The bowl games are set, and despite one team’s understandable gripe it seems as though they got the title game right.
Here my early thoughts about the game:
1. Rumors were floating around the internet that Percy Harvin had a hairline fracture in his ankle once it was reported that he wouldn’t be playing in the SECCG. Now Percy is saying that he will be ready in 2 weeks. From my understanding of severe high ankle sprains, 3 weeks is the typical healing time. Percy proclamation would be in line with that timetable.
2. Keep an eye on the assistant coaches. Sure this is being billed as Stoops vs. Meyer, but keep an eye on which assistants get jobs at other schools. Mississippi St. reportedly looking at both Mullen and OU’s Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson. I heard Bobby Burton state this morning that the job was Wilson’s, if he wanted it. Dan McCarney interviewed for the New Mexico job. Lane Kiffin at Tennessee reportedly contacted Billy Gonzales about joining the staff at Tennessee. Charlie Strong, Steve Addazio and Brent Venables have all interviewed for various openings. The effect that an assistant moving onward and upward has on a team cannot be understated.
3. What to do with Major Wright? OU loves to spread out the defense with 3 WRs and Jermaine Gresham at TE, so the question becomes what does Charlie Strong do with starting Free Safety Major Wright? Wright is a big time hitter, but (to be kind) is lacking in skill when it comes to coverage. The answer may just be Will Hill. The true freshman has been coming on in recent weeks and he has seen his time on the field increase significantly. The other answer may be scheme. When teams spread the Gators out, Coach Strong substitutes Hill in for a defensive lineman, so we switch from a 4-3 to a 3-3-5. In order to maintain pressure on the QB, at least one of the linebackers blitzes from this formation (Spikes and Hicks have had the most success). I first noticed the formation against South Carolina, although it may have come out sooner. The beauty of the formation is that Hill comes in to cover the slot receiver and Wright stays back in centerfield. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Hill back at Free Safety, and Wondy Pierre Louis on the outside with either Haden or Jenkins covering the slot receiver.
4. How will OU prepare to face Tim Tebow? The last time the Gators played in the title game, Coach Meyer couldn’t heap enough praise on Michael Guilford, who played Troy Smith in practice leading up to the game. In order to get ready for the Sooners, I am pretty sure that John Brantley will play Sam Bradford in practice. Brantley has an excellent arm and is fairly accurate with the ball. This should at least allow the Gator Defense to prepare for the game. But how does OU prepare for Tebow? I think this is going to be huge advantage for our offense.
5. The long layoff will be good for getting healthy, but also tends to inspire one team. When the Gators played Ohio State (also known as Florida’s Ohio State University), the Gator team heard for almost 6 weeks that they didn’t belong in the game and Coach Meyer used that to his advantage. This year who will be inspired?