By JOANNE KORTH
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000
GAINESVILLE -- Jeff Chandler remembers the pained reaction of his parents when he broke the news he was going to walk on as a placekicker at Florida.
"My parents went to Georgia," said Chandler, a senior from Jacksonville. "I grew up hating the Gators. During Florida-Georgia weekend we always had a big Georgia blanket hanging outside our house. But they're converted now. I've got them. They've got orange and blue all over the house now."
Not long ago, Chandler would pull on his red and black sweater, pile into the car with his parents, Pam and Don, and head for the Gator Bowl to cheer for Georgia.
"Dad had a hat he would wear; it was crazy," Chandler said.
Now, the Chandlers are Gators.
But for how much longer?
Chandler is appealing to the NCAA to turn his freshman season into a redshirt year because he participated in just one play, kicking the 76th point of an 82-6 victory against Central Michigan in 1997.
"At the time I thought it was a great idea," Chandler said. "I figured, "I'll never kick again. I'll go ahead and get one out of the way so I can tell all my friends I kicked.' I still have the tape at home. When I went home I'd show them all and say, "Hey, it's me, it's me.' I regret it now, but we'll see what happens."
Chandler, UF's all-time leading scorer with 228 points, expects to learn of the NCAA's ruling this week or next. He is guardedly optimistic. Whether his parents remain Gators fans beyond the time his eligibility expires also is hard to predict.
"This has been the best four years of my life," he said. "They supported me while I was here and that's all I can ask of them. If they go back to Georgia, I just probably won't be going home too much during Florida-Georgia in the future."
The World Series between New York's Yankees and Mets has nothing on the Florida-Georgia game when it comes to dividing families. Just ask the Fleming brothers. Ryan, a junior, plays for the Bulldogs. Reid, a freshman, plays for the Gators. Both are backup linebackers but could go head-to-head on special teams.
How bitter is the Florida-Georgia rivalry? The schools cannot even agree on how many times they have played. The Bulldogs count one more win, a 52-0 victory in 1904, and claim to lead the series 45-31-2.
Steve Spurrier Jr., an assistant coach at Oklahoma, and his wife, Melissa, are expecting triplets in February. These will be the couple's first children, and the fifth, sixth and seventh grandchildren for Steve and Jeri Spurrier.
"We feel real good about ourselves. We feel we're controlling games now. We're making teams one-dimensional by the second half and feeling that we're dominating and becoming the gangster defense we thought we were going to be at the beginning of the season."
-- Keiwan Ratliff, UF defensive back
Junior defensive tackle Gerard Warren is listed as questionable for Saturday's game because of a hamstring pull. He did not practice Monday or Tuesday. Asked if he would play against the Bulldogs, Warren said: "What kind of question is that? I'm in the best shape of my life."
Jabar Gaffney, who two weeks ago broke the SEC freshman record for touchdown receptions with 10, is climbing the list for receptions by a freshman.
1. Jerel Myers, LSU (1999) -- 64
2. Zola Davis, USC (1995) -- 58
3. Ronney Daniels, Auburn (1999) -- 56
4. Terrence Edwards, Georgia (1999) -- 53
5. Gerald Mitchell, Vandy (1985) -- 45
6. Jermale Kelly, USC (1993) -- 43
7. Jabar Gaffney, UF (2000) -- 37
WHO: No. 13 Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC).
WHEN/WHERE: 3:30 p.m. Saturday; Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville.
TV: Ch. 10.
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