This is the first installment of a weekly series with a set of objectives that the Florida Gators need to accomplish to win their game. Every week I’ll break down the opponent and try to give you a set of objectives that, if accomplished, should bring a victory for Florida. This week’s opponent is Southern Miss and Florida is a 20-point favorite to open the season with a win.
As we start this season, most of the objectives are going to center on the offense. Outside of the cornerback position, the defense is experienced and talented. The offense on the other hand has been scrutinized by some since the start of last season. There are some things people want to see. So, here we go with “Hollywood Bob’s Five Main Objectives” for winning the game.
Establish the running game. The Golden Eagles have some new faces up front but are projected to be better than last year with the insertion of four junior college linemen in the two deep. The Gators have a lot of new faces on the offensive line and the jury is still out on how effective they will be. The Golden Eagles will dance around the field similar to the John Thompson defenses at Arkansas a few years ago. Please note that Thompson was the defensive coordinator for years at Southern Miss back in the 1990s. They will disguise their fronts this way and try and make it difficult for the young guys.
The Gators should be more effective running this year because they will implore more of a zone blocking scheme. This should help with the defense they are facing Saturday. Inevitably a zone blocking scheme means you are blocking an area instead of a particular person. Therefore all the movement by the defense won’t effect the assignment of the offensive linemen.
Three Downs and Out on Defense. The Gator defense has been pubbed, by me for one, as a nasty machine this year. They need to come out and dominate the game early. The defense needs to flex its muscle and continually get the ball back for the offense to do its thing. The Gators were one of the best in the country last season in ball control and that was mainly due to the defense being stout. They need to take that to a different level this year and force the offense match up against the defense, rather than having to match the opponent’s offense.
Offense Needs to Force their Will. I don’t think the offense needs a fullback to succeed. I believe it has all the component parts to do what they really want to do on offense. With some young receivers stepping up and an offensive line more conducive to the style of play they would like to implement, the offense should be able to dictate to the defense. In other words, do not let the defense force personnel. If they line up with eight in the box, then beat them with the spread and go deep. If they line up 6-7 in the box, then use the road graders up front and plow through the weaker defensive front. The Meyer offense should be dictating the action and not reacting to the defense. One day it will, will that day be Saturday?
Chris leak Needs to Show Command. Nothing will strike fear in the hearts of defensive coordinators than for Leak to come out and dominate and know exactly where outlets one through five are in his passing rotation. Of course this dependent on the receivers knowing what they are doing and the older guys should know the offense much better than they did last year. A senior quarterback with great passing skills and a quartet of veteran receivers should be able to really break some records and make defenses sweat this season.
Continuous Heat Up Front. I know this is similar to number two, but it might be wise to protect the inexperienced cornerbacks by bringing the heat early and often. Some coordinators want to play passive and the corners off. This wont be the case with these defensive coordinators. They will rely on man coverage and they should feel real comfortable with the pressure that the front seven is expected to apply against the offense.
As we go through the season, these objectives will change. When a weakness shows up one week it will be an objective to correct the following week. Also, the particular opponent may deserve its own objective to defend against or attack offensively. We will approach each week for the season. The thought being if the Gators complete all of these objectives, they should win going away.