Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Planning Audible Response to Commodores

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Planning Audible Response to Commodores

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt came within a touchdown of upsetting Florida last year at The Swamp, and it was because of a player who never even set foot on the playing field.

Backup quarterback Tim Olmstead supplied Commodores defenders with UF's audible calls and signals, UF players said, which negated almost everything the Gators tried to do offensively.

UF head coach Steve Spurrier denied it after the game, saying, "They've known our signals for years now." But it appears that he is taking those charges a little more seriously this year.

Gators quarterback Rex Grossman will be wearing an arm-band list of plays when UF (7-1, 5-1 SEC) takes on the Commodores (2-6, 0-5) at Vanderbilt Stadium today (12:30 p.m.). That means if Vandy is going to steal any signals this year, they're going to need binoculars.

UF quarterback Doug Johnson was the most vocal complainer concerning Signal-Gate last year, a charge verified by several Vandy players. Offensive tackle Mike Pearson remembered a few incidents last year, but said UF shouldered more of the blame for the poor performance in the 13-6 victory.

"There were a few plays out there I can remember we'd check to a play and they'd know exactly what was coming," Pearson said. "They'd be screaming, 'It's coming this way!' But I think it was us not being as focused as we should have been and not executing.

"We came off a big win versus Georgia -- put a lot of points on the board. We came in overconfident and maybe didn't think we had to play that hard that day."

Spurrier said too much has been made of last year's incident. Even if Olmstead -- who will be on the sideline again today -- did tip off the defense, that wasn't why the Gators had their lowest point total and total yards (269) at home in Spurrier's tenure.

"That wasn't our problem last year," he said. "What they do, which is smart, is when the other team audibles, they may check to another defense. It's not hard to see when a quarterback audibles on any team. They do it against everybody they play. They did it against us last year and a few of our guys thought they knew our signals. …

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