Time For An Impact

Florida State starts a drive deep in their own...

Florida State starts a drive deep in their own territory against the Florida Gator defense, November 24, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all about the game, Gator Nation.

We can’t win the SEC East or the SEC Championship and I’m not about to get into any BCS game talk. This game is simply IT for our Gator football team. We haven’t won pretty and actually it has been horrendously ugly, but 10-1 is 10-1 and against top notch competition so we can’t discount that. I also don’t buy into the talk that everything goes out the window for this rivalry game. We’ve been a superior defensive team all year and that is a must for today and we have to be prepared with a great gameplan. Let’s talk some football…

Florida State is getting credit for having one of the best defensive units we’ve seen this year, but that is a bit misleading as they’ve only played one top ranked team in Clemson and they scored 37 on them. Of course, you don’t really have to be a top ranked defense to shut down our offense, but we will get to that. FSU has probably the most potent offense we have seen this year, probably on par with Georgia. Their QB, EJ Manual, has had some stellar games this year. While our pass rush could use drastic improvement, our secondary can’t give him any easy targets and we will have to shut down their running game of Chris Thompson and Devonta Freeman, who have about 1,300 yards between them. We don’t have a choice today, we have to shut down the run game, otherwise this will get very ugly…but I’ll get to that later as well. Let’s just get to the nuts and bolts of it all. No one thinks we are going to win in Tallahassee because we can’t score on offense against really bad teams and FSU will have the best defense we have seen all season (though I have some arguments with that). We are not favored and not expected to win even though we are ranked #4 in the BCS and are 10-1 against the hardest schedule as rated by the NCAA in the nation. Heck, not even sure why we are even getting on the bus for this game as this is a formality. Let’s just get to the post-game hullabaloo. You’ll have to excuse me if I haven’t given up just yet.

Let me face a few facts up front. We scored one offensive touchdown in each of the last three games against very poor defenses. We’ve relied on our Field Goal kicking and defensive turnovers to generate our offense this year. We can run the ball when our offensive line plays well, but that hasn’t happened lately. We must hold on to the ball to win. All of this would be disconcerting were it not for the fact that we’re somehow 10-1 against superior teams. No matter what the stats say, we can win this game, but the defense must show up and we must force a bunch of turnovers. A Gator defensive or special teams TD might not hurt either, but we must knock the FSU offense around from start to finish. If our defense is as highly touted as we think they have to make an impact today of epic proportions. We can’t have a solid effort from them…we have to have a phenomenal effort from them. I don’t even think I’m asking anything remotely impossible. Our defense is good enough to have a day like this. It is against our main rival in a game with huge repercussions for whoever wins. It comes down to preparation and concentration, but I’m banking on the Florida Gators just having a ton of “want to” for this game. They want to win to prove to everyone that they belong where they do. Florida 17 Florida State 13. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST on ABC TV. I want a special teams AND defensive TD by the Gators today with of course, a FG. While our Gator Club has to meet at a fellow Gators’ home today because of some other rivalry game here in Columbus, Ohio, I hope you are able to join your local Gator Club where a Victory over the Seminoles is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

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