Thursday, September 17, 2009

Leading into the weekend

1. Since the Miami/FSU game, people have been going on and on about how great the Miami offense is under new coordinator Mark Whipple. For the life of me I cannot figure out why. Granted the game against FSU was a shootout but since when does one game mean your offense is great. Why doesn’t it mean that FSU’s defense is horrific? For the record, I don’t think Ga. Tech is going to be able to stop Miami’s passing game unless they get a pass rush. I also think Miami’s defense, which has difficulty tackling (in case you are wondering that is not a good characteristic for a defense), will struggle tonight too.

2. I am no longer interested in where College GameDay is every weekend. What was once one of the best parts of a college football Saturday has, unfortunately, turned into an on-site pregame show for the ABC 8pm game. While the excuse that Tennessee’s performance last week took away the possibility of GameDay in Gainesville this week seems possible, Chris Fowler tweeted something to effect, the real reason is corporate non-sense. There is no way ESPN is going to pimp an SEC game that isn’t on one of their 500 channels later that day. It is unfortunate but SEC fans will have to realize that if your team is on CBS that week, which means that it is the best SEC game of the week, you have almost zero chance of hosting GameDay.

3. There wasn’t a team in the nation happier than BYU (and that includes FSU) after FSU pulled-off their last minute victory against Jacksonville St. Had FSU lost, BYU’s argument that if they go undefeated they belong in the BCS Championship Game would have taken a serious hit. I expect BYU to try to make a statement Saturday that the game against Oklahoma had more to do with BYU than the injury to Sam Bradford. If BYU is able to have their #1 RB play meaningful snaps this week, they could wear FSU’s defense out.

4. I wonder if Matt Barkley cannot play against Washington, he was still unable to throw at Wednesday’s practice, if he will start another game this year? Remember Aaron Corp, the current #2 QB at USC, was the clear winner of the USC QB competition before he injured his leg in August (cracked fibula). Expect Corp to start against UW, struggle early and then help USC pull away in the second half.

5. Finally, the game that everyone is talking about – Florida/Tennessee. It has been well-chronicled that Monte Kiffin has spent a lot of time trying to figure out a defensive scheme to stop Florida’s spread offense. I expect that Tennessee will use a one deep safety defense, with Eric Berry as a spy on Tebow, although Rico McCoy might be the spy on obvious passing downs. Tennessee is going to dare Tebow & Co. to beat them with the WRs and not allow Demps, Rainey and Tebow to run the ball all day long. Florida’s WR group, other than Riley Cooper, has been less than impressive so far this season, while the running game has been clicking on all cylinders. This is an excellent test for the new offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio. I think Florida will open up the playbook a little more this week – using the Bonzai formation (hurry up no huddle), Tebow under center, and the WildGator, with Joe Haden in the backfield.

Offensively, I look for Tennessee to try to shorten the game by running the ball and using the short passing game. You have to think their theory will be first downs and keep our defense off the field as much as possible. Look for Crompton to use a lot of 3 step drops, especially given the fact that Vols are banged-up along the OL. 3 step drops, in theory, eliminates the thinking process for the QB, which after watching the UT/UCLA game seems to be a problem, and reduces the pressure on the OL to protect the QB. To counter this approach I look for us to come out in a more traditional 4-3 defense (we have been running a 3-3-5 for most of the first two games). I think we are going Florida’s defense blitz over 50% of the time – both run blitzes and on passing downs. Tennessee has zero playmakers at the WR position, so the staff will feel comfortable leaving Jenkins and Haden man to man.

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