How the Florida Gators will beat the Tennessee Volunteers

Michael OleszekAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2008

When Florida is on Offense


Protect Tebow 

Sounds simple, right? Easier said than done.

Miami pressured Florida all night, and Tennessee will look to do the same. UT Defensive Coordinator, John Chavis, is one of the best in the country, despite what occured in the Rose Bowl two weeks ago.

Look for UT to throw the kitchen sink at Tebow with a variety of looks, blitzes, and stunts from the D-line. Florida will get a big boost if Jim Tartt plays, if not; Tebow will see a lot more orange than he would like.


Find a running game 

Week One, Percy Harvin is out and the Gators run for 255 yards with a variety of ball carriers.

Week Two, Percy Harvin plays and the Gators run for 89 yards on 27 carries. Tebow had nearly half of the carries and Harvin scored the only TD.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that every team the Gators face will gear up to stop Tebow and Harvin first, and make the rest of the team beat you. If you have a good enough team, you will beat Florida. It worked last season and almost worked this season.

Offensive Coordinator, Dan Mullen, has got to draw from his bag of playmakers and get them the ball. It can't be Tebow and Harvin every play. Tennessee is too good defensively for that to happen, and it will be up to Moody, Rainey, James, Demps, Moore, and whomever else that will carry the football to run on the Vols.

Point blank: Florida runs consistently, they will win the game.


Pull a rabbit out of the hat

In other words: Pull a trick play. In two of the three previous UT-Florida games, Meyer has sprung a reverse of some sort on the Vols.

In 2005, it was Florida's only TD. In 2007, Florida used it a bunch and UT couldn't stop it. You would think that this year Tennessee will be looking for it.

Now is the time to pull some other type of shenanigans. It worked for the Vols in 2006, and it re-energized Neyland Stadium, after the Vols fell behind early. A big play or a TD off of a trick play will take the crowd out of the game, which will be key in what should be a hostile environment. 


Beware of Eric Berry

Who is Eric Berry? He's the guy who had a pick-six against Florida last season and kept UT in the football game. Oh yeah, he's also a true sophomore and was a freshman All-American.

He's their best defensive player, and Florida needs to avoid him, period. Tebow tested him last year and Berry made him pay.


When Florida is on Defense

Keep playing solid defense

The defense was a major question mark coming into this season for Florida; and two games into this season, there is an 11-headed monster on the defensive side of the ball.

Hawai'i didn't score until the third team was in the game, and Miami didn't make a trip into the redzone all night. The defense will need to play lights out football against the best talent they've seen so far.  


Make Jonathan Crompton throw the football

Tennessee will look to run the ball early to set up the pass. They have been embarassed when trying to run against Florida's defense. In the last two meetings, Tennessee has 26 yards rushing, combined.

Those running backs that ground out those 26 yards? Still there.

Florida will load up to stop the run, and that will put the Tennessee offense in Crompton's hands. Tennessee has solid WR's for Crompton to throw to, but will the O-line give him enough time to find them?


Beware of the X-factor  

Tennessee really hasn't shown it much yet, but Gerald Jones and the 'G-gun' could be the X-factor against Florida. Jones is a dynamic playmaker who can score anytime he touches the ball.

UT broke it out against UCLA, and its possible that Florida could see a healthy dose of Gerald Jones on Saturday.


When Florida is on Special Teams

Make your field goals

Now that Florida's kicker has gotten practice kicking a field goal in game conditions, he needs to make them if the game is on the line. Four of the last 10 games in this series have been decided by three points or less, and this year could be more of the same.


Pressure the return game

In the last two meetings, Brandon James has torched UT on punt returns. In 2006, he was tripped by the punter in the open field and he had a TD called back on an iffy penalty. Last season, he took the first one to the house and finished with over 200 total return yards.


Get after the punter

UCLA went after the punter and blocked one, Florida blocked one against Miami. Colquitt is still out.

Urban Meyer teams are known for blocking kicks. It could spell doom for the Vols if Meyer turns the blockers loose at any point in the game. Since Meyer has been the coach at Florida, the Gators are undefeated when they block a kick.


Final Score Prediction - Florida 41, Tennessee 17


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