Notebook: Gators prepare for open football practices

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Florida plays Michigan in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl on Dec. 29 in Atlanta. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Florida fans will have a chance to get an up-close look at the Gators over the next three days.

Coach Dan Mullen is opening the practice gates to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fans will be able to view the three practices from the east and south sides of the practice field. Bleachers will be set up on the east side.

A lane outside the baseball ticket office will lead fans to the practice field. Parking could be limited in the O’Connell Center lot all three days because of graduation ceremonies in The Swamp and Exactech Arena.

Here are the practice times:

Friday — 3:10-5:40 p.m.

Saturday — 3:10-5:20 p.m.

Sunday — 2:25-4:40 p.m.

Gifting the Gators

Playing in a bowl game is a reward for a good season. And with that reward come some bowl gifts.

The Gators and Wolverines will be getting some good stuff for playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 29.

The gifts the players will be receiving are a $300 Vanilla Visa gift card, a Fossil watch, a Mophie Powerstation XL, an Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker (3rd generation) and a football.

SOS in Sugar HOF

The legend of Steve Spurrier continues to grow.

His latest achievement is going to be his induction in the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame.

Spurrier will join 10 players and/or coaches in the Sugar Bowl’s second HOF class. He is the only one going in as a player and a coach.

As a player, Spurrier was named the MVP of the 1966 Sugar Bowl (following the 1965 season) even though the Gators lost to Missouri 20-18.

Spurrier threw two touchdown passes and for more than 300 yards, leading the Gators back from a 20-0 deficit in the fourth quarter. UF failed to get the win because the decision was made to go for two after the first TD and the attempt (a Spurrier pass) failed. Two more failed two-point tries allowed the Tigers to escape with the win.

Spurrier was the first player from a losing team to win the Sugar Bowl MVP award.

As a coach, Spurrier led the Gators to five Sugar Bowl appearances, two for wins, including winning the national championship in the 1997 game against arch-rival Florida State.

Graduating Gators

The average Graduation Success Rates, compiled by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics and Sport at UCF, among bowl teams this season has risen from 77 percent to 79 percent. But 2018 has seen a slight downturn for the Gators, whose GSR has dipped from 77 percent to 74 percent.

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma — the schools competing in this year’s College Football Playoff — all had “reasonable academic standing,” according to TIDES director Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the study. Alabama’s graduation rate was 84 percent, Clemson’s 87 percent, Notre Dame’s 95 percent and Oklahoma’s 76 percent.

9 COMMENTS

  1. ”Spurrier was the first player from a losing team to win the Sugar Bowl MVP award.” And I have a step-Dad who played with Spurrier in that game, and I didn’t even know that historic fact. Just another reason the Gator fans love the H.B.C.! Congrats Coach Spurrier! You’re beloved here in Hogtown, and always will be!
    And again, thank you Coach Spurrier for making Florida Football great, and helping create the success we now expect from our beloved Florida Gator Football teams.

  2. Well said GI and dead on. I’ve been a Gator fan since HBC was playing QB, didn’t get to watch much back then, we were too poor to go and rarely on TV. But we tuned in to hear Otis call em every Saturday afternoon. My Daddy was big on hunting and never really claimed to be a Gator fan ( my mother graduated with honors from UF ) but somehow we always “happened” to be just riding through the woods in the truck when the games were on. Many fans these days can’t really appreciate what SOS did for our program when he came “home” to coach the Gators, before then it was always “wait until next year” as our creed and gobs of talent that always underachieved it seemed. He was the best thing to ever happen to Gator football then and still is in my opinion, because as you said he laid the foundation and created the legacy of us being winners and champions instead of also rans always sucking hind teat to GA and UT. God Bless you Steven Ore Spurrier ! Us Gators will always love you and appreciate what you did for our University.

  3. I should say that I meant no disrespect to our 84 team, Reeves, Alverez, and all those really good teams we had in the 50’s-80’s, its just that we never could maintain any consistency for more than 2-3 years until the HBC got here and changed the culture and mindset of our program.