Florida Notebook 10/27

There wasn't any hesitation in Ron Zook's voice regarding the usual debate about whether a week off came at the right time.<br><br> For Florida, it did.

"I think it's exactly what we needed," Ron Zook, the second-year Gator boss said. It's an easy argument to make that the break came at a bad time. The Gators barely survived a visit to Kentucky, then lost at home to Ole Miss. But Florida stormed back by beating LSU in Baton Rouge and Arkansas on the road as well, both opponents ranked higher than the Gators.

To say Florida had momentum is an understatement. But maybe the Gators got the right work in to sustain it.

"We were able to get better as a football team.," he said, "working back on fundamentals and so forth, able to get away for a little bit, get a little rest."

The last time Florida played Georgia after a playing date was 1992. The 20th-ranked Gators beat Louisville 31-17 on Oct. 24, then nipped No. 7 Georgia 26-24 on Oct. 31.

It was a year later, the second season of divisions in the SEC, that the schedule gave Florida the week off before the Georgia game. Florida regularly played Auburn the week before the Bulldogs.

The Gators are 18-6 after a bye week, and 9-1 when Georgia's that first team waiting. Zook is happy his team had a chance, go back to work on some simple things, but he's not sure about any strategic advantage to the time off.

"It's more important that you get a little rest and refuel yourself and once again go back and work on the things that you know Georgia's gonna work on to beat you."

Only two teams on Florida's schedule this year have losing records. San Jose State, a 65-3 season-opening victim, is 2-5 and off a 77-14 whipping by Boise State. And Vanderbilt, which is at Florida next week, is 1-7. Kentucky, which blew its chance to beat Florida in Lexington, is 4-4. Overall, Gator opponents are 60-30.

The Gators have played 14 true freshmen this year, including quarterback Chris Leak. Five true freshmen have started: Leak, linebacker Channing Crowder (of Atlanta), guard Steve Rissler, linebacker Earl Everett, and defensive tackle Marcus Thomas

Florida has scored less than 20 points in three games so far this year. Last time the Gators have done that? Not since 1989, when the Gators had games of 19, 16, 7, 10, 17, and 7 en route to a 7-5 mark.

Not surprisingly, that was the last year for Galen Hall, and the season before Steve Spurrier arrived. ...

Four different Gators have started at middle linebacker and at strongside linebacker, three on the weak side. The same trio hasn't started in consecutive games.

The secondary has had the same four starters for every game, and Florida's pretty much stuck with a consistent rotation at wideout. ...

Injury update: The Gators will get at least a few days of practice from tailback Ran Carthon (hamstring), Ciatrick Fason (hamstring) and DeShawn Wynn (shoulder). Defensive tackle Mo Mitchell broke a bone in his hand against Arkansas and is in a cast, but won't miss any time.

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