Storylines for UF vs. Bowling Green
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 1:20 a.m.
Staff writers Robbie Andreu and Jon McDonald take a closer look at the storylines going into today's season opener:
No QB controversy for Falcons
While Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett are taking their intense QB battle to the field today for the Gators, Bowling Green enjoys the luxury of knowing who its starting quarterback is. It's junior Matt Schilz, who threw for 3,024 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and probably will be winging it all over The Swamp today. Schilz doesn't really have much in the way of competition at his position. The only thing his back-up (redshirt freshman Matt Johnson) seems to have in common with him is he has the same first name.
Upset alert in Gainesville?
The Florida players have been reminded several times this week that it was five years ago that Appalachian State pulled off that stunning 34-32 upset of Michigan in the Big House. The guy doing the reminding is first-year strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Dillman, who was there at the time as the Mountaineers' strength coach. “He keeps bringing up Appalachian State. He tells us how it was. We can learn from that,” junior fullback Trey Burton said. UF coach Will Muschamp said he was not going to ask Dillman to address the team about that 2007 game. Muschamp said the UF focus is on this game and having the Gators ready to play — and not on an upset that occurred five years ago.
Gators a huge opening success
The Swamp is always good to the Gators. It's especially good on opening day. The Gators have not lost a home opener since being upset by Ole Miss back in 1989. To illustrate just how long ago that was, Florida Field had an artificial surface and UF's star running back at the time (Emmitt Smith) is now in the NFL Hall of Fame. For those keeping count, the Gators are riding a 22-game winning streak in home openers. UF has won its last five home openers by a combined score of 242-31.
Spurrier on the two quarterback system
Former UF coach Steve Spurrier made the alternating quarterback system a huge success in 1997, when he alternated Noah Brindise and Doug Johnson every play and the Gators upset No. 1 Florida State 32-29. But Spurrier said playing two QBs usually has a short shelf life. “It can work for a game or two,” Spurrier said.
Strong in September
Even though Florida has lost 11 combined games over the past two seasons, it has dominated out of the gate. The Gators have posted an 8-0 record over the last two years, and is 27-2 since 2005. September is usually the month when UF hosts a pair of games against non-BCS conference opponents. This year, getting out of the month unscathed won't be as easy. After today's game, Florida hits the road to play conference foes Texas A&M and Tennessee in back-to-back weeks. The Gators close out the month with a home game against Kentucky (Sept. 22) followed by a bye week.
Florida ended last season with a Gator Bowl win over Ohio State, which had just hired former UF coach Urban Meyer. Today, the Gators begin the season with another team from Ohio with Meyer ties in Bowling Green. Meyer coached the Falcons for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, compiling a 17-6 record before heading to Utah.
Any eyes on the Aggies?
Will Muschamp says his team is focused on the task at hand, which is opening the season with a win today. But with a showdown with new-to-the-SEC Texas A&M next week in College Station, Texas, the Aggies could creep into the minds of some Gators. On the other hand, the Gators will definitely be on the minds of the Aggies. After Hurricane Isaac washed out Texas A&M's Thursday night opener at Louisiana Tech, the Aggies will now make their season, and SEC, debut at home against Florida next Saturday.
Don't lose that number
What would a new Florida football season be without a few number changes? Most of them were made in the spring, thus were seen at the Orange and Blue Debut in April, but it may take some time to get used to seeing them in today's opener. Here are a few of the more prominent differences: Jeff Driskel (now wearing No. 6), Jacoby Brissett (No. 12), Jon Bostic (No. 1), Quinton Dunbar (also No. 1) and Omarius Hines (No. 20).
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