Gator News and World Report (12/30/2005)

The Gator News and World Report for Friday, December 30, 2005. Iowa doesn't need big names to light its fire; Goin' bowlin'; Brooks vital in tourney victory; No. 5 UF strengthens post defense; Trip to ER was first on Leak's list in Tampa; Despite knee injury, Washington OK to play; Action, Jackson?; No Washout This Time; UF's Siler Thinking Degree, Not NFL; Younger Mattison still close to Meyer; Degory set for last college game and more....

Florida Gator Football

Iowa doesn't need big names to light its fire
It's in the eyes. They see because they have no other choice. They see quarterbacks in high school who have the smarts to run a system. They see them as defensive backs and linebackers. They see potential. They see passion. They see possibilities.

Into the spotlight
During the sweat-soaked days of August, Jarvis Moss was shuffling around campus with an IV attached to his arm, Billy Latsko's position didn't even exist yet and Reggie Lewis was still making the conversion from wide receiver to cornerback.

Goin' bowlin'
Great UF bowl moment 1988 All-American Bowl: It was a disappointing season that ended with the only bowl win of Galen Hall's Gator coaching career. On the first play of the game, Emmitt Smith ran 55 yards for a touchdown. The game's MVP, Smith also scored the game-winner from two yards out and Huey Richardson's sack of Illinois quarterback Jeff George finished off the 14-10 victory.

Trip to ER was first on Leak's list in Tampa
Florida football coach Urban Meyer received some sobering news when he arrived in Tampa on Sunday evening for the Outback Bowl.

Despite knee injury, Washington OK to play
Despite dislocating his kneecap in Wednesday's practice, Florida starting offensive guard Tavares Washington is expected to play in Monday's Outback Bowl game against Iowa, UF coach Urban Meyer said Thursday.

Coach's son proved doctors wrong about playing
He had been through it before, the surgery and the rehabilitation, but he had never heard the words before.

Action, Jackson?
The Southeastern Conference's leading receiver said he will forgo his senior season at Florida if the paperwork he filed with the NFL comes back and lists him as a first- or second-round draft pick.

OUTBACK BOWL NOTEBOOK: Gator recalls a career 'down'
Vernell Brown never thinks about the failed reverse pass that ended Florida's chance of beating Michigan in the 2003 Outback Bowl.

No Washout This Time
The practice-field conversations Vernell Brown overheard had little to do with the University of Iowa's blocking schemes.

Linebacker Duo Proves Opposites Attract
Abdul Hodge was raised by his mother in Fort Lauderdale and, with a 4-year-old daughter, has had to grow up quick. Chad Greenway was raised by both parents in a small farming town in South Dakota and isn't always politically correct.

A Party Game Plan
As one of Tampa Bay's most prestigious sporting events, the Outback Bowl will include plenty of merrymaking Monday by fans, sponsors and the college teams. But parties, dinners and networking events began months ago as bowl organizers try to meet the social expectations of corporate sponsors who pour millions of dollars into the game.

UF's Siler Thinking Degree, Not NFL
Count Florida LB Brandon Siler as one Gator who wasn't included in Coach Urban Meyer's Wednesday message about players thinking too much about the NFL.

Meyer looks to sack selfishness
A little short of a year ago, Florida Coach Urban Meyer started learning that his new job came with disturbing warts.

Younger Mattison still close to Meyer
By now, most fans know that the Outback Bowl pairing has placed Florida defensive assistant coach Greg Mattison across the field from his son Bryan Mattison, an Iowa defensive lineman. But Bryan also shares a bond with another member of Florida's staff: Coach Urban Meyer.

Degory set for last college game
They're going to miss Mike Degory, who fits Florida like an old pair of tennis shoes or your favorite jacket. It's always like that with those lunch-bucket guys who slowly settle in and become the rocks, the anchors and the heart of the team. You see them every day, and you just know they will always be there.

This year's Gators a different team
What's the difference between this Florida team and the one that was embarrassed by Iowa 37-17 two years ago in the Outback Bowl? This team cares, according to some Gators players.

Was Zook's reputation deeper than the team he left?
When Iowa defensive end Kenny Iwebema thinks of the Florida Gators, one word comes to mind. "It's speed, speed, speed," Iwebema said.

Florida-Iowa game will divide a family for 60 minutes Gators' defensive coordinator is Greg Mattison;
They may not be sharing secrets this week but Bryan and Greg Mattison are surely sharing an experience of a lifetime.

This version of Gators learned from the past
Remember Mr. Fun? The guy you used to run with who was always the life of the party, king of the bar? Lit up a room like a Roman candle, told the best jokes, charmed the ladies, cleaned up at the pool table. Talked his way into phone numbers and out of all kinds of trouble.

Urban adjustments
The first time he came to Florida, Urban Meyer was 17, a hotshot shortstop with aspirations of reaching the major leagues and playing on television alongside Dale Murphy.

This time, Gators are focused on Hawks
While many people, including myself, were shocked at the outcome of the 2004 Outback Bowl, Florida defensive back Vernell Brown wasn't.

Gators won't take Hawkeyes lightly
Florida safety Jarvis Herring admits the Gators did not take Iowa seriously two years ago and wound up getting pasted. The senior said that will not be the case again when the teams meet Monday in the Outback Bowl for the second time in three seasons.

Mattisons don't match up
On Tuesday, the family will gather in Gainesville and finally unwrap the Christmas presents.

UF's Washington will play
Florida senior offensive lineman Tavares Washington suffered a dislocated knee cap in the early workouts for next Monday's Outback Bowl, but Gators coach Urban Meyer expects him to play.

UF vows that this time, it'll care
Just call it a week of confessions and promises for Florida. Thursday, some Gators openly admitted that when they met Iowa in the 2003 Outback Bowl, they weren't prepared to play.

Florida aware of versatile Young
The more Florida linebacker Brandon Siler studies tape of Albert Young, the more he appreciates the way the Iowa sophomore works. "He's so patient, so versatile. The more you watch, the more you understand why he's put up the numbers he has this season," Siler said Thursday as the Gators continued preparations for Monday's Outback Bowl match-up with the Hawkeyes.

Florida Gator Basketball

No. 5 UF strengthens post defense
lorida is on pace to break a school record in blocked shots this season. The chance to break that mark, however, is not a priority for coach Billy Donovan.

Florida A&M at Florida TIME: 1 p.m. TV: Sun Sports RADIO: 540 AM (WFLF) RECORDS: FAMU 4-7, Florida 11-0

Florida Lady Gator Basketball

Brooks vital in tourney victory
ha Brooks never lost her breath Thursday night. At times, she was running so hard she looked like she could.

Freshman rallies UF to ninth straight win
Freshman Sha Brooks had career highs with 22 points and eight rebounds in leading Florida to its ninth straight win and its 13th State Farm Classic title as the Gators defeated Liberty 73-50 Thursday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

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