Florida to battle another Ohio foe

One might be led to assume there are no parallels between LeBron James, Tim Tebow and this year’s edition of the Florida Gators football team.

We all know what assuming does, now don’t we?

The poor state of Ohio has been Florida’s whipping boy for nearly a half-decade, and with Ohio’s Bowling Green State heading into Gainesville in t-minus four days, Matt Elam, Mike Gillislee and the rest of the Florida football team is ready to pull a Tebow and beat down another Ohio opponent. BGSU coach Dave Clawson has been prepping his team for an outcome more to his liking, however.

James left Cleveland Cavaliers and the Midwestern plains of Ohio for the warmer and greener pastures of sunny Florida.

Tim Tebow’s Gators trounced Ohio State to once again prove where the best athletes and coaches choose to play the game.

Urban Meyer, however, went the other way, leaving the haven he had built for himself as a two-time national champion with Florida in favor of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

This weekend, for better or worse, it will be Bowling Green’s turn to continue the state of Ohio’s unique rivalry with the University of Florida.

Although, of course, Clawson does not have a LeBron or Tebow-like talent on his roster, the interstate feud is one Clawson has been readying his athletes for.

Readying is one thing, but Clawson’s Falcons are going to have their work cut out for them in the team’s only scheduled appearance on national television this season.

“Well, we’re excited to get going, and we’ve had a really good month of camp, and more importantly, I think our players had a great summer,” Clawson said. “Obviously, this weekend we have a tremendous challenge, we play one of the premier programs in the country, a team that’s won multiple national championships. They’ve got great talent, they’re very well-coached and it’s going to be a tremendous challenge going down to The Swamp and playing against a team of that caliber.

“Our guys are excited and we’re ready to get going.”

Who wouldn’t want to share the gigantic stage of The Swamp? However, Bowling Green stunk up every field it played on in 2010, to the tune of a 2-10 record behind the efforts of a true freshman starting quarterback – bring back any nightmares, Gators faithful? While the team improved in 2011, the three-game bump in wins did not exactly earn a front page spot in The New York Times.

Clawson did spend a season as the offensive coordinator for Tennessee, so he knows what it’s like to coach against the big boys. His team doesn’t, but he has done everything in his control to help his Falcons athletes take flight.

“You can’t control how many people are going to be there or how loud the place is,” Clawson said. “There’s no real way to simulate that. We haven’t been able to get 100,000 people to come to Bowling Green and watch us practice and make noise, so, we’ve pumped in some sound, which isn’t the same. It’s certainly not going to vibrate the way it is down there.

“We’ve really focused on the execution aspect of what we have to do. There’s things we do control and things we don’t control and like I said earlier, playing with effort, lining up correctly, making sure guys know what they’re doing, those are things that have to carry us through the atmosphere.”

The stadium is going to be loud, and the field is going to shake with the fervor of tens of thousands of lifetime members of the Gator Nation, all hoping to see yet another Ohio team sent back up North not soaring, but with its wings clipped.

Not excited yet? If this doesn’t help, then head on back to Ohio: