Tuesday Bowl Report

Florida coach Ron Zook said the Gators won't be celebrating at midnight. Instead, they hope to save the party for after the game....

Because the Outback Bowl begins at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day, Florida coach Ron Zook doesn't plan on partying the night away after the clock strikes midnight. Instead, he'll simply leave his schedule open for after Thursday's game.

"We'll have all afternoon and evening to celebrate…I hope," Zook said.

The coach set a curfew of 11 p.m., meaning the Gators will be in their hotel rooms to bring in the New Year.

The evening will be treated as a typical Friday night before a game. The team will go to a movie, then switch to another hotel to refrain from any feelings of monotony.

And as for the early kickoff, Zook said he doesn't expect any problems adjusting.

"We played a lot of those 11 o'clock games on ESPN this year," Zook said. "They're used to that routine."


As Florida continues to prepare for a bowl of its own, it has been only natural for some Gators to think about the outcome of the Sugar Bowl.

When LSU plays Oklahoma for the national championship Jan. 4, there will be those that tune it to see if the Tigers – who lost their only game of the season to Florida – can pull it off.

"With them winning, people might look at us and say, ‘That Gator team must have been something if they beat the national championship winning team,'" CB Keiwan Ratliff said.

The senior admits he respects LSU's program more than some of Florida's other big-time rivals – including Tennessee and Florida State. As a result, he'll be cheering on the former opponent.

"Talking to Michael Clayton on the phone, he's never trash talked or said anything bad," Ratliff said. "He's always said good things. Even during the game, no one was out there trash talking. Anytime a team acts like that, you want to see them do good things."

That's not to say every Gator will be on LSU's side. For TB Ran Carthon, it's just the opposite.

"I guess I'm just a little bitter knowing that we beat them," Carthon said. "I don't even want to watch the game. I'm only cheering for Florida."


C Mike Degory missed his second consecutive practice after attending his grandfather's funeral. Degory was expected to return to Tampa on Tuesday night. Zook said he will play in Thursday's game….TE Ben Troupe practiced, although Zook said he was "sluggish" because of a cold. The coach said defensive coordinator Charlie Strong also felt "a little bit sick."….Considering Florida will be playing just two hours away from Gainesville on Thursday, it's no secret that the game may feel as if the Gators have a home-field edge. "I'm sure some of our fans got their hands on some tickets," Ferentz said. "But if we don't play well, it'll get noisy in there."…Zook said he continues to be impressed with Iowa tailback Fred Russell. "He reminds me of [Georgia tailback Tyson Browning]," Zook said. "He was a guy we couldn't tackle, couldn't get a hold of. He's an excellent player." ###

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