Conjuring up a Great Memory

It wasn't a major notice, just a little line in the NFL transactions section under Buffalo. Adrian White named quality control assistant for defense.

White spent seven years a player in the NFL and another seven as an assistant coach in NFL Europe. He worked in the Bills training camp the past two years. So what, right?

Many of you may not know who Adrian White is or even that he was a fine safety for the Gators in the mid eighties. The Orange Park native was a ferocious hitter and was a second round pick of the New York Giants following the 1986 season. But what stands out most about Adrian White is that he made one of the greatest plays in Gator Football History.

1984 Florida @ Kentucky

The turmoil plagued 1984 season was turning out incredibly well for the Gators and interim coach Galen Hall. Florida headed to Lexington riding seven game winning streak and one more win would clinch Florida's first SEC Championship. Kentucky was a solid team with an odd defense that was hard to prepare for, but after consecutive wins over Auburn (24-3) and Georgia (27-0) the previous two weeks the Gators were feeling invincible.

Florida dominated the contest as expected, but the Gators were forced to settle for six Bobby Raymond field goals, leaving the Wildcats within shouting distance. Late in the fourth quarter with the Gators up eight the ‘Cats began to drive.

Kentucky's drive brought back all the old feelings about how the Gators were jinxed and could never win an SEC title. A Kentucky touchdown and conversion would tie the game and allow LSU to claim the title with a win that night.

Kentucky got it down to about the six yards line and then threw a touchdown pass that was waved off because of an illegal formation. On the next play, with Gator Nation holding its breath Bill Ransdell fired a laser toward the goal line on the far sideline. Adrian White stepped in front of the receiver and intercepted the pass, clinching the victory and SEC Title for the Gators.

White's play inspired the best line I've ever heard from Norm Carlson on the Gator Radio Network.

"Oh Adrian, you have no idea what you've just done for Gators everywhere"

Three days later the SEC voted to ban the Gators from the Sugar Bowl for NCAA rules violations, but said Florida would remain SEC Champions. The following May the league voted to strip the Gators of that 1984 title by a vote of 5-to-4.

But those actions didn't change the euphoria of that day. Gator fans took to the streets in Gainesville. More than 25,000 welcomed the team back to Florida Field that night and the SEC Trophy remains somewhere in Gainesville. And the play that clinched it was made by Adrian White.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


Fightin Gators Top Stories