Florida has a rich history at quarterback, including Kerwin Bell, Danny Wuerffel, Don Johnson and Shane Matthews.
Chris Leak and Tim Tebow look determined to add their names to that list.
After an impressive season-opening win, the seventh-ranked Gators (1-0) take on Central Florida at The Swamp on Saturday.
Leak, a senior, bounced back from an early interception to complete 21 of 30 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-7 victory over Southern Mississippi last Saturday. Since becoming a starter in 2003, Leak has thrown 26 TD passes in 14 games against non-conference foes.
“I am definitely looking to spread the ball around to all our receivers this year,” Leak said. “We have depth at receiver, and it is important to utilize that depth.”
Leak completed passes to seven receivers, and found senior Dallas Baker nine times for 123 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown that tied the score at 7 in the first quarter.
“We can’t start the game like that,” Florida coach Urban Meyer said of his team’s inconsistent play on offense that had the Gators trailing early. “I was extremely upset with the way it started.”
Meyer improved to 20-2—including 12-0 at home—in his career against non-conference opponents.
Tebow, a highly touted freshman, entered in the fourth quarter and scored on a 1-yard run.
“It definitely surpassed my expectations,” he said. “I’m just thankful I got to be a part of things.”
Meyer expects big things from Tebow in the future.
“He’s going to be a great player here,” Meyer said. “He’s going to will himself into the end zone many times here.”
Central Florida (1-0) is coming off its first season-opening win in eight years, 35-16 over Villanova last week. Senior Steven Moffett threw for 199 yards and three TDs as the Golden Knights built a 28-7 first-half lead and never trailed.
“We spent this week correcting ourselves,” Central Florida coach George O’Leary said. “Really, that’s what you need to be doing in looking to get better. … We could have played better in a lot of areas, but that’s why you play first games.
“We gave up too many plays, all correctable. We came out of the game healthy and everybody is ready to play this weekend.”
O’Leary said his team needs to find a way to stop Leak.
“I think that he is a lot more aware of the pressure and where to deliver the ball,” O’Leary said. “He plays not just with his arm but his feet and he finds ways to get into the windows to throw to his good receivers and make yards himself by running.
“It is real obvious when watching the tape that he is real comfortable with the offense after a year in it.”
UCF is 1-11 against SEC opponents, losing by an average more than 10 points per game.
The Golden Knights’ last trip to Gainesville in 1999 resulted in the largest margin of defeat against the SEC, a 58-27 loss.
UCF also is 0-15 against Top 25 opponents, including 0-11 in road games.
“They better be eager,” O’Leary said of his players. “You only get so many opportunities to play ranked teams.”