With Kickoff in Nashville less than 24 hours away here’s a few things to look for.
Orange…. Blue… Orange… Blue…
There is a large contingent of Gators living in the Volunteer state particularly in the Nashville area and this game is as close to a Gator road/home game as there is outside of Jacksonville. Expect there to be lots of Orange and Blue and expect the Gator crowd to be loud and proud tomorrow evening.
With the Gator offense admittedly needing to develop more balance as they approach the meat of their SEC schedule expect Pease and Co. to open the offense up a little more. Considering that Vanderbilt’s pass defense is weak at best, this looks like as good a time as any to call some downfield play’s particularly with play action to get Driskel some confidence going forward.
They seem to have a few plays each game designed to take advantage of Omarius Hines special skill set and this week should be no different. Last week they had him open on a give and go that should have been six points but Driskel was late on the throw, got hit by the pass rush, and the ball ended up overthrown and out of bounds. Hopefully, this week the timing will be better and expect to see him make some plays downfield.
Pound and Ground part six
While expecting them to open the offense up a little this week you can be sure they will not get away from their core offensive philosophy of strong downhill runs between the tackles with Gillislee and Co. Expect to see a little more of redshirt sophomore Mack Brown and true freshman Matt Jones spelling Gilly and getting some reps early and often as well as a heaping helping of Trey Burton from the wildcat. Jumbo Formation anyone?
On defense look for the cornerbacks to once again have their hands full as they go up against two of the SEC’s best in Jordan Matthews, second in the SEC with 35 receptions, and Chris Boyd Vandy’s deep threat with a 20.4 yards per catch average. Fast and physical these guys closely resemble Tennessee’s duo that gave these guys fits 4 weeks ago in Knoxville. Look for our guys to play a physical game, get a few calls against them, but make some big plays.
Gators pass rushers vs. Jordan Rogers legs
Rogers, who passed for almost 300 yards last year versus Florida, only had 20 yards rushing but he had a couple of key runs to keep 2nd half drives alive and scored one touchdown on the ground. If there is one achilles heel for the defense this year it has been containing athletic qb’s. If they can keep Rodgers in the pocket tomorrow night this one could be over early.
Sacks and turnovers
One of the main focus of the coaching staff in the offseason was creating more turnovers and getting a more consistent pass rush. While they have done that for the most part in the first five games, of course ANY turnovers or sacks would be an improvement over last year, there is still room for improvement. The defense seems to really be playing with intense focus and at a very high level right now. Look for that to continue tomorrow night and it should lead to some big plays from defensive lineman and defensive backs.
Expect this one to be over with by the fourth quarter and a lot of starters resting early. As a result you should get to see some young guys get some valuable playing time. Guys like true freshman Raph Andrades and Latroy Pittman at wide out, Mack Brown and Matt Jones at running back, D Humph on the offensive line, Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler at Buck and Defensive End.
Fast and Furious
One of the things Muschamp stressed in the offseason that we haven’t really seen yet is the need to start fast and furious. These guys, especially on offense, seem like they don’t really get going until after halftime. Expect that to change tomorrow. Muschamp and Pease know that you can’t keep spotting teams a lead particularly on the road in this league and continue to win. So look for them to stress that to the players and take some early shots downfield with play action to get Driskel a little confidence and to keep Vandy from loading the box against the Gators run game. A fast start will surely take the Vandy fan’s out of the game, take away the heart of the Commodore players, and get the Gator crowd stirred up and loud. I think they score early and often and take this one easily in what should amount to a tuneup before the strong test against Spurrier’s Gamecock squad.