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By UF… GATOR STORYLINES �� Florida begins its 102nd year of football. Through 101 years, the Gators own a record of 628-372- 40 (.623). �� Urban Meyer begins his fourth season at Florida with the Gators ranked in the preseason top 25 for the 18th-straight season. �� Coach Meyer enters the 2008 season as the third-winningest active coach in college football, with a 70-16 (.814) record, among individuals who have been a head coach for at least five full seasons. �� Including bowl games, bye weeks, mid-week games and season openers, Urban Meyer is 23- 3 (.885) all-time when having more than one week to prepare for a game. GAME SETUP THE POLLS UF UH Associated Press 5th ARV USA Today Coaches’ 5th NR THE RECORDS UF UH Overall 0-0 0-0 Conference 0-0 0-0 TELEVISION The game will be broadcast on Raycom Sports. Dave Neal (play-by-play), Dave Archer (color) and Dave Baker (sideline) call the action. DELAYED TELEVISION Sun Sports , with David Steele (play-by-play), Nat Moore (color) and Steve Babik (sideline) will air the game at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31, on Sun Sports “Breakfast with the Gators” and again Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 11 p.m. (replays available in SEC territory). THE GATOR RADIO NETWORK The Gator Radio Network team of Mick Hubert (play-by-play), Lee McGriff (color) and Steve Babik (sideline) will broadcast the contest. Scot Brantley and Travis McGriff join Babik as co-hosts of pregame. WFXJ radio (930-AM in Jacksonville) serves as UF’s flagship station. The pre-game show begins two hours before kickoff. There is also a 90- minute show following the conclusion of the game. SATELLITE RADIO Florida football can be heard on XM Satellite Radio. Fans can log on to www.xmradio.com each week for information regarding specific channels. FLORIDA FOOTBALL ENTERS 2008 SEASON ��The University of Florida football program opens its 102nd year on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 12:30 p.m. vs. Hawaii. UF head coach Urban Meyer begins his fourth season with the Gators. Under Coach Meyer, the Gators own a 31-8 (.795) overall record. AN EARLY OPENER ��Today’s game marks the earliest opening to a season in school history. Including this year, UF has started the year in the month of August five times since 1996 after opening in the month just once (1986) in the previous 89 years of play (1906-95). The Gators have never lost a contest in the month, as they have combined to outscore opponents 230-47 in the five previous contests. OPENING THE SEASON ��UF enters the game looking for its 19th-consecutive season and home-opening victory. Florida has won an SEC-best 18-straight season-opening games. UF’s last loss in a season opener was in 1989, when it suffered a 24-19 setback to Ole Miss at Florida Field. UF’s last loss to a non-conference opponent in a season opener came against Miami in 1987 (31-4). Florida is 77-24 in its previous 101 season openers, including a 60-6 mark in the 66 openers held in Gainesville. Furthermore, UF is 38- 1 in the last 39 season openers on its own turf, a mark that dates back to the start of the 1949 season. ��Coach Meyer has never lost a season opener as a head coach (7-0). His teams have averaged 36.7 points in the first game of the season and have limited opponents to 14.0 points per game: Year Site Opponent Score 2001 Away Missouri 20-13 2002 Home Tennessee Tech 41-20 2003 Home Utah State 40-20 2004 Home Texas A&M 41-21 2005 Home Wyoming 32-14 2006 Home Southern Miss 34-7 2007 Home Western Kentucky 49-3 �� Dating back to his first year in collegiate coaching (1986, Ohio State, Graduate Asst.), Coach Meyer has a record of 17-5 in season openers, including 14-straight victories. His last loss in a season opener came on Sept. 4, 1993, while he was the wide receivers coach at Colorado State. That season, the Rams opened the year with a 23-9 loss to Oregon. THE GATORS AT HOME �� Today’s game is the 21st for head coach Urban Meyer at home. Through 20 games, UF is 19-1 (.950). Florida’s record since Coach Meyer’s arrival is tied for the second-best nationally during the span: Teams Record Loss Boise State 19-0 None Florida 19-1 L, 23-20 to Auburn (9/29/07) Wisconsin 19-1 L, 20-10 to Iowa (11/12/05) USC 18-1 L, 24-23 to Stanford (10/6/07) Oklahoma 18-1 L, 17-10 to TCU (9/3/05) ALUMNI TUNNEL �� Again this season, the first game of the year will start with the alumni football players forming a tunnel for the current players to run out of moments before kickoff. Coach Meyer initiated the event, which took place for the first time prior to the Wyoming contest in 2005. THE TEAM �� The team by class: 11 Seniors 12.9 pct. 14 Juniors 16.5 pct. 31 Sophomores 36.5 pct. 9 Redshirt Freshmen 10.6 pct. 20 True Freshmen 23.5 pct. WHAT’S NEW WITH THE GATORS... ��Entering the 2008 season, UF’s leaders in each of the following departments return: Rushing, Passing, Receiving, Scoring, Total Offense, All-Purpose Yards, Tackles, Interceptions, Pass Break Ups, Punting, Punt Returns, Kick Returns, Fumble Recoveries, and Fumble Returns. ��The Gators return eight starters and lose three on both offense and defense. Florida returns a total of 28 players who made at least one start in 2007: 13 on offense and 15 on defense. ��The returning rushers accounted for 17 of the 20 rushing plays of at least 20 yards in 2007. The returning receivers accounted for 36 of the 47 receptions of at least 20 yards. ��The 2008 Gators return 11 seniors total. The following chart reflects how many senior starters the Gators have had each year since 1995: 1995 - 16 1996 - 14 1997 - 9 1998 - 11 1999 - 6 2000 - 14 �� Going into 2007, the Gators brought only three players back that started playing for UF in the fall of 2003 (Andre Caldwell, Clint McMillan and Carlton Medder). This season, UF brings back six players that started in the fall of 2004 (Tate Casey, Javier Estopinan, Cornelius Ingram, Jim Tartt, Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins). �� Prior to the season, UF had five players with ACL injures: Cornelius Ingram (left); Jim Barrie (right); Brendan Beal (left); Dorian Munroe (right); John Curtis (left). The injuries to Munroe and Curtis happened prior to August practices, while the others occurred during preseason workouts. Ingram was injured in a non-contact drill the second day of August practices. CONNECTIONS WITH HAWAII �� Listed below are coaching connections between the Florida and Hawaii teams: Individual _________________________ The Connection Chuck Heater (UF), Ikaika Malloe (UH) ___ On same staff at Washington from 1999-2001. Tebow (UF), Wilson (UF), Taylor (UH) ____ Each attended Nease HS THE OFFENSE ��The offense returns eight starters after returning six in 2007. Returning to the offense are WR Percy Harvin, WR Louis Murphy, TE Cornelius Ingam, OL Jason Watkins, OL Jim Tartt, OL Maurkice Pouncey, QB Tim Tebow, RB Kestahn Moore. Departing are WR Andre Caldwell, C Drew Miller, RT Carlton Medder. ��The Florida offense returns its top passer (Tim Tebow), rusher (Tebow) and receiver (Percy Harvin). Each of Florida’s top-five rushers return and all of the top-five receivers except Andre Caldwell do so. ��Under head coach Urban Meyer, the Gators have outrushed 33 of 38 opponents (10-of-12 in 2005 and 12-of-13 in 2006, 11-of-13 in 2007). ��Florida is one of four teams in the nation (LSU, Tulsa and USC) to pass for 80-or-more and rush for 80-or-more touchdowns since 2005. ��Florida is one of eight teams in the nation to score 100-or-more total touchdowns at home since 2005 (105, ranks fifth nationally and first in the SEC). ��Florida’s passer rating at home since 2005 (168.6) ranks second in the nation since 2005 (Louisville, 179.1). ��Florida and LSU are tied for sixth nationally and first in the SEC with 776 points at home each since 2005. ��Only Urban Meyer-coached teams, Boise State and Toledo have had offenses that have averaged more than 235 passing yards and 184 rushing yards per game over the last seven seasons. EASTERN DIVISION Team SEC Pct. Overall Florida 0-0 .000 0-0 Georgia 0-0 .000 0-0 Kentucky 0-0 .000 0-0 South Carolina 0-0 .000 0-0 Tennessee 0-0 .000 0-0 Vanderbilt 0-0 .000 0-0 WESTERN DIVISION Team SEC Pct. Overall Alabama 0-0 .000 0-0 Auburn 0-0 .000 0-0 Arkansas 0-0 .000 0-0 LSU 0-0 .000 0-0 Ole Miss 0-0 .000 0-0 Mississippi State 0-0 .000 0-0 AUG. 28 South Carolina vs. NC State Vanderbilt at Miami (Ohio) AUG. 30 Alabama vs. Clemson (Atlanta) Arkansas vs. W. Illinois Auburn vs. Louisiana-Monroe Georgia vs. Georgia Southern Ole Miss vs. Memphis Mississippi State at La. Tech LSU vs. Appalachian State AUG. 31 Kentucky at Louisville SEPT. 1 Tennessee at UCLA all times Eastern HAWAII (0-0) at Florida Last week: Idle Next week: vs. Weber State MIAMI (0-0) vs. Charleston-Southern (Aug. 28) Last week: Idle Next week: at Florida at Tennessee (0-0) at UCLA (Sept. 1) Last week: Idle Next week: Idle OLE MISS (0-0) at Memphis Last week: Idle Next week: at Wake Forest at Arkansas (0-0) vs. Western Illinois Last week: Idle Next week: at Louisiana-Monroe LSU (0-0) vs. Appalachian State Last week: Idle Next week: vs. Troy KENTUCKY(0-0) vs. Louisville (Aug. 31) Last week: Idle Next week: vs. Norfolk State vs. Georgia (0-0) vs. Georgia Southern Last week: Idle Next week: vs. Central Michigan at Vanderbilt (0-0) at Miami (Ohio) (Aug. 28) Last week: Idle Next week: vs. South Carolina SOUTH CAROLINA (0-0) vs. NC State (Aug. 28) Last week: Idle Next week: at Vanderbilt THE CITADEL (0-0) vs. Webber International Last week: Idle Next week: at Clemson at Florida State (0-0) Idle Last week: Idle Next week: vs. Western Carolina TODAY’S MATCHUP... UF PLAYERS IN SEASON OPENERS FLORIDA (0-0, 0-0 SEC) A30 _______________________________HAWAII S6 _____________________________ MIAMI (FL) S20 __________________________ at Tennessee S27 _____________________________OLE MISS O4 _____________________________at Arkansas O11 __________________________________LSU O25 _______________________ KENTUCKY (HC) N1 ____________________________ vs. Georgia^ N8 ____________________________ at Vanderbilt N15 _____________________ SOUTH CAROLINA N22 _________________________ THE CITADEL N29 _________________________ at Florida State D6 ________________ SEC Championship Game# HC - Homecoming ^ - Jacksonville, Fla. (Jacksonville Municipal Stadium) # - Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Dome) HAWAII (0-0, 0-0 WAC) A30 ______________________________at Florida S6 _________________________ WEBER STATE S13 ________________________ at Oregon State S27 ______________________SAN JOSE STATE O4 __________________________ at Fresno State O11 ______________________ LOUISIANA TECH O17 __________________________ at Boise State O25 ______________________________NEVADA N1 ____________________________at Utah State N8 ______________________at New Mexico State N22 _______________________________ IDAHO N29 __________________ WASHINGTON STATE D6 ____________________________ CINCINNATI Florida Category Opponents 257.0 Passing Offense 258.5 200.2 Rushing Offense 103.3 457.2 Total Offense 361.8 42.5 Scoring Offense 25.5 258.5 Passing Defense 257.0 103.3 Rushing Defense 200.2 361.8 Total Defense 457.2 25.5 Scoring Defense 42.5 305 1st Downs For 262 .534 3rd Down Conv. .412 .538 4th Down Conv. .583 29-207 Sacks By-Yards 13-78 107-805 Penalties-Yards 83-600 16-9 Fumbles-Lost 21-9 29:18 Avg. Time of Poss. 30:03 Hawaii Category Opponents 439.5 Passing Offense 214.0 72.6 Rushing Offense 133.8 512.1 Total Offense 347.8 43.4 Scoring Offense 25.5 214.0 Passing Defense 439.5 133.8 Rushing Defense 72.6 347.8 Total Defense 512.1 25.5 Scoring Defense 43.4 347 1st Downs For 262 .475 3rd Down Conv. .296 .450 4th Down Conv. .563 91-861 Penalties-Yards 85-727 29-12 Fumbles-Lost 26-9 28:00 Avg. Time of Poss. 32:07 2008 SCHEDULES/RESULTS Rushing Florida G Att. Net Avg. TD YPG Tebow 13 210 895 4.3 23 68.8 Harvin 11 83 764 9.2 6 69.5 Hawaii G Att. Net Avg. TD YPG Pilares 11 68 388 5.7 3 35.3 Wright-Jackson 10 33 219 6.6 2 21.9 Passing Florida A-C-I Pct. Yds. TD YPG Tebow 350-234-6 66.9 3,286 32 252.8 Newton 10-5-0 50.0 40 0 8.0 Hawaii A-C-I Pct. Yds. TD YPG Brennan 510-359-17 70.4 4,343 38 361.9 Graunke 137-90-6 65.7 1,234 10 154.2 Receiving Florida G Rec. Yds. Avg. TD YPG Harvin 11 59 858 14.5 4 78.0 Caldwell 11 56 761 13.6 7 69.2 Hawaii G Rec. Yds. Avg. TD YPG Bess 13 108 1,266 11.7 12 97.4 Grice-Mullen 13 106 1,372 12.9 13 105.5 Defense Florida UT-AT-TT TFL S INT FF FR Spikes 81-50-131 16.0 1.5 0 1 3 Doe 43-42-85 5.0 0 0 0 2 Hawaii UT-AT-TT TFL S INT FF FR Elimimian 68-73-141 12.0 1.5 0 0 0 Leonard 53-52-105 11.5 2.0 4 1 1 TOP INDIVIDUAL LEADERS SERIES HISTORY THE COACHES 2007 UF 49 Western Kentucky 3 (Gainesville) UF scored touchdowns on its fi rst four possessions and Tim Tebow connected on 13-of-17 passes in his starting debut for 300 yards and three TD and rushed for another score. 2006 UF 34 Southern Miss 7 (Gainesville) The Gators kicked off their 100th season in style as Chris Leak was 21-for-30 for 248 and fi red three TD passes, while Dallas Baker had nine catches for 123 yards and one score. 2005 UF 32 Wyoming 14 (Gainesville) Urban Meyer made his Florida head coaching debut and Chris Leak set a school record with 17-straight completions on his way to fi nishing the night 26-of-34 for 320 yards and three touchdown passes, all to receiver Chad Jackson (10 receptions for 138 yards). 2004 UF 49 Eastern Michigan 10 (Gainesville) Chris Leak tossed three touchdown passes and the Gators converted all seven of their opportunities inside the Red Zone. Led by two touchdowns from running back Ciatrick Fason, six different players scored for UF. 2003 UF 65 San Jose State 3 (Gainesville) Running back Ran Carthon and wide receiver Kelvin Kight scored two touchdowns apiece as UF opened the 2003 season in front of a then-record crowd of 90,011 at the newlyrenovated Ben Hill Griffi n Stadium. LAST FIVE SEASON OPENERS Urban Meyer Record at Florida: 31-8 (.795) Overall Record: 70-16 (.814) Seasons at Florida/Overall: 4/8 Greg McMackin Record at Hawaii: First Season Overall Record: First Season THE COACHES This is the fi rst-ever meeting between the Gators and Warriors. Florida Leads: 5-0 Team .......................................................Record Louisiana Tech .............................. UF leads, 2-0 9/16/89 - Gators 34, Bulldogs 7 (Gainesville) 9/10/05 - Gators 41, Bulldogs 3 (Gainesville) New Mexico State .......................... UF leads, 1-0 9/3/94 - Gators 70, Aggies 21 (Gainesville) San Jose State .............................. UF leads, 2-0 9/7/91 - Gators 59, Spartans 21 (Gainesville) 8/30/03 - Gators 65, Spartans 3 (Gainesville) �� Florida has scored 30-or-more points in each of the last seven games. The streak is the longest in the nation: Team Streak (Games) Avg. Pts./Game During Streak W-L During Streak Florida 7 44.9 5-2 Central Michigan 6 39.6 4-2 Navy 6 46.2 3-2 Air Force 5 38.6 3-2 Fresno State 5 36.6 4-1 �� Since Coach Meyer’s first season in 2005, the Gators have led the SEC in several offensive categories over the span: Rushing Touchdowns Florida 82 LSU 81 Arkansas 78 Auburn 72 Scrimmage Touchdowns Florida 163 LSU 162 Arkansas 138 Kentucky 130 Third Down Conversions Florida .448 (219-of-489) LSU .447 (240-of-537) Tennessee .419 (222-of-530) Kentucky .414 (214-of-517) �� Since Coach Meyer’s first year as a head coach at Bowling Green in 2001, his teams have had fewer offensive turnovers than any team in the nation: 1. Urban Meyer Coached Teams 122 2. Minnesota 123 3. Air Force 126 4. Virginia 127 Wake Forest 127 In �� 2007, UF scored on 54.0 percent of its drives (81-of-150). The percentage was the secondhighest by a league team since the SEC kept the record in 2000 (UF 54.9 in 2001). Florida’s touchdown efficiency mark of 47.3 (71-of-140) was the highest total by an SEC team since the league kept the record starting in 2001. QUARTERBACKS (FOR TEBOW RECORDS SEE PAGE 15 OF THIS RELEASE) �� Florida returns Tim Tebow at quarterback who became the only player in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore. Tebow is the fifth quarterback to return to school after winning the award joining Roger Staubach, Ty Detmer, Jason White and Matt Leinart. Detmer, White and Leinart all finished third in the Heisman voting during the season that followed their Heisman winning campaign. In �� receiving the Heisman Trophy on Dec. 8, 2007, Tim Tebow enabled Florida to become: -One of eight schools with at least three Heisman Trophy winners -The first SEC school with three Heisman Trophy winners and all at quarterback -One of two schools with three Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback -One of two schools with multiple winners since 1996 -One of four programs to win the Heisman and have a first-team Academic All-American (Alan Ameche, 1954, Wisconsin; Pete Dawkins, 1958, Army; Danny Wuerffel, 1996, Florida) ��Tim Tebow’s 31 career rushing touchdowns are tied for the fourth-highest total in school history with Fred Taylor, 1994-97 (Emmitt Smith had a school record 36 from 1987-89). ��Tim Tebow has rushed for at least one touchdown and passed for at least one touchdown in 14- straight games. The streak is the longest in NCAA history. ��Tim Tebow has not thrown an interception in his last two outings (matches his longest streak as a starting quarterback). Tebow has not thrown an interception since the second quarter of the Florida Atlantic game in 2007. Since then he has had 81 attempts without an interception. The streak is the longest of his career. His previous long was 80 over the course of the LSU, UK, UGA and Vanderbilt games in 2007. Consecutive Passes Without an Interception (UF) 1. 121, Danny Wuerffel, 1995-96 2. 118, Rex Grossman, 2002 3. 117, Chris Leak, 2005 117, Wayne Peace, 1981 5. 104, Steve Spurrier, 1966 �� Tim Tebow is Florida’s active career leader in rushing yards with 1,364, which is a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The previous career record for rushing yards by a quarterback at UF was 786 by Larry Libetore (1960-62). �� Over the past three seasons, Tim Tebow has been a part of teams that have gone 35-7 overall. As the starting quarterback at Nease High School as a senior in 2005, he helped lead the school to its first-ever Class 4A state championship. As a freshman at UF in 2006, he played in all 14 games in his role as the backup QB on the national championship squad. He was 9-4 as a starting QB in 2007. �� Active QBs Career Rushing Touchdowns vs. Top 25 Teams Quarterback Total 1. Tim Tebow (Florida) 9 Pat White (West Virginia) 9 3. Jake Locker (Washington) 5 ��Active QBs Rushing Touchdowns at Home Quarterback Games Rush TD 1. Pat White (West Virginia) 18 20 2. Tim Tebow (Florida) 14 17 3. Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan) 10 14 RUNNING BACKS �� For only the second time in five seasons, the UF running backs return more than one upperclassmen that carried the ball the previous year (Moore and James). In �� 2007, the Florida running backs carried the ball 136 times for 761 yards and six rushing touchdowns. As a group, they averaged 5.6 yards per carry. �� Emmanuel Moody and Mon Williams look to see action after not playing in 2007. Moody, who was the 2006 Pac-10 Offensive Newcomer of the Year, transferred to UF from USC. Williams redshirted in 2007 after tearing the ACL in his left knee during spring practices of 2007. WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS �� After returning one senior (Andre Caldwell) and two juniors (Louis Murphy and Cornelius Ingram), the group returns two seniors (Murphy and Ingram who is out for the season with a torn ACL) as well as three juniors (Cooper, Harvin, Nelson). In addition, Carl Moore came to UF from Sierra Community College. �� For the first time since Jabar Gaffney (2000-01), the Gators are projected to return their top receiver from the prior season as Percy Harvin led UF with 59 catches for 858 yards in 2007. In records dating back to 1955, there have been 13 players to lead the team in receptions in back-toback season. �� UF returns two of its top three wideouts from the 2007 season. Last year, Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy hauled in 96 catches for a combined 1,406 yards and nine touchdowns. In all eight of the ten players that made a reception for Florida in 2007 return in 2008. �� Percy Harvin enters the year needing 40 receptions to enter UF’s all-time career chart. Currently, Taylor Jacobs (1999-02) ranks 10th with 133 receptions. In 2007, Andre Caldwell established a new school record by finishing his career with 185 receptions. �� Percy Harvin has already set a UF mark for career rushing yards by a receiver (1,192) and owns the single-season record for rushing yards by a receiver (764, 2007). �� Percy Harvin has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last three games he has played in (113 vs. Vanderbilt; 157 vs. Florida State; 165 vs. Michigan). In the last three games he has played in Harvin has touched the ball 63 times for 689 yards (10.9 yards per touch) and he has had five touchdowns. In �� 2007, Percy Harvin touched the ball 142 times (59 receptions and 83 carries) and averaged 11.4 yards per touch. He averaged 9.2 yards per carry, which was the highest by any player in the nation in 2007 and the second-highest by any player in the country since at least 1996 (Anthony Alridge, Houston, 2006, 10.1). �� As a group, the Florida wide receivers carried the ball 115 times for 943 yards and seven touchdowns (avg. 8.2 yards per carry) in 2007. �� Last season, Andre Caldwell was the only receiver to enter the season with more than three touchdown receptions. This year, three receivers each enter with six (Harvin, Murphy and Cooper). In addition, running back Kestahn Moore has three career touchdown receptions. In �� 2007, Aaron Hernandez has had nine catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Seven of his catches, 144 of his yards and one of his touchdowns came in the last four games of the year. �� Tate Casey has caught 24 passes in his career, seven of which have been for touchdowns. OFFENSIVE LINE �� The Florida offensive line enters the 2008 season with 72 combined careers starts after beginning 2007 with 65 and 2006 with 18, which was the lowest in the SEC and second-lowest in the nation. The chart below reflects where Florida’s 2008 total ranks in the league: 1. Ole Miss 101 2. LSU 95 3. Alabama 93 4. Tennessee 87 5. South Carolina 75 6. Florida 72 �� Jason Watkins and Jim Tartt return in 2008 after starting every game in 2007. In addition, Maurkice Pouncey returns after starting 11 of 13 games. Phil Trautwein, who started each game in 2006 at left tackle, returns after missing the 2007 season due to a stress fractured in his right foot suffered in preseason drills. �� Projected opening game offensive line, which on average is 6’5”, 304: Center - Maurkice Pouncey Started 11 games in 2007 at RG Right Guard - Mike Pouncey Moved back to OL after starting four games at DT in 2007 Left Guard - Jim Tartt Started each game in 2007 at LG Left Tackle - Phil Trautwein Returns from injury after starting all 14 games in 2006 at LT Right Tackle - Jason Watkins Started each game in 2007 at LT �� Florida starting offensive line includes four returning starters (Ma. Pouncey, Tartt, Watkins, Trautwein) and three fifth-year seniors (Tartt, Watkins, Trautwein). �� Jim Tartt’s 18-straight starts rank as the longest active streak on the team. Tartt’s 29 career starts leads all Gators, while Phil Trautwein and Jason Waktins are tied with Percy Harvin and Kestahn Moore for the second-highest total (15). Nearyly half (72-of-153) of the combined returning career starts by UF’s offensive players are from members of the offensive line (47.0 pct.) �� Four members of the projected starting offensive line for the season opener are from the state of Florida. In the last 13 seasons, four members of the starting day offensive line have been from the state of Florida on eight occasions. �� Sacks allowed under Coach Meyer: Year Total Rank (National/SEC) Note 2005 35 T94/9 One-or-less allowed in three games 2006 23 42/6 One-or-less allowed in seven games 2007 13 T5/T2 No sacks allowed in seven games �� Maurkice Pouncey will be the fourth different player in four years at starting center under head coach Urban Meyer at Florida (2005, Mike Degory; 2006, Steve Rissler, 2007, Drew Miller). The other three were all seniors. THE DEFENSE �� Florida returns eight starters on defense in 2008 after bringing back only two in 2007. Returning to the defense are DT Javier Estopinan, DE Jermaine Cunningham, LB A.J. Jones, LB Brandon Spikes, LB Dustin Doe, CB, Wondy Pierre-Louis, CB Joe Haden, FS Major Wright. Departing are DE Derrick Harvey, DT Clint McMillan, SS Tony Joiner. �� Entering 2008, the Gators return nine of the top 12 leaders in tackles from the 2007 season, including each of the top three. When the 2007 season began, UF had only two of its top 12 tacklers from the prior year and had lost both of its top two leaders in the department. �� The defensive players returning in 2008 have combined for a total of 103 career starts. Entering the 2007 season, the total number of career defensive starts returning to the team was 36. �� Entering 2007 only three Gators had recorded a sack in their collegiate career. Entering 2008, a dozen returnees have done so. �� Over the past three seasons, UF has ranked first in the SEC and second in the nation in rushing defense allowing just 89.7 yards per game. Only one other SEC team ranks in the top 20 in the category during the span (LSU, 10th, 98.4): Team Yds./Game 1. Ohio State 85.2 2. Florida 89.7 3. TCU 90.3 Virginia Tech 90.3 5. Boston College 91.0 �� In the last 63 games, the Gators have scored points off turnovers in 43 games. 261 of UF’s points under head coach Urban Meyer have come off turnovers. LINEBACKERS �� Last year, UF did not have a scholarship linebacker that was an upperclassman. This season, UF has three juniors (Dustin Doe, Brandon Spikes, Ryan Stamper). �� Brandon Spikes was a consensus first-team All-SEC selection in 2007. It marked the first time since 1999 (Jamie Winborn, Vanderbilt) that an underclassman linebacker earned Coaches’ First-Team All-SEC honors in the league. In �� 2007, Brandon Spikes and Dustin Doe were Florida’s leading tacklers with 131 and 85, respectively. In 2006, Earl Everett finished with 85 tackles to lead the Gators. A linebacker has led the Gators in the department each of the last three seasons and five of the last six. In �� the Capital One Bowl against Michigan, Brandon Spikes recovered a fumble. He led the gators in 2007 with three recoveries, while Dustin Doe had two. The pair combined for five of UF’s nine recovered fumbles in 2007. �� Brandon Spikes finished first among all linebackers and second the team overall with 16.0 tackles for a loss in 2007. SECONDARY �� The returning members to the secondary have 38 career starts between them. Wondy Pierre- Louis leads the group with 13 starts. His streak of 13-straight starts is tied with three others for the second-longest streak on the team (Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, Jason Watkins). �� No cornerback on the Florida roster has started a collegiate game entering the 2007 season opener. This year, the group has 29 combined career starts. �� Major Wright returns as the groups leading tackler for them 2007 season and the third-leading tackler on the team with 67. He appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman and started seven. He led the team and tied for first in the SEC in forced fumbles with four on the year. �� Prior to the season, Cade Holliday who was a wide receiver switched to the safety position as did redshirt sophomore Justin Williams. �� The 2008 season marks the first time in three years that the Gators have not had two new starting cornerbacks. �� Of the players on the 2007 team, only Tony Joiner had made an interception the previous season. In 2007, nine players made an interception for the Gators and each return to the team except Joiner. �� The returning members of the secondary have accounted for four career interceptions combined entering this season. For the last two years, the total has been seven. In records dating back to 1985, four is the fewest UF has ever entered a season with (1993, 2004 and 2008). �� Florida’s defense has intercepted 85 passes since 2003, when Charlie Strong took over as defensive coordinator. The five-year total is tied for the seventh-highest in the nation over the time period and is the best among SEC teams: Total Interceptions from 2003-Present 1. Boise State 93 Boston College 93 3. Virginia Tech 92 4. Oregon State 90 �� Florida has had an interception in 34 of the past 51 games. In 2006, Florida led the SEC with 21 interceptions. UF’s 16 in 2005 tied with Georgia for the highest amount by any team in the league. �� Since 2003, 35 of Florida’s 85 interceptions have come against teams ranked inside the top 25. The total is the second-highest among all teams nationally: Interceptions vs. AP Top-25 teams Since 2003 1. Georgia 38 2. Florida 35 DEFENSIVE LINE �� Florida returns players who accounted for 26 starts on the defensive line in 2007. Four of the starts were by Mike Pouncey who switched back to offensive line in the spring of 2008. Entering the 2007 season, UF returned players who accounted for only eight starts the previous year. Including Pouncey’s four starts, the returning players to this years team have made 28 career starts, which is tied for eighth in the SEC: 1. Kentucky 68 2. South Carolina 67 3. Ole Miss 65 4. LSU 64 5. Arkansas 61 6. Georgia 56 �� Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham returns to the team as the career leader in sacks (6.5) and ranks second in tackles for loss (12.0) behind Brandon Spikes (17.0) �� Entering the 2007 season only three returning Gators had recorded a sack in their career and two of those only had one. This year a dozen returning players have had a sack in their career. �� The defensive line enters this season having lost only one player to the NFL draft from the previous year (Derrick Harvey). Prior to 2007, the unit had four players selected in the draft (Jarvis Moss, Ray McDonald, Marcus Thomas, Joe Cohen). Florida has had six defensive linemen drafted under Coach Meyer. The total is the highest in the nation over the past three years. SPECIAL TEAMS �� UF returns its punter (Chas Henry), long-snapper (James Smith), holder (Butch Rowley) and kick and punt returner (Brandon James). �� For the second straight season, no returning player has attempted a field goal in their collegiate career. �� Florida was the only school in the nation to allow only five punt returns in 2007. The Gators gave up only 22 yards on the five returns, which is also the lowest total in the country, and established a new school record. The total was also the lowest allowed in any season by a team since at least 1996. The previous low for fewest punt return yards allowed in a season was 47 yards on 11 punt returns in 1990. �� Brandon James led the team in both kickoff returns and punt returns in 2006 and 2007. James averaged 18.2 yards per kickoff and 28.0 in 2007 (17th nationally, second in the SEC). In the punt return department, James had an average of 11.0 in 2006 (fifth in the SEC and 26th nationally) and averaged 18.1 yards in 2007 (second nationally, first in the SEC). �� After blocking a school-record eight kicks in 2006, the Gators blocked four in 2007. In 2007, Jarred Fayson was the only returnee that had blocked a kick the prior season. Each of the four players that blocked a kick in 2007 return to the 2008 squad. �� The chart below reflects how Urban Meyer-coached teams make a difference on special teams: Punt Returns for a TD Under Urban Meyer (6) Blocked Kicks Under Urban Meyer (37) 2007 1 2007 4 (4 punts) 2006 1 2006 8 (5 punts, 2 FG, 1XP) 2005 1 2005 5 (2 punts, 2 FG, 1 XP) 2004 1 2004 9 (7 punts, 2 FG) 2003 1 2003 2 (2 FG) 2002 0 2002 8 (7 punts, 1 FG) 2001 1 2001 1 (1 FG) �� Since his first year as a head coach in 2001, Urban Meyer’s teams have blocked the third-highest total number of kicks among all teams nationally: 1. Texas 46 2. Fresno State 43 3. Urban Meyer Coached Teams 37 4. N.C. State 35 5. Virginia Tech 32 ��Under head coach Urban Meyer, UF has been perfect on executing fake punts on fourth down: Date Opponent Converted 10/1/05 at Alabama Everett, 32-yard reverse 10/29/05 vs. Georgia Wilbur, 20-yard run 1/2/06 vs. Iowa Latsko, five-yard run 12/2/06 vs. Arkansas Cornelius, 17-yard run 1/1/07 vs. Michigan Henry 15-yard pass to Hernandez �� Lowest Total Punt Return Yards Allowed 2005-2007 1. Florida 153 2. Iowa 240 3. Ohio State 272 THE SCHEDULE �� UF opens the season on Aug. 30, 2008, against Hawaii in Gainesville. The Gators start the year with two-straight home games, as Miami visits “The Swamp” for the first time since 2002 on Sept. 6. �� Arkansas returns to the SEC portion of the schedule, with Florida making the trip to Fayetteville, Ark., on Oct. 4. The game will be the first for the Gators at Arkansas since the 2003 season. �� UF plays seven teams that made bowl appearances last season (Hawaii, Kentucky, Florida State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and LSU). THE STAFF �� For the first time since his initial season, head coach Urban Meyer introduced new members of the coaching staff as the following assistants will be in their first year in Gainesville in 2008: Dan McCarney (Assistant Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line); Kenny Carter (Running Backs); Vance Bedford (Cornerbacks). �� There are 11 new coordinators at SEC schools this fall. Florida and Vanderbilt are the only two schools in the league that have had their offensive and defensive coordinators in the position at their school each of the last three seasons. �� The Florida defensive staff enters spring football with 102 years of combined collegiate coaching experience: Chuck Heater (32), Charlie Strong (25), Vance Bedford (15), Dan McCarney (30). �� Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong will be entering his sixth season at the position. The last time UF had a defensive coordinator for that length of time was Doug Knotts who held the position from 1970-78. Only Knotts and Gene Ellenson (1963-69) have held the position longer than Coach Strong in UF records dating back to 1960.
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