In an attempt to preview the 108th season of Florida Gators football, OnlyGators.com decided to find 108 interesting facts, important statistics and relevant historical tidbits about the team. The process proved to be more daunting than initially expected.
Below you will find 54 different notes to prime you for the 2014 campaign, which kicks off against the Idaho Vandals on Saturday, Aug. 30 live from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, at 7 p.m.
1. Florida finished 2013 with a 4-8 record, putting together its first losing season since it went winless (0-10-1) in 1979. UF rebounded to finish 8-4 in 1980, setting an NCAA record for best turnaround in major college football history at the time. The Gators were also the first team ever to play in a bowl game after failing to win a game the season prior.
2. Will Muschamp (43) is the second-youngest coach in the SEC behind Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen (42).
3. Muschamp’s 22-16 record through three seasons (2011-13) is the worst for a Florida head coach in that span since Charley Pell went 15-19-1 from 1979-81.
4. Kurt Roper is Muschamp’s third offensive coordinator in four seasons and UF’s fifth in the last seven years, while Mike Summers is Muschamp’s third offensive line coach in four seasons.
5…starters played in all 12 games for Florida in 2013.
6. Chris Leak is the Gators’ sixth wide receivers coach in as many seasons. He is also Muschamp’s fourth in his four-year tenure.
7. Florida will kick off its 2014 campaign against Idaho on Saturday at 7 p.m., marking the first time since 2011 that the Gators will open the season at night.
8. Opponents scored on 81.1 percent of their trips inside UF’s red zone last season.
9. Florida is 9-1 all-time against teams from the Sun Belt Conference. Idaho is playing its inaugural season in the Sun Belt and takes on UF in the season opener.
10…starters (and five reserves) on the 2013 Gators suffered season-ending injuries.
11. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, a Preseason All-SEC First Team selection entering his sophomore season, broke up 11 passes during his rookie year, the most by a true freshman in school history.
12. Redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel holds a 12-3 record as a Florida starter.
13. The Gators have forced more turnovers than any other SEC team this century. Florida has accounted for 366 over the last 13 years, while LSU is second with 358 forced.
14. Redshirt senior WR Andre Debose holds the school record for kickoffs returned for touchdowns with four. The mark is also tied for the most in SEC history. Debose will look to take that record for himself this season as UF’s starting kick returner.
15. In the 38 years that Florida has featured a tight end on its roster, dating back to the 1966 season, 2013 was the least productive by players at the position. The Gators’ tight ends combined for four receptions (fewest ever), 42 yards (fewest ever) and no touchdowns (sixth time).
16. Three offensive linemen that started games for the Gators in 2013 will be doing so (or at least playing) at different positions in 2014. Redshirt senior Max Garcia has shifted from guard to center, while senior Trenton Brown and junior Tyler Moore moved inside to guard after playing tackle last year.
17. Florida is first nationally in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,860) since the start of the 2008 season. In that same time span, UF is third in total interceptions with 106, behind only Oregon (111) and Boise State (109).
18…different assistants* have been hired by Muschamp in four seasons at Florida. Only D.J. Durkin (special teams coordinator, defensive coordinator), Brian White (running backs), Derek Lewis (tight ends) and Travaris Robinson (defensive backs) remain from his original nine-member staff. *Bush Hamdan was the de facto wide receivers coach in 2012 but not officially an assistant.
19. Muschamp is 0-7 all-time in the Florida-Georgia rivalry, 0-4 as a Bulldogs player and 0-3 as head coach of the Gators. He lost the four games as a player by an average of 19.8 points but has dropped the three games as a coach by just 5.0 points per game.
20. Despite the fact that there are 103 players on Florida’s roster, there are 21 unclaimed jersey numbers: 2, 12, 18, 36, 39, 45, 50, 58, 60-62, 64-68, 77, 80, 84, 97, 98.
21. The Gators only gave up 21.1 points per game last season, ranking 15th nationally in scoring defense despite losing a number of starters for the season. Florida allowed the fifth-fewest total yards in the nation (3,771) and was eighth in total defense at 314.2 yards per game.
22…consecutive seasons Florida has advanced to a bowl game before falling short in 2013.
23. In each of its last three losses against Florida State, all of which have come in the last four years, Florida has only managed to score seven points – one touchdown per game. FSU’s average margin of victory in those contests is 22.6 points.
24…consecutive season-openers have been won by the Gators. UF has the longest such winning streak in the SEC, which is also the second-longest in the nation behind Nebraska (28). Overall, Florida is 80-27 in season openers.
25…different Gators missed a combined 126 games of action in 2013.
26. Redshirt senior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar has earned the most starts out of any player on UF’s roster with 26. Redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green is next with 19. There are only 11 total players on the roster with double-digit starts at UF in their collegiate careers.
27…touchdowns scored by Florida in 2013, while its conference foes each averaged 52 last season. The Gators’ defense also allowed 27 touchdowns on the campaign, the sixth-fewest in the country.
28. Dunbar has hauled in at least one reception in a school-record 28 consecutive contests. He did not score a touchdown in 2013 and is still looking for his first 100-yard receiving game. A South Florida native, he tallied a career-high 98 receiving yards in his homecoming game at Miami last season.
29. Florida has not hit a game-winning field goal since 2010 and only has nine in program history dating back to 1960.
30. Florida ranks third nationally and second in the SEC in third-down defense since Muschamp took over the program, only allowing 157-of-513 third downs to be converted (30.6 percent).
31…players, including 28 freshmen and three transfers, will be suiting up for UF for the first time when the season opens.
32. As a coordinator of the Blue Devils under David Cutcliffe, Roper’s Duke offense broke over 100 school records and eight ACC records.
33. The Gators have taken at least one kickoff and/or punt return back for a touchdown in nine-straight seasons, tied for the most nationally with Kansas State and Ole Miss. In those nine seasons, Florida has returned a total of 10 punts for touchdowns (including blocked attempts). UF has had at least one kickoff return touchdown in five-straight seasons with seven total since 2009.
34. Florida still maintains its 27-game winning streak against Kentucky, which dates back to 1987. It is the longest in-conference streak in SEC history and the second-longest active streak in the nation (longest against annual opponents). UF beat UK by 17 points in 2013, the first time the Gators topped the Wildcats by fewer than 34 points since 2007.
35. The Gators committed 89 penalties in 2013, their fewest in a season since 1990 (87).
36…three-and-outs forced by Florida’s defense on 137 drives in 2013. The Gators only allowed first downs on 26 percent of its opponents’ drives.
37. UF has finished with an undefeated 7-0 record at home three times in the last eight seasons (2006, 2009, 2012).
38…or more receptions were hauled in by a trio of Gators receivers last season marking the first time since 2001 that three Florida receivers each caught 38+ passes.
39. Florida’s three national titles are tied for the second-most since 1990. Alabama (four) leads the pack, while Florida State and Nebraska have matched UF with three each in the last 24 years.
40. UF is on the verge of failing to sell out its student tickets for the first time in at least two decades.
41. Florida only converted 41.5 percent of its red zone trips into touchdowns in 2013.
42. The Gators only had two non-offensive scores last season, a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown by Loucheiz Purifoy and 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Solomon Patton. Neither player is on the team in 2014.
43. Three quarterbacks that have started games for Florida will be starting college football games in 2014. In addition to Driskel at UF, Jacoby Brissett has been named the starter for N.C. State and Tyler Murphy will take the first snap under head coach Steve Addazio at Boston College.
44…yards was the distance from which UF connected on its longest field goal in 2013. It came off the leg of walk-on kicker Frankie Velez, who recently earned a scholarship entering his redshirt senior season with the team.
45. The Gators offensive line has undergone major changes since last season but will nevertheless be returning a group of players with a combined 65 starts under their collective belts.
46. UF has the second-best home winning percentage in the nation since 1990 at 86.3 percent, two tenths of a percent behind Nebraska at 86.5 percent. However, the Cornhuskers have played 10 more home games than the Gators over the last 24 years.
47. Florida’s longest touchdown drive in 2013 went 93 yards in 13 plays and lasted 7:47.
48. The Gators have won more SEC Championships than any other team in the league since the game debuted in 1992. Florida’s seven titles are three more than both Alabama and LSU (four each). UF has also made more league title game appearances (10) than anyone else in the SEC, two more than UA (eight).
49. Roper’s quarterbacks at Duke were only sacked once every 27.8 pass attempts, while Florida quarterbacks were taken down once every 11.5 wind ups in 2013.
50. The next time Florida scores 31+ points in The Swamp will be the 101st time since 1990.
51. Gators players totaled 51 various preseason honors this offseason.
52. Florida has won nine-straight games against Tennessee dating back to the 2005 season and seven consecutive contests against UT by double digits.
53. The Gators saw their 22-game winning streak against the Commodores snapped last season. Florida won those 22 games against Vanderbilt by an average of 21.5 points per contest. It was the fourth-longest active streak in the nation before it ended and remains the second-longest inter-SEC streak ever.
54. The Gators were only able to manage 71 explosive plays last season, less than half of the 144 it achieved in 2008 or the 147 it posted in 2009. Florida rattled off just 49 runs of 10+ yards and 22 receptions of 20+ yards.
* Many of the stats and figures used above come courtesy of Florida’s 2014 football media guide, which can be viewed by clicking here.