I know many fellow TN readers/writers have already given up on this game and are just hoping to not be blown out. I am not one of these people though. I understand the odds are against us. We will be out coached and out "athleted," however should a bounce or two go our way this is a game we can win. Take a look at UF's schedule this year:
Sept. 5, 2009 Charleston Southern (FSN-FL) W 62-3 1-0 Sept. 12, 2009 Troy (SEC-TV) W 56-6 2-0 Sept. 19, 2009 Tennessee (CBS) W 23-13 3-0 (1-0) Sept. 26, 2009 at Kentucky (ESPN2) W 41-7 4-0 (2-0) Oct. 10, 2009 at LSU W 13-3 5-0 (3-0) Oct. 17, 2009 Arkansas (CBS) W 23-20 6-0 (4-0) Oct. 24, 2009 at Miss. State (ESPN) W 29-19 7-0 (5-0) Oct. 31, 2009 Georgia (CBS) W 41-17 8-0 (6-0) Nov. 7, 2009 Vanderbilt (ESPN2) W 27-3 9-0 (7-0) Nov. 14, 2009 at South Carolina (CBS) W 24-14 10-0 (8-0) Nov. 21, 2009 Florida Int'l (PPV) W 62-3 11-0
Fellow 6-5 Tennessee only lost by 10, at UF. Arkansas lost by just 3. MSU lost by 10. South Carolina by 10.
The only quality teams that UF beat by 11+ are who? Georgia? Kentucky? Neither of those teams are very good. Now, there is something to be said about 11-0. You don't get there by a fluke. But an untimely fumble, bad call or injured quarterback in any of those games could have changed the outcome in a flash.
That's what I'm hoping to see on Saturday. Maybe Tebow will get a little too hyped up in his final home game and makes a bad throw. Maybe one of UF's anorexic running backs will get hit hard for once and cough up the ball (like last year). Or maybe the ACC refs give us some calls (like 2003).I had a few ideas to float out here about how I might try to attack/stop the #1 team in the nation.
Idea #1: Start Greg Reid at rover. I know this will raise eyebrows but really, what do we have to lose? There is no way Mangum gives FSU a better shot to win than Reid. In our system the rover is almost always either in man coverage with a slot receiver or is playing a freelance zone/qb spy. I understand that Reid is not a reliable tackler, but is Mangum? I would much rather see Reid in coverage, as well as in a freelancing position over Mangum.
Idea #2: Bradham should be on Tebow every play. If Florida throws Bradham should be spying the QB. Should UF run the zone read Bradham should take Tebow. Same with the option. If FSU does this Tebow's running ability will not be much of a factor. I'm also hoping Nigel can give him a few big hits to rattle Tebow early.
Idea #3: zone defense. We don't do this much and we usually mess it up, but it is needed. I've seen Tebow complete way too many easy crossing routes where his WR burned the DB for my liking. OU played zone against him last year and forced two silly throws that were picked off. I feel comfortable with Jamie Robinson and Greg Reid playing deep. Maybe even doing some sort of cover 2 inverse so the two Robinson's are playing deep. Tebow is not the smartest at reading defenses, but if we sit in a cover 1 all day it won't matter.
Idea #4: Lots of Mister Alexander and Dekoda Watson at DE. Our pass rush is terrible, might as well give these guys a shot at DE as they are proven to be more successful as pressuring the QB than any of our DEs. Also, I would use the prowler more in 3rd and mediums or 3rd and longs. Just keep an eye on that triple option shuffle to Hernandez.
Idea #1: Need to get Jermaine Thomas going. We absolutely need Jermaine to have a big game. Give him some runs early to get him going.
Idea #2: Easy throws for EJ to start the game. Get his confidence going. I would be all over the bubble screens if UF stacks the box, as well as double flares or maybe a WR tunnel screen to Fortson.
Idea #3: We need to pull out the gadget plays. I don't necessarily mean double reverses, but we need to use the misdirection stuff we've seen a lot of lately with a guy like Bert Reed in motion and then run the zone read out of it. A TE throwback would be nice too. UF's defense is crazy fast, we need to use misdirection.
Idea #4: Control the clock. We need to shorten the game and give our defense rest. We should really stick to the run in this game and not try any unnecessary, low percentage downfield throws.
I think the defense will play hard for Mickey, and I know our offense is ready to go and knows they need to score some points if we have any shot of winning this game. I truly believe that a victory is possible. If we can shorten the game, catch a break or two and not kill ourselves with penalties, freshman QB mistakes or senior safety mistakes, this team can win. Look back at the schedule - if feakin' MSU can keep it to 10, and keep in mind they threw a pick-6, FSU certainly can.