Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Notes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Notes

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, Times-Union sports writer


When WR O.J. Small caught a 24-yard pass from Rex Grossman in the second quarter of Saturday's 55-6 victory over Louisiana-Monroe, the former Forrest High School standout earned a spot in Florida history.

Small became the first offensive player to make a play in a game wearing No. 11 since head coach Steve Spurrier wore the jersey during his career in Gainesville from 1964-66. Defensive back Ben Hanks wore the number from 1992-1995 and DE Thad Bullard briefly wore the number early in his career, which ended last season.

"It's an honor to wear his number," Small said. "I was pretty surprised when I first got here and he gave me the number. Everybody kept on telling me that he must expect good things out of me."

Small, who redshirted last season, saw action in the season opener against Marshall, but his first career reception came last week. He has worked at tight end, and even stayed in to block on at least one play.


Saturday's game was proof that officials' calls do even out. Somewhat, anyway.

Florida had a touchdown taken off the board late in the first half against Louisiana-Monroe because TE Ben Troupe, who caught a 7-yard pass from Grossman for the score, was penalized for illegal motion. UF lost 5 yards and Jeff Chandler kicked a 29-yard field goal for a 38-6 lead. The person who called that penalty, according to Spurrier, was referee Tom Ritter, the same official who ruled that WR Jabar Gaffney held onto the ball long enough for it to be ruled a catch in the final seconds at Tennessee last season.

"I think he was saying, 'Hey, I don't always call good things for the Gators,' " Spurrier joked. "He called both of those. They were close. He's a good ref."


Don't expect Florida players to pop off about Tennessee this season. …

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