Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GATOR BOWL NOTEBOOK; Leach: Raiders Ready for 3-4

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GATOR BOWL NOTEBOOK; Leach: Raiders Ready for 3-4

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said his players won't be unprepared for facing Virginia's 3-4 defense today in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl -- a novelty in the Big 12, where most teams run a 4-3.

That's because most of those 4-3 defenses wind up running a nickel defense against the Raiders, who have the top-ranked passing offense in the country behind quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola. In some cases, the teams will pull a linebacker our and put in a fifth defensive back, and in others, they sacrifice a lineman.

"We don't see many 3-4 defenses [in the Big 12] but we see a lot of three-man fronts," Leach said Monday.

ADDING THREE TO THE HALL

The Gator Bowl Hall of Fame increased by three members Monday at the Coaches and Hall of Fame Induction at the Hyatt Regency. Formally entering was coach Bear Bryant, 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and 1989 Gator Bowl chairman and Jacksonville civic leader Don Davis.

Rogers gained 113 yards in the 1980 Gator Bowl. His South Carolina team lost 37-9 to Pittsburgh, and he noted that the highlights shown on a large screen behind the head table weren't pretty.

"Every time I looked up [at the highlights] I got tackled," he said.

Another Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow, accepted Bryant's induction plaque on behalf of the family.

Also honored at the luncheon were the two Gator Bowl Scholar-Athletes, Texas Tech kicker Alex Trlica and Virginia tight end Tom Santi. Trlica has a double major in finance and accounting and Santi is majoring in sociology.

SET STRAIGHT

Virginia coach Al Groh had an icy response Monday for one reporter who asked him how he felt going against the No. 1 passing offense in the nation "without your best defensive back," referring to junior cornerback Chris Cook being suspended for the game.

"I wasn't aware you were in the player personnel business," Groh said. "I never designated [Cook] as our best defensive back. He's one of our better players, but it was going to take everyone [against Tech] anyway."

IF YOU GO

Parking and shuttle information for the Gator Bowl:

PARK AND RIDE

(Beginning two hours before the game and running two hours after the game)

-- Skyway Convention Center, Bay Street (across from the Prime Osborn Convention Center). …

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