2003 SEC Football Preview- Florida

Last year the Florida Gators finished a disappointing 8-5 under rookie head coach Ron Zook. One year later, without quarterback Rex Grossman, can the Gators return to prominence? In today's edition of our 2003 SEC Football preview, our staff analyzes the Gators and makes a season prediction.

COACHING

Head Coach: Ron Zook (Career Rec: 8-5 )
Offensive Coordinator: Ed Zaunbrecher
Defensive Coordinator: Charlie Strong

2002 Record: 8-5 overall (6-2 SEC)

2002 NCAA STATS RANKINGS

Total Offense: 25th (406.92)
Rushing Offense: 73rd (136.23)
Passing Offense: 20th (270.69)
Scoring Offense: 69th (25.85)
Total Defense:25th (325.54)
Rushing Defense: 68th (163.15)
Pass Efficiency Defense: 28th (108.98
Scoring Defense:31st (21.46)

Florida defensive back Guss Scott had two interceptions and 11 pass deflections along with 102 tackles in 2002. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

STARTERS RETURNING

Offense (6):

*LT Max Starks (6-8, 330, Sr.)
LG Shannon Snell (6-5, 312, Sr.)
C Mike Degory (6-6, 304, So.)
WR Carlos Perez (5-11, 202, Sr.)
OT Jonathan Colon (6-7, 310, Jr.)
WR Kelvin Kight (6-0, 200, Sr.)

Defense (3):

*CB Keiwan Ratliff (5-11, 182, Sr.)
*SS Guss Scott (5-10, 200, Sr.)
SS Cory Bailey (5-11, 185, Jr.)

* All-Star Candidates

Florida Roster

TEAM STRENGTHS

Offensive line, defensive secondary

TEAM QUESTION MARKS

Running back, quarterback, linebackers, defensive line.

KEY GAME

September 20, Tennessee. This is a no brainer. The Vol- Gator matchup has turned into one of the most important games annually, nationally.

HEAD COACHES COMMENTS

"Exciting time of year, the Southeastern Conference is great conference, better be ready to play every single day, lot of question marks about university of Florida. August 30 we'll have 46 new guys come out of that tunnel. Lot of guys that haven't played a lot of football. But our players have worked extremely hard this summer, and we're looking forward to getting started."

"Every year a coach evaluates everything, not only things that didn't go as well as want to, but things that did go well. Lot of times things happen, anytime in second year, you know the direction, more productive as a staff, players know coaches, coaches know the players, know what players do best, you don't spend a lot of time on organization, able to be more productive and you become a better staff."

"What we look for in all Quarterbacks is guy who is a competitor, a winner, Rex was special in that manner. Talked with Ingle a lot in off season about being a competitor. Ingle came in spring with great attitude, this was my job to lose. Last year when you know you're the backup and only chance to play is if starter gets hurt, hard to keep at sharp level, ready to play. I was really impressed with his attitude, way he attacked this spring."

"Ingle (Martin) has shown me, him and Gavin Dickey both, that they can run this offense and be very effective, whoever becomes starting quarterback has to show that consistently they can do what have to do for us to score a lot of points, this system will use their abilities. We have enough people around them that will make us a productive offense. Not ask any of our Quarterbacks to be the guy to win the game for us, just use your abilities. Whoever is the most consistent and gives us the opportunity to win games. Our practices will be open in beginning, then get into game week we'll close them."

"Kenny Parker comes through, he's gone through spring and summer without problems, we as a coaching staff have got to protect Kenny with his back. No problems to date. He played as a true freshman at Florida. If he stays healthy, can be as good as any we had last year. Holcomb, a junior college lineman, not come on as fast as offensive lineman, but has worked hard, put on 15 pounds of muscle, he understands will have opportunity to be impact player in the front, those 2 guys are looking to hold the middle down for us."

"I think any football coach will tell you probably be as good as senior leadership. One thing I noticed over the summer, from time started winter workouts, senior class began to take over, kind of a passing of the order so to speak, when a class realizes this their last year, step it up a little bit, kind of take over. This class has done that. Impressed with way began to lead."

VandyMania Projection

The Gators lost a lot on defense and also must replace a good quarterback but an not-so-horrid schedule will keep them in the SEC East hunt. 9-3 overall. 6-2 SEC.

2003 SCHEDULE AND PREDICTIONS

Aug. 30 San Jose State, W 56-7
Sept. 6 at Miami (Fla.), L 28-31
Sept. 13 Florida A&M, W 63-3
Sept. 20 Tennessee, L 27-24
Sept. 27 at Kentucky, W 31-21
Oct. 4 Ole Miss, W 38-34
Oct. 11 at Louisiana State, W 24-13
Oct. 18 at Arkansas, L 21-17
Nov. 1 Georgia, W 27-23
Nov. 8 Vanderbilt, W 31-17
Nov. 15 at South Carolina, W 27-17
Nov. 29 Florida State, W 27-24


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