So much has been made of the poor special teams by UF last season that really was magnified during SEC games. Check this stat out. Ten of the top 36 punters in the country were from the SEC. Florida will try to improve it's punting game which will help it's defense, especially if they can move the ball enough to change field position. Ingle Martin averaged 10 yards less per punt than conference leader Glenn Pakulak from Kentucky.
Keiwan Ratliff was the highest vote getter for Gators at the SEC media days preseason ballot but I am glad Guss Scott made the first team. He has tremendous upside for the NFL and has been one of the best all around safeties in the conference for two years He deserved it and may end up having a bigger year this fall after a tremendous summer in the weight room.
The Gators were ranked number 21 by the coaches and not a big surprise to many, but if they are ranked that high by the media count me as one that will be surprised. It's hard to get ranked when your own team media won't even show some provinciality. Ronnie Brown is the SEC's leading returning rusher from Auburn and he was voted on the 2nd team at SEC media days.
I don't think Auburn is overrated and I think they will win the conference. It will be tough to go undefeated and Tuberville's record is against him. He has never won 10 games in a season and he has lost at least 4 games in every season as a head coach. To his defense he was the head coach at Ole Miss which was handcuffed with scholarship limitations. This year he has depth and a solid quarterback.
The Gators will practice in two groups this week for practice and look for a lot of teaching during the first week sessions.. The latest freshman to stand out at summer workouts has been Chad "Bubba" Jackson. He is legit prospect who could play as a freshman and one media member in Alabama told me he was the best he had ever seen in the state of Alabama.
The entire "Crocodile Gate" seems to have been blown out of proportion. One thing it did do was educate me further about alligators and crocodiles. From what I gathered, the crocodile is a little more fierce and more likely to go after you. Well that explains it! Zook will want his team to be much more salty in year two. The UF Sports Information "down sized" this year's media guide to 348 pages. In the meantime, the defending SEC Champs Georgia Bulldogs "super sized " there guide to 416 pages. Vanderbilt's was only 188, which is quick read during a mid-day bathroom break.
The Sporting News and Matt Hayes is reporting that UF is talking to Hawaii about a future game with the Rainbows. Let me be the first to support that and offer my services to go and cover it!
Practice begins on Wednesday and through Friday will be at 2pm and 4pm. Media Day is Saturday, while Fan Day is Sunday at 5pm. Next week will be the start of pads and the new look Florida team for 2003.
Stat of the Week: (1) the Number of Freshman on the All SEC team a year ago. Mike Degory was the only Gator on the team, but that will certainly change this fall with as many as 12 who could play.