Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Things The Gators Need To Do Versus The Wildcats

Andre Debose Florida Gators
On Saturday, the Florida Gators welcome the Kentucky Wildcats to The Swamp. I can't imagine that too many Gator fans are nervous about the team losing, and most of them probably want to see Will Muschamp and Co. put a large amount of points on the scoreboard. Honestly, I'm not as concerned with the score as I am with using the opportunity to really work on some key areas. For me, there are five items that I would like the Gators to actively work on during tomorrow's game. They are:

1. Get Andre Debose Involved
Seriously. I would like to say this list is in no particular order, but Debose is non-existent in the offense right now. With the kickoffs being moved up he's not going to do much damage there this season. Instead, he needs to use his speed and elusiveness during gameplay. I don't mind seeing him on Jet Sweeps, but would rather see him catching passes down the field. Please Brent Pease make this happen.
2. Figure Out The #2 Back
Neither running back, Mack Brown or Matt Jones, has really solidified the backup role behind Mike Gillislee. While the coaching staff might be perfectly content to rotate those guys through on a consistent basis, I'd like to see one of them step up and take hold of that second spot. If the score gets out of hand tomorrow, that would be the perfect opportunity to see what each can really do.

3. Improve The Short Yardage Run Game
This ties in perfectly with #2 up there, and the Gators should get a fair amount of short yardage opportunities tomorrow. For all of Coach Muschamp's talk about being a tough team when it comes to pounding the ball in the short yardage game the Gators have shown almost no improvement. If they truly want to compete for an SEC title this year they have to get good at blowing the defensive line off the ball in obvious running situations. Otherwise, they risk settling for field goals deep in the red zone, or worse, having to punt the ball away.

4. Practice Better Coverage In The Secondary
After the first half of the game against Tennessee I thought for sure the Vols would have no problem slinging the ball around in the third and fourth quarters. Luckily, there were a few drops, Tyler Bray got very inconsistent and the defensive line and linebackers were able to bring some pressure. Granted, Justin Hunter is one of the best receivers in the SEC, but Marcus Roberson got flat out schooled on a couple plays. I can live with the holding or interference calls if they save a touchdown, but not when it's because your play is sloppy. The secondary has the ability to lock down opposing receivers and tight ends, but they really haven't done it consistently. Hopefully tomorrow we see fundamentals at work.

5. Dial Up Some Punt Pressure
LSU is in two weeks. I'm still not exactly sure how dominant of a team they are, but when they come to Gainesville I hope the Gators are on point in every phase of the game. This includes special teams, and especially punt pressure. LSU has a phenomenal punter, one that can flip the field and run in touchdowns. If there's no pressure, he's going to pin the Gators deep every chance he gets. However, one new wrinkle that frees a defender might make all of the difference in the world, and swing a stadium full of momentum. The Kentucky game presents the perfect opportunity to dial up some of that pressure on what should be multiple punts.

Do I think all five of these will be fine tuned tomorrow? Probably not. However, it's a great chance  for the team to get back in The Swamp and run through some of them at game speed. Hopefully, they show improvement in at least some these areas, and end the game with a W and no significant injuries.

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