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1906 Florida football team

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Covid-19
Conference  Independent
Head coach  Jack Forsythe
Captain  Thomas Guy Hancock
1906 record  5–3
Offensive scheme  Minnesota shift
1906 Florida football team

The 1906 Florida football team was the first official varsity team fielded by the new University of the State of Florida (now known as the University of Florida); during the 1906 college football season. The team finished its inaugural season with a winning record of 5–3.

Contents

The 1906 Florida gridders were known as "Pee Wee's Boys" in honor of their coach, Jack "Pee Wee" Forsythe, a former Clemson Tigers lineman who played for coach John Heisman from 1901 to 1903.

Background

Coach Forsythe employed the Minnesota shift and played on the team as an end. Florida has fielded a team every season since 1906, with the exception of 1943. During the early 1900s, the Florida football team competed in the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), but was not affiliated with an athletic conference. The University of Florida did not adopt the "Florida Gators" nickname for its sports teams until 1911, and the early Florida football teams were known simply as "Florida" or the "Orange and Blue." The Florida football teams played their home games in a variety of locations, including the university's Gainesville, Florida campus.

Old FAC, pre 1905

Intramural football had been played at the Florida Agricultural College since 1899. The 1904 team went winless in a Florida team's first campaign against southern powers.

Buckman Act

After the Buckman Act in 1905, the modern University of Florida (still in Lake City) hired coach C. A. Holton and was ready to play its first season. The team played merely one half of football against the Julia Landon Institute of Jacksonville. The season was described by Tom McEwen as "lame duck, confusing, and troubled." Players were banned by Andrew Sledd from playing as they were behind in their studies. The captain of the 1905 team was William M. Rowlett. Of all the players from the earlier predecessor teams of the Florida Gators, only tackle William Gibbs of the 1905 Lake City team is known to have played for the new university's team in Gainesville in the fall of 1906.

Rule changes

At the end of 1905 football looked about to be abolished due to all of the reoccurring violence during games. Football was a sport that had degenerated into dangerous tactics such as: the flying wedge, punching, kicking, piling-on, and elbows to the face. Almost any violent behavior was allowed. Fatalities and injuries mounted during the 1905 season.

As a result, the 1906 season was played under a new set of rules. The rules governing intercollegiate football were changed to promote a more open and less dangerous style of play. An intercollegiate conference, which would become the forerunner of the NCAA, approved radical changes including the legalization of the forward pass, allowing the punting team to recover an on-side kick as a live ball, abolishing the dangerous flying wedge, creating a neutral zone between offense and defense, and doubling the first-down distance to 10 yards, to be gained in three downs.

Schedule

Primary source: 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide.

Gainesville A. C.

The University of Florida beat the Gainesville Athletic Club 16–6, the Gainesville team scoring on a fumble recovery in the second half.

Mercer

In the second week of play, coach E. E. Tarr started Mercer's early winning streak over Florida with a 12–0 win. Florida played its first game in Macon. A fumble changed the momentum of the second half. Mercer's Dickey ran 40 yards around right end for the touchdown.

The starting lineup was Clarke (left end), Neilson (left tackle), Earman (left guard), Barrs (center), Wissen (right guard), Rodder (right tackle), Graham (right end), Thompson (quarterback), Forsyth (left halfback), Corbett (right halfback), Hancock (fullback).

Rollins

"Pee Wee's Boys" beat the Rollins College Tars 6–0 in their first intercollegiate game played in Gainesville, Florida on October 26, 1906. The game was played on a baseball field just north of where Florida Field is today.

The game was scoreless in the first half, Florida getting the win late. Roy Corbett ran 25 yards around left end for the games only touchdown. Shands kicked goal.

Riverside A. C.

Florida beat the Riverside Athletic Club of Jacksonville 19–0. Shands scored by catching a 15-yard forward pass. The goal was kicked by Forsythe, who was the star of the game. Hancock also scored a touchdown, and Gibbs snuffed out a trick play. Florida scored once more in the second half.

Savannah A. C.

The Florida team suffered a defeat to the Savannah Athletic Club, 27–2. Savannah outweighed Florida by some 30 pounds, and Florida was proud of giving Savannah a better game than Stetson.

Rollins

Rollins won the second game, 5–0. Again nobody scored until the final few minutes. Donald Cheney scored Rollins' touchdown. Coach Forsythe resigned to accept a position as player-coach with the Riverside team, and the team disbanded only to later reunite under interim coach and ROTC Lieutenant L. R. Ball.

Athens A. C.

Athens Athletic Club fell to Florida 10–0.

Riverside A. C.

Florida again beat Riverside Athletic Club 39–0.

References

1906 Florida football team Wikipedia


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