Gator News and World Report (1/14/2007)

The Gator News and World Report for Sunday, January 15, 2007. Road rout; Leak, Wuerffel share lifetime Gator bond; Many Gator fans were ready to celebrate early; 70,000 celebrate with team at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; Past UF champs inspire and cheer on the Gators; Leak leaves title legacy; Big-play ability grows on Moss; Siler Opts For NFL Draft and more..

Florida Gator Football

Leak, Wuerffel share lifetime Gator bond
On a day where hands were sore and voices rough from clapping and cheering, there had to be something special at the end. Florida officials kept it a secret to all but a handful of people.

Many Gator fans were ready to celebrate early
Hours before the Gators' national championship celebration began Saturday, Gators fans were already swarming around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Leak, three teammates to play in Senior Bowl
Florida will be represented in the Jan. 27 Senior Bowl by quarterback Chris Leak, wide receiver Dallas Baker, linebacker Earl Everett and defensive end Ray McDonald, who each played a role in the Gators' championship season.

70,000 celebrate with team at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
A sea of orange- and blue-clad fans shot to their feet and exploded into a thunderous roar as the newly crowned national champion Florida football team raced onto Florida Field today.

'A special day for the Gators and the fans'
The Gator football team will get a mega-reception today as tens of thousands of fans pack Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to celebrate Florida's historic BCS National Championship.

Past UF champs inspire and cheer on the Gators
The shadow has been there for 10 years, not only spiritual but as concrete on the south wall of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The 1996 Florida football team has been a heavy bar for each succeeding team to grip.

Swamped by cheers
Chris Leak nearly cried. As he stood on the temporary stage near Florida Field's south end zone Saturday afternoon, the senior quarterback needed a moment to compose himself before he could say anything to the estimated 50,000 fans who had gathered to celebrate the Gators' national football championship.

Leak leaves title legacy
To hear Chris Leak's critics during the 2006 preseason and even into Florida's early Southeastern Conference schedule, one would think that Gators coach Urban Meyer had plucked his senior quarterback from the Island of Misfit Toys.

Meyer rockets to top of profession
In the hours after Florida's 41-14 victory over Ohio State in the Bowl Championship Series national championship game last Monday, UF coach Urban Meyer returned to his room at the team's hotel to celebrate privately with his family.

Big-play ability grows on Moss
Jarvis Moss made two big plays that helped Florida clinch the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title.

His speed fills a need
A preseason hip ailment and an ankle injury during the third game of the season at Tennessee prevented Percy Harvin from making more of an impact early in Florida's 2006 season

SEC never better
Based on what transpired during the 2006 season, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says this isn't the same Southeastern Conference that his Florida Gators often steamrolled throughout the 1990s.

Siler Opts For NFL Draft
After careful deliberation, University of Florida linebacker Brandon Siler will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Gators Celebrate Second National Title
Former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, Bowl Championship Series chairman Mike Slive and more than 50,000 fans were on hand Saturday to celebrate Florida's second national championship.

Florida All-American Nelson Going Pro
Florida All-American safety Reggie Nelson and defensive end Jarvis Moss confirmed Saturday they will leave school early and enter the NFL draft.

Zabransky Finally Gets to Play Gators
The Hula Bowl is the closest thing to a Boise State-Florida showdown this season.

Gators, fans unite in Gainesville to savor magical year
Florida left tackle Phil Trautwein ambled around his home football field Saturday with an orange T-shirt balled in his left hand. Each time he encountered a teammate, he would unfurl the shirt, extend a Sharpie, and ask for an autograph and a memory.

Rest of the state should hate Florida Gators
OK, Florida State fans. And UCF fans. And, yes, even the half-dozen Miami fans still out there. Time for all of you to come together for that one unifying, galvanizing goal:

Unsung seniors delivered
Amid Monday night's public praise for Gator Nation and the gratuitous shoutout to his boys at Nike, Urban Meyer again tossed a thank-you to his 21 seniors.

UF dominance comes out of the blue
The most surprising thing? It wasn't Chris Leak having the best night of his life in his last college game, though that was surprising enough. It wasn't Troy Smith, allegedly the best player in all of college football, having the worst night of his life in his last college game, though that was surprising, too.

Meyer the face of a nation
Urban Meyer the motivator, the innovator and the coach of the best team in college football turned storyteller Saturday, spinning a tale of how he first came to Florida 10 years ago.

Leak leaves his legacy
Chris Leak took the national championship game MVP trophy from Danny Wuerffel in Saturday's celebration and solidified his place in Gators lore.

Fans' fervor flows
With bags under his eyes from a long overnight drive, Matt Bowermaster sat in the front row at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday and marveled at what he saw.

Pieces fall in place
Maybe it should have been obvious, right there in the Georgia Dome, right after the final piece of the puzzle had fallen.

Gator raid
Long after the final piece of confetti fell to the turf and the last fans went Gator-chomping into the Arizona night, Urban Meyer confided his fears.

Florida shows winning national championships can be big business
By 7:30 Tuesday morning, while half of Gator Nation was still recovering from a night of raucous celebration, about 40 people already were lined up outside the University of Florida bookstore, determined to pluck the first pieces of championship merchandise off the shelves.

Swamp jubilee draws ultra-rowdy reptiles
When is No. 1 too small a number to assign a national championship football team? The answer came Saturday at The Swamp, where an estimated 70,000 Florida boosters gathered to cheer the Gators at a celebration rally broadcast statewide on live television.

Leak a vindicated champion
Quarterback Chris Leak never will forget his last handoff in The Swamp. The final play of Leak's college career was met with some of the most heartfelt cheers he'd ever received - nearly followed by a few tears from the stoic Florida senior.

Gainesville gets its national championship trophy
Former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, Bowl Championship Series chairman Mike Slive and more than 50,000 fans were on hand Saturday to celebrate Florida's second national championship.

Florida Gator Basketball

Road rout
As Florida gathered inside its locker room following an 84-50 rout of South Carolina Saturday afternoon at the Colonial Center, one player was missing.

Freshman makes defensive stand 's defense slows Carolina's scorer in second half
Billy Donovan concocted an unexpected strategy to slow down South Carolina's Tre' Kelley Saturday — stick a rarely-used freshman guard on the Gamecocks' leading scorer.

Easy win for UF this time
The last time Florida faced South Carolina, the Gators needed a blocked shot by Joakim Noah to hold off the Gamecocks in last year's Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game.

Humphrey lifts Florida over South Carolina
Second-ranked Florida played Porsche to South Carolina's Edsel on Saturday at the Colonial Center, and the Gators quickly put the Gamecocks in their rearview mirror.

Florida Gator Swimming & Diving

Gator swimming and diving down Indian River CC
The No. 9 UF women's swimming and diving team (6-1, 2-0 SEC) recorded seven first-place finishes, seven event sweeps and four NCAA provisional-qualifying times en route to a 141-83 victory over Indian River Community College on Saturday

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