Notebook: Gators set 2011 opponents


Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.

Florida has added Florida Atlantic, Alabama-Birmingham and Furman to its 2011 schedule.

Facts

2011 UF schedule

Sept. 3 Florida Atlantic, TBA
Sept. 10 Alabama-Birmingham, TBA
Sept. 17 Tennessee, TBA
Sept. 24 at Kentucky, TBA

Oct. 1 Alabama, TBA
Oct. 8 at LSU, TBA
Oct. 15 at Auburn, TBA
Oct. 22, Bye
Oct. 29 Georgia in Jacksonville, 3:30 p.m.

Nov. 5 Vanderbilt, TBA
Nov. 12 at South Carolina, TBA
Nov. 19 Furman, TBA
Nov. 26 Florida State, TBA

Rotating into UF's SEC schedule next year is Auburn, which is squeezed into an October gauntlet of Alabama, at LSU, at Auburn and Georgia.

The Gators open with Florida Atlantic on Sept. 3 and host Alabama-Birmingham the following week. They entertain Furman on Nov. 19 before closing the regular season at home against FSU on Nov. 26.

Successful coaches

There have been no other coaches in Florida football history as successful as Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer.

Together, the duo have led the Gators to three national titles and eight Southeastern Conference championships.

So an interesting subplot remains when Spurrier returns to The Swamp on Saturday to coach South Carolina against Florida with an SEC East title on the line.

Meyer insists his relationship with Spurrier, though competitive, has become close over the years.

"We're fairly good friends now," Meyer said during Wednesday's SEC football coaches teleconference. "Him and his wife and my wife and myself, we're good friends and I actually lean on him quite a bit about the University of Florida when we get together."

Spurrier left Florida to coach the Washington Redskins in 2002, then returned to college football in 2005 to take over South Carolina. Meyer is 4-1 against Spurrier and has led Florida to four straight wins over South Carolina.

But Meyer said he has great respect for what Spurrier has accomplished in his playing and coaching career.

"He is Florida," Meyer said. "He was the Heisman Trophy winner here and there has never been any attempt whatsoever to change that. All over this place, we built it, there are great reminders. He's a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame player and he's a good guy.

"There's no issues whatsoever. There's never been an attempt ... he's the reason I came here. I had such admiration for the way his team played and that's no secret. And now he's on the opposite sideline. Other than for that one hour of football a year we get along great."

No word for Hammond

Sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. said he's still unsure whether he will be back on scholarship for the spring semester.

"I'm not sure what the status is," Hammond said. "I'm getting prepared for South Carolina and taking it week by week and just getting prepared for the game."

Hammond lost his scholarship as part of punishment for his DUI arrest last July. But since the mistake, Hammond has drawn praise from teammates and coaches for his conduct on and off the field.

Hammond is third on the Gators in receiving with 199 yards and has caught two touchdown passes. He's also emerged as an excellent perimeter blocker in UF's spread offense.

"I believe I'm pretty fortunate because it's a second chance," Hammond said. "Right now I'm just taking advantage of it and doing what I can to help the team win."

More on Cam

Meyer issued a statement before the start of Wednesday's coaches teleconference regarding news reports surrounding former Florida quarterback Cam Newton.

Controversy has surrounded Newton for most of the week, beginning with allegations from a former Mississippi State player that he asked for $180,000 from the school to play for them. Also, reports surfaced that Newton left Florida due to a number of academic issues that included multiple charges of cheating.

"Those stories have absolutely nothing to do with our team and our preparation for South Carolina," Meyer said. "Our entire focus always is and always will be on our team.

"I will say though that I've always been very supportive of Cam when he left here and Cam and his family knows this. We wish him all the best."

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