfect throw. All I had to do was just catch the ball."

Later in the first quarter, Caldwell's 2-yard catch made it 14-0, giving him two touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career.

"That felt good," he said. "I've been waiting for those."

Early in the second quarter, Caldwell juked corner Larry Casher and raced down the sideline for what appeared to be a 71-yard touchdown. Officials ruled he stepped out of bounds at the Auburn 18, though replays show he did not. Two plays later, Gaffney scored on a screen pass.

Caldwell finished with five catches for 66 yards, including a career-long 53 yards on the play where he was ruled out of bounds.

"We feel really good," Caldwell said. "Game by game all the receivers are gaining confidence. Rex is making great reads, doing a good job of hitting the open receivers and calling the audibles. And Coach Spurrier is calling good plays for us to be open."

Better late than never

Junior All-America defensive end Alex Brown had a breakthrough game against Auburn, but the stats didn't show it. Unofficial game-day stats credited Brown with one sack for minus-6 yards. Period. After a review of the tape, Brown was credited with six tackles, including three sacks for minus-18 yards.

Pregame rituals

How do the Gators pump themselves up on game day? Alex Brown listens to songs from the Rocky movies. Cornerback Bennie Alexander watches his high school highlight tapes. Defensive tackle Buck Gurley watches Bruce Lee movies. Tailback Earnest Graham eats Gummi Bears.

Holy toledo!

Florida has committed just eight turnovers, none since freshmen quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Brock Berlin fumbled away consecutive plays to open the third quarter at Mississippi State on Sept. 30. The Gators' turnover margin of plus-16 is second in the nation behind Toledo, which is plus-17.

Quotable

"I don't know the big advantage of having an open date. Tennessee is always open before they play us and I don't know that it's helped them too much." -- coach Steve Spurrier

Up next

WHO: No. 12 Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC).

WHEN/WHERE: 3:30 p.m., Oct. 28; Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville.

TV: Ch. 10.

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