What Pregame Preparation Is Going on for Alabama and Florida?

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IDecember 4, 2009

For Alabama

1. There was talk of Auburn stealing our hand signals in last week's game and quotes from the Auburn players would tend to confirm that it did in fact happen. So there has been some work on changing those just in case Auburn wanted the "share" that information as they have before.

2. Inserting some new plays on offense is always a good idea and last week the Mark Ingram pass was a good example. Alabama will have something new to show Florida this week that they hope they haven't prepared for.

3. Focusing the energy is the key to this game. Both teams have the horsepower to win this game. The winner will be the one who doesn't get burned on big plays or create turnovers. This week Alabama coaches are more about mental preparation as they are are about game-planning.

They also are to be mentally grounded and not let emotions get away. Saban himself said this team has been waiting for this chance to face Florida again for almost 365 days and it willl be easy to let their enthusiasm get the best of them.

4. This would also mean keeping the defense focused on the objective and not the prize. Florida has given up more sacks than Alabama. A lot more. But wholesale blitzes can be a disaster against Tebow should he step up and either run or make a pass.

The defense is being told that containing Tim Tebow is just as important as sacking him. The goal is to get him off the field, not just to sack him.

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For Florida

1. Getting Alabama out of their rhythm is job one for the defense. Allowing Alabama to chew up both yardage and the clock is the game Alabama prefers. So Florida is focusing on getting Alabama in 3rd-and-long situations where they are not their best.

2. That means a lot more preparation for the defensive backs and especially the linebackers to cover men one-on-one. Florida has been able to stop most team's running offense, but Alabama is not most teams.

To stop the run Florida will be forced to cover receivers and backs one on one. They are all too aware of how that worked for Auburn for last week when trying to single cover Julio Jones.

They are also well aware of Marquis Maze and his speed and ability to bring in the deep balls. Though most people think of a running team, this will be the toughest game for the defensive backs and linebackers.

3. Make the dive play work. If Florida can get marginal or good yardage on the dive play, that could keep some heat off Tim Tebow. This is Florida's bread and butter play. They hope to catch Alabama in rushing and burn them with the little shuttle passes too.

4. Teaching patience is something Urban Meyer is stressing this week. He is telling his team that they won't be able to impose their will on this team like they have other teams and they are in a war for four quarters.

If the dive play isn't working now, it may later. Just be patient. If you take a few three-and-outs, don't get discouraged. Be patient. Alabama is going to have their share of them too.

Lastly, he's telling them Alabama wins their games in the fourth quarter, so it's important to stay focused right until the final whistle. Just because they may be ahead late in the game is no need to relax, and he only has the Auburn game to point to.


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