Gator News and World Report (12/31/2005)

The Gator News and World Report for Saturnday, December 31, 2005. Beating the odds; Gators easily dispose of FAMU; Gator trio relishes life beyond football; Opposites in many ways, pair finds unlikely friendship; Brown, Washington not 100 percent, but will play; It's just a family thing; Playoff? Meyer's new view; Gators rattle Florida A&M with big second-half surge; Hawkeye Proves Doctors Wrong; Nightlife not high priority for players and more...

Florida Gator Football

Beating the odds
Looking through the glass window with a phone to his ear, Clinton Solomon could see himself. His father was on the other side of the glass, has been since Solomon was 9 years old when he was sent to prison in Abilene, Texas. Drugs got him.

Gator trio relishes life beyond football
Mike Degory, Lance Butler and Randy Hand never won a championship at Florida, but they will walk away after Monday's Outback Bowl with something far more significant, far more precious.

Opposites in many ways, pair finds unlikely friendship
For seniors on both sides of the field on Monday, the Outback Bowl will be the last college game. It's difficult to imagine any of them who will be more missed than two Iowa linebackers who couldn't be more far apart or more together.

Goin' Bowlin'
1992 Gator Bowl: The fog rolled in on Jacksonville but it did nothing to stop a Florida offense that had struggled at times during the season. The Gators dominated N.C. State 27-10 as Shane Matthews capped off his stellar career by throwing for 247 yards and two TDs. The Wolfpack had no answer for RB Errict Rhett, who ran for 182 yards on 39 carries and caught seven passes for 42 yards.

Brown, Washington not 100 percent, but will play
Starting cornerback Vernell Brown and starting offensive guard Tavares Washington probably won't be 100 percent for Monday's game, but both are expected to play, UF coach Urban Meyer said Friday.

It's just a family thing
When Iowa's Bryan Mattison was going through the recruiting process, he eliminated Notre Dame quickly because he said his mother Ann didn't like his potential position coach.

Playoff? Meyer's new view
Urban Meyer was a staunch supporter of a playoff system for college football. Then he started working in the Southeastern Conference. Now he likes the bowl system the way it is.

Family Faceoff
University of Iowa defensive end Bryan Mattison has explained hundreds of times why he didn't go to Notre Dame, but the reason never fails to draw a laugh.

Hawkeye Proves Doctors Wrong
If battling back from injury can make a player appreciate football more, Brian Ferentz should be overcome with emotion when he takes the field for his final game as an Iowa Hawkeye in Monday's Outback Bowl.

Iowa Assistant Coach Has Yogi-Like Wit
Iowa's assistant coaches only talk to the media a few times a year, which is a shame because defensive coordinator Norm Parker is almost Yogi Berra-like in his witticisms.

Nightlife not high priority for players
Going out? Don't bother inviting Avery Atkins. The Florida cornerback would rather sleep. Or play cards. Or play NCAA Football 2006 on some video-game console.

Not your typical father-son outing
UF defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and son Bryan, a starter for Iowa's defense, are enjoying this week. Greg said: `What could be better?'

Leak was in hospital
Sick of playing in the Outback Bowl? That wasn't the reason, but Florida quarterback Chris Leak definitely was a sick young man when he arrived in Tampa this week to prepare for his second Outback Bowl in three years.

McDonald needs second knee surgery
Florida Gators defensive lineman and Glades Central graduate Ray McDonald will undergo his second knee surgery in a month Thursday, coach Urban Meyer said.

Boynton's Sims happy to return to Florida
Iowa running back Damian Sims can quickly tell you what has surprised him the most two years after moving from Boynton Beach to Iowa City.

How would Caesar have dealt with Florida's fan base?
What I loved about 2005: Brian Hill coming back. What I hated about 2005: Jeff Bowden staying put. . . . Ron Zook leads the Gators to eight victories and the Outback Bowl and gets reviled;

Florida Gator Basketball

Gators easily dispose of FAMU
With a balky knee and a sulky attitude, Florida forward Chris Richard endured moments of self-doubt in his first two years on campus.

Gators rattle Florida A&M with big second-half surge
An eight-day layoff did nothing to slow Florida on Friday afternoon. The fifth-ranked Gators returned with a high-energy performance in an 84-47 win against Florida A&M in front of 10,227 at the O'Connell Center.

UF subs torpedo FAMU
Florida's starting five, all of whom average double figures in points, carried the Gators to a school record 11-0 season.

Gators remain unbeaten
Joakim Noah scored 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting, and Chris Richard had 13 points and nine rebounds as fifth-ranked Florida remained undefeated by beating visiting Florida A&M 84-47 on Friday.

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