Florida vs. Troy—Much Ado About...the Trojans?

Trey JonesCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 21:  Jorrick Calvin #14 of the Troy Trojans celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on December 21, 2008 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators take to the Swamp Saturday and face the Troy Trojans in what has become yet another polarizing game for those opposed to premier college football teams loading pre-conference schedules with lesser opponents.


It would be interesting to hear from Oklahoma or Georgia on this issue...


But when you really think about it, the Troy Trojans are the perfect early September opponent for the Gators—or any SEC team for that matter.


Why’s that?


Well, for starters, if you plotted the home towns of the Trojan players on a map you would find that the ripe recruiting grounds of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida are well represented. No surprise since Troy is located in what could be called the epicenter of that area.


What is surprising is how information on the football talent from this area makes the rounds. As competitive as college football recruiting has become, it’s a sure bet that some, if not most, of the current Trojan players popped up on SEC recruitment radars at one time or another.   


Smart coaches love to play against players they know. In the case of Troy, Urban Meyer won’t be preparing to teach a lesson to a recruit that chose a rival team, rather he will be creating a game plan to take advantage of the weaknesses of the players he, and other SEC coaches, opted not to include in their programs.


Cruel? Not if your receiver corps needs a confidence boost and your star quarterback wants to perfect his new throwing motion.


Speed is another reason why Troy makes a great early season opponent.


If the Gators are serious about running the table and repeating as SEC/national champions they must perfect the timing of their spread option rushes and passing routes—AT SPEED. In other words, they need to face an opponent that comes as close to an SEC defense as possible.


Yes, a loss to Bowling Green has tempered the wow factor of the Trojans but they can still field a team with plenty of quickness at the skill positions.   


Urban Meyer and the rest of the Gator offensive staff need to see if Tebow’s revised passing motion telegraphs any hints to quick footed defensive backs. Charleston Southern did not have the speed at the corners or at the safety positions to provide any real feedback regarding this concern, so a test against Troy is a must.


Playing Troy also includes the benefit of facing a defensive unit sophisticated enough to show a variety of competently executed defensive fronts.  


Again, a bit more of a stretch since the loss to Bowling Green, but Troy has a history of preparing well for key games and you can bet that the Trojans will throw everything at the Gators—and will do so early and often.


Not only will these fronts challenge the Gator offense on the field but it will also test to see if the Florida sideline has improved its’ signal calling and audible relay systems. 


Against Charleston Southern, the Gators saw at least two drives stall due to false starts and signaling. An ominous start since Florida ranked near the bottom of the league in penalty yardage last year.


Snap count discipline and play relay issues must be improved before the Tennessee game and absolutely perfected prior to the LSU game. The Trojans give Meyer four more quarters to get it right.


Troy also offers Charlie Strong another opportunity to show us nothing beyond what will win the game against the Trojans. Strong’s squad will face faster wideouts, more powerful linemen, and a more creative game plan from Troy which should translate into 14 or more points.


However, this will be a small concession on part of Strong when his ultimate goal will be to keep SEC opponents guessing up until game time.


Yes, regardless of the flak, facing the Trojans in the Swamp is the perfect senario for the Gators this weekend. 


Naysayers certainly may express an opposing point of view but in light of the goals the Gators have set for themselves this year, the benefits of this arrangement significantly outweigh the liabilities.