This is Buddy Martin’s first GC magazine as Executive Editor and he made sure to make it a blockbuster out of the gate, with more pages, larger distribution, and more importantly — tons of great reading for Florida Gator fans everywhere!
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AUGUST 2008— Table of Contents
- A BLOOMIN’ LIFE
Ex-Gator QB Tom Shannon, a lefty like Tim Tebow, thrives on the left coast.
He’s the best lefthanded quarterback in Florida Gators football history whose name is not Tim Tebow. Tom Shannon played a long time ago. In December 1962, when John F. Kennedy ruled the White House and Urban Meyer was 19 months from birth, sophomore Shannon was MVP in Florida’s 17-7 win over Penn State in the Gator Bowl.
“There have been three Heisman Trophy quarterbacks at the University of Florida, and my stats are miles behind the numbers of Tebow (2007), Steve Spurrier (1966) and Danny Wuerffel (1996),” Shannon says. “But wow, have I had a charmed life … God has been great to me. It’s been a dream.”
Shannon became wealthy as a Tampa Bay real estate developer, then multiplied his fortune as principal owner of all the Outback Steakhouses in California. It was suggested to Tom that he might be the richest of all former Gator football players. “I don’t know about that, but if I am,” said Shannon, who is uncomfortable talking about money, “it’s not something I would brag about.
- NORTHERN EXPOSURE FOR SOUTHERN FOOTBALL
Among the glaciers, she cheers for Gators
A mass migration is in progress. Tens of thousands of scarlet backs are bumping each other, struggling to be first in line on the way home.
No, it’s not Ohio State Buckeye fans streaming to stadium exits at the 2006 National Championship game where the Gators won the crystal trophy.
This is Alaska, not Arizona, and a million sockeye red salmon are running on the Kenai River.
I’m a Gator among the glaciers.
Whenever it’s 42 degrees below zero and I need to thaw out, I TiVo Timmy Tebow. After watching Tebow and the Gators, I feel as warm as “The Swamp” during a September game.
Alaska is home to ice fields, polar bears, oil, gold, the midnight sun and vast mountain ranges. The highest mountain peak at 20,400 feet is Mount McKinley. Local Athabascan natives call the mountain “Denali,” for “great one.”
- DOUBLE TROUBLE
Lakeland’s Pouncey Twins are playing for their parents and the Florida Gators
Tyson Jackson was snarling. Flecks of spit stuck to his face mask as he let loose with a stream of threats and trash talk designed to intimidate the 18-year-old freshman that had just settled down in his three-point stance. Maurkice Pouncey was hearing none of it. He was too focused on the beast lined up on his left shoulder. That was Glenn Dorsey, college football’s most celebrated defensive lineman. Dorsey kept flexing his fingers then drawing them back into a ball, a not so subtle hint.
- OLD SCHOOL
The real football player who happens to play Quarterback
Everything about Tim Tebow reeks throwback. He has many qualities attributable to Hall of Fame quarterbacks: The aggressiveness of Brett Favre. The fierce competitiveness of John Elway. The fearlessness of a Joe Namath. The toughness of Terry Bradshaw. The heart of Johnny U. Yet, Tebow is also very much the prototypical modern college quarterback capable of moving his team on his back, his arm, his legs or his brain. What sets Tebow apart from others, however, is the joy with which he plays, which makes college football a better place.
- THIS IS HOW WE ROLL
At home or on the road, Florida’s football fans have all the answers
Sometimes John Norris will look out of his Gator Den in his home overlooking Alligator Lake not far from his Lake City law offices and remember all those good times. Those trips around the southeastern United States to watch and cheer on his beloved Florida Gators football team seem like they occurred just yesterday. There was, for instance, that time in 1970, poolside at the Holiday Inn in Tuscaloosa, Ala., when Norris and his friends were drowning their sorrows after a 46-15 loss to coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s Crimson Tide.
- HOLLYWOOD BOB’S LAST CALL
Three-deep roster already changing
The Florida Gators look to be as talented a team in 2008 as they have had under Coach Urban Meyer and maybe ever. It all starts on offense with most of the explosive Spread option attack from 2007 returning. On defense, they were young in 2007 and although youth still prevails, the experience has almost doubled and now eight starters return to a unit that should likely show the most improvement in the SEC. If this happens, this should be a special year for the Gators.
As we approach the fall and a new season several things can happen to change the depth chart along the way. We saw this first hand in mid-July when two safeties in the two-deep roster were lost for the season. Starter Dorian Munroe and second teamer John Curtis had their 2008 season ended when they both tore ACL’s in a knee.
Outside of the safety positions and at defensive tackle, the Gators are pretty set with their starters across the board at almost every other position. It is the top backups that will make two-a-days and the early part of the season very interesting in regards to the roster. Here is a glimpse of what to expect when the season rolls out in August
- FIVE BY FIVE BY FIVE
15 players to watch who will factor big:
Five Veterans—QB Tim Tebow—Let’s see … The Heisman Trophy winner, the team leader as a sophomore, NCAA national record-breaker, nerves of steel, straight A student, exceptional off the field qualities … All he needs is a cape. If Tebow isn’t the picture-perfect quarterback for Urban Meyer’s offense, I don’t know who is. As a sophomore he was still hesitant to check down to receivers and still broke many records. As a junior knowing much more of the offense and feeling more comfortable with it, he could be lethal.
- THE ROAD TO MIAMI – MAYBE
This is an even year for the Gators, which bodes well because the schedule is home friendly. And the last two Gator National Championships were won in 1996 and 2006.
One of the most important factors in the success of any program is keeping its staff intact. In most situations, it takes some time for players to successfully perform under the direction of a new head coach, coordinator and position coaches or when there are wholesale changes in the system. In each of its first five games, Florida faces opponents that have radically changed. And three of those programs (Hawaii, Ole Miss and Arkansas) have new head coaches and several new assistant coaches. Meanwhile, Miami and Tennessee have new coordinators.
The Gators have made a few changes. Thus far, they appear to be positive. It didn’t take long for new defensive line coach Dan McCarney and cornerbacks coach Vince Bedford to capture the attention of their players last spring. Still, the direction of the Florida defense is largely unchanged with Charlie Strong calling the shots. The Gators also added a new running backs coach Kenny Carter — a change indeed welcomed by Florida fans tired of seeing sub-par play at running back.
- MR. COLLEGE FOOTBALL RECALLS THE ‘CRAZIEST SEASON EVER’
By Tony Barnhardt, CBS Analyst
About this time a year ago I got my first indication that the 2007 college football season was going to be something pretty special.
I was trying to generate ideas for my blog (Mr. College Football) at the Atlanta Journal- Constitution when I decided to jump on a conference call with Jerry Moore, the head coach at Appalachian State. The Mountaineers were scheduled to play their opener at Michigan in a game that was expected to be little more than a scrimmage for the nationally-ranked Wolverines.
I asked coach Moore if he had talked to his team about the aura and the mystique of playing in Michigan’s famed “Big House.”
Coach Moore said, in effect: “We haven’t talked a whole lot about aura. We have talked about what plays we think will work against their defense.” That final, in case you missed it, was Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32.
- THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SPREAD
Buddy Martin’s column
There are three things in life at which all males consider themselves experts:
2) How to run a restaurant
3) How to call ball plays and run an offense. I’ve never claimed expertise on 1 and 2, but as a former high school quarterback, have fallen prey to a little arrogance about 3.
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