Wednesday Report

Florida's true freshman quarterback will head home this weekend to have his high school jersey retired....

As Florida ended its final practice of the bye week Wednesday, several Gators said they would make the trip back to their hometowns during the break. For QB Chris Leak, his vacation will be a bit more special than most.

The true freshman's former high school, Independence High in Charlotte, N.C., will retire Leak's jersey during halftime of Friday's third-round playoff game. Curtis Leak, Chris' father, said a ceremony has been planned to honor the No. 12, worn six consecutive years by Chris and his brother, C.J. Leak.

C.J. is a senior backup quarterback at Tennessee. During their careers at Independence High, the pair accumulated more than 21,000 yards and 248 touchdowns. Chris was responsible for 15,593 yards, the second most in national high school history, and 185 touchdown passes, the national high school record.

"They're calling it the Leak Legacy around here," their father said. "It's really a nice thing they're doing for them. They're really making it a special homecoming for Chris."

Although both brothers were scheduled to attend, C.J. couldn't find a flight back to Knoxville in time for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. Chris will accept both ceremonial jerseys as a result.

OL' BALL COACH PRAISES ZOOK

Former coach Steve Spurrier may live far from Gainesville these days, but his old ball team isn't far from his mind. Spurrier praised the work of Coach Ron Zook on a Washington Redskins teleconference Wednesday, continuing to refer to the Gators as "us."

"Excellent, excellent, excellent job Coach Zook and that staff and the team have done," Spurrier said. "Nowadays in college football it's hard to dominate. You've got to win your close games. The Gators have done that this year. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. I don't know if Tennessee can lose one or not to get us in the [Southeastern Conference Championship] game. But it's been a wonderful season."

YOUNG GUNS

Youth has certainly played a critical – and abundant – role for the Gators this season, but recent history would suggest that isn't such a bad thing.

Florida has used 14 true freshmen to date, tied for the second-most in the team's history. The Gators also played 14 freshmen in 2000, which was also the last time they won a Southeastern Conference championship.

Fifteen true freshmen were used in 1982, the most in school history. The Gators finished 8-4 that season.

BRIEFLY

TB Ran Carthon missed Wednesday's practice because of the flu. The senior also sat out of Tuesday's practice. Zook said he was held out because doctors didn't want the illness to spread. Last week, TB Ciatrick Fason came down with a similar bug. The sophomore returned to rush for 190 yards against South Carolina. "It's a little bit worse than what Ciatrick had last week," Zook said. "Maybe that means Ran will have the big game next week." ###


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