Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swamp Thing Returns; Meyer Looking for Ways to Regain Dominance at Florida Field

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swamp Thing Returns; Meyer Looking for Ways to Regain Dominance at Florida Field

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE -- Urban Meyer wants the next decade at Florida Field to be a lot like the past decade.

He wants intimidation. He wants confidence. He wants arrogance.

He wants the motto played before the Gators enter the field -- "The Swamp. Only Gators get out alive." -- to mean something again.

He doesn't want Ole Miss wandering into Gainesville, having an eventual first-round NFL Draft pick not even throw for 200 yards, and running over the Gators on a game-winning drive.

"In the '90s, they didn't lose out there," Meyer said. "How do we get that back?

"Hopefully you work them hard enough they won't want to lose a game at home."

Florida Field was one of the toughest places to play in the 1990s under Steve Spurrier.

In his 12-year tenure (1990-2001), the Gators were 68-5 at home, and Spurrier began his career at Florida with 23 consecutive home wins before losing to Florida State in 1993. The Gators lost to Auburn at home in 1994, then didn't lose at Florida Field again until 1999.

Ron Zook didn't have the same success. The Gators were 13-6 at home under Zook, including a 20-17 loss to Ole Miss in 2003. Zook's Gators lost three times at Florida Field that season, including back-to-back games against Tennessee and Ole Miss.

The past three years have taken away the once-feared reputation of the Swamp, cornerback Dee Webb said.

"Getting the Swamp back is the first thing that we really need to do," Webb, a former standout at White High, said. "We want to have an edge here at home. We want to regain that momentum and swagger. We want opposing teams to come to the Swamp knowing that they are going to get beat."

Florida's first three games of 2005 are at home -- Sept. 3 vs. Wyoming, Sept. 10 vs. Louisiana Tech and Sept. 17 vs. Tennessee -- so the Gators have a chance to start to re-establish their home-field intimidation right away. …

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