There have been a lot of great teams in the history of Florida football. We know about the champions. We know about the statues. Check out the credentials for this team, one I talked about briefly on the Dooley Noted podcast last week:
- Beat Miami, Tennessee and Georgia.
- Had the most players drafted into the NFL of any Gator team ever.
- Had two of the greatest receivers in the history of the school, players who probably would be in the Ring of Honor if not for the restrictive requirements,
- Recorded the longest play in the history of the school.
- Had a backfield with its own nickname.
The year was 1977 and it was not one of the great teams in UF history. Not even close.
Oh, the talent was there. The Gators had the “woosh-bone” backfield that got its name because it was the fastest in the country.
But it was the beginning of the end of the Doug Dickey Era. Beset by internal strife on the team and conflicts between the Gator coaches and players, UF underachieved to the tune of a 6-4-1 record, 3-3 in the SEC.
But there was a 99-yard touchdown pass from Cris Collinsworth to Derrick Gaffney. Yes, Collinsworth wasted most of the year at quarterback and finished it off, believe it or not, at safety (it wasn’t pretty).
And there was the amazing Wes Chandler, who won the Georgia game almost single-handedly with three touchdowns when Dickey put him at tailback to make sure he got the ball.
And there were 10 draft choices (there were 14 rounds then), the most for UF.
A year later, Dickey scrapped the wishbone offense, hired Steve Spurrier as an offensive coach … and got fired. Dickey’s legacy at Florida is one of a guy who could bring in great players, but struggled to get everyone on the same page.