Florida Quarterback Stands On Merit

FAYETTEVILLE — In a round about way, Chris Leak said he never really thought he needed any validation for his football career at Florida.

Leak, a 6-foot, 207-pound senior, was peppered with some questions about not possibility living up to his high expectations, but politely avoided them like a blitzing linebacker during a Monday teleconference. He actually never answered one question and a follow up. "My heart is always going to be with the Gators," Leak said. "I've never really thought about it. That's one reason I came here, to win championships. One thing, you come here as a Gator is to win titles. I'd like to get one under my belt, especially my senior year for these seniors. "It would be a great feeling." Actually, Leak probably shouldn't have had to address that question because Florida coach Urban Meyer had his back from the get-go. "I think what happens at a place like Florida, so many people are interested in passing yardage or a variety of other things," Myer said. "But the bottom line is, have you taken your team to the championship game in Atlanta? There's been a tradition of great quarterbacks through here in the 90s, and if you really study Florida, that's how you are evaluated ... that's why Chris really answered that challenge. "He's focused on being a team leader." And because of that No. 4 Florida is meeting No. 8 Arkansas in the Georgia Dome on Saturday for the whole enchilada in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Any more questions? This matchup gets spicier since Leak and Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden were named Co-SEC Offensive Players of the Week on Monday As a footnote, Leak is 191 of 299 passing for 2,540 yards and 21 touchdowns and needs just 65 yards to break Danny Wuerffel's school mark of 10,875 yards. He enters the SEC Championship Game ranked third in the conference in touchdown passes (21) and completion percentage (63.9 percent), as well as fourth in passing efficiency (151.1), passing average per game (211.7 yards) and passing yards (2,540). His 21 scoring tosses exceed his total of 20 from a year ago, and match or better the Florida leader in touchdown passes from 40 of the last 50 years. One would think, that's validation enough. "This is it," Leak said. "We are real exited. These seniors have gone through a lot the past four years. We are finally able to have an opportunity to reach that goal. That's why you come to Florida, to play for an SEC title. "That's what we have expected out of ourselves. It makes you proud that you have an opportunity to go up there and have a chance at a championship."

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