I'm going to try and fit in as many of these as possible, hopefully going over a lot of the major players and the season they had in 2006. Anyways, check back here and there and I should have quite a few up as the graduate school semester is finally coming to an end.
#12 Chris Leak
Stats (including previous seasons)
Year Att Cmp Pct Yds TD Int Eff Y/A
2003 320 190 59.4 2435 16 11 133 7.6
2004 399 238 59.6 3197 29 12 145 8.0
2005 374 235 62.8 2639 20 6 137 7.0
2006 329 207 62.9 2729 22 13 147 8.3
This season was supposed to be the year in which Leak had fully grasped the depth of the Urban Meyer offensive system, although many still believed (and rightfully so) that he wouldn't be the quarterback to run it the right way. We all knew that it was going to take a full effort from both parties (Leak & Meyer) in order for the QB to be able to successfully lead this offense with some sort of command. This was based on the results of last season's offensive struggles, equaling losses at 'Bama, LSU and South Carolina.
The story of Chris Leak at Florida has been one that is ever-changing, mostly due to the fact that Leak has been used under three different offensive systems: Ed Zaunbrecher in 2003, Larry Fedora in 2004 and Urban Meyer/Dan Mullen over the last two seasons. Chris has been an easy player to cheer for throughout his seasons at Florida because in the end you could alway blame the changing of the systems for some of his problems. While he has looked absolutely amazing at some points in his career (the '04 Tennessee game @ Knoxville comes to mind first and foremost), Leak has had some other times in which he looked downright ordinary, if not below-average. It was at those points along the line we blamed the offense, and most of it seemed to be warranted.
Leak came into the 2006 season near the tops of the Florida record books among quarterbacks in several statistical categories including passing yds, completions and attempts. Despite being such a vital part of the program over his time at the University of Florida, Leak still found heat coming from behind by young QB Tim Tebow, the prototype spread-option quarterback coming in as a freshman. The fans had great admiration for both signal-callers this season, although it may not have seemed that way as the Tebow hype machine led to a booing of Chris Leak controversy during the Kentucky game.
The story of Leak's 2006 season has been one of consistency, stats-wise at least. He is yet to have a game this season in which he completed less than %50 of his passes, and only threw more than 1 interception in a game once (twice if you count that garbage shovel pass play an interception against Arkansas). While this has been a consistent season for Leak, the 2006 campaign has not been that much different from the 2005 season even though on the outside it has looked better. While it has appeared that he has thrown the ball down the field a little bit more this season, he still only has about 100 yds more in more games. It seems as though he has run the ball a few more times this season for big gains, but his rushing yards have not been significantly greater this season (211 compared to 239 last season).
Looking at these things it is kind of tough to speculate on the type of season that Chris Leak had. He started out with a bang, having several Gator fans calling for his Heisman candidacy. He looked downright awful in the second half at Auburn, only to then have several Gator fans saying that he just wasn't good and wasn't the type of quarterback that would win big games. He led game-winning drives at Tennessee and FSU, giving Gator fans reasons to say he is a great senior leader. He was sacked 4 times and threw 3 interceptions at Vanderbilt.
This, unfortunately, is the story of Chris Leak's career. It's been the best of times, and the worst of times. The good news is that Chris Leak has a 6-2 career record against Georgia & FSU, led his team to a 12-1 record, has won an SEC championship and has one more chance to shine on January 8th. All of the bad things, well, those all rest on the coaching staff's shoulders.
Picture courtesy of Gatorzone.