Rivalry Week UF vs. FSU Roundtable Part II

One of the biggest games of the college football season will be on display this weekend when the Florida State Seminoles hosts the Florida Gators. In this installment we discuss what would your game plan be if you were Coach Andrews, Coach Fisher and your most memorable moment in a UF/FSU Game.

You're Jimbo Fisher what's your game plan?

Mack- If I'm Coach Fisher I am thinking about being aggressive and creative. I'm going to call multiple formations. I'm looking to exploit match-ups. I'm getting ready to play D'Vontrey Richardson because of what he brings to the table. I'm looking to run the football on the edges, up the middle, and reverses. I'm going to make a conscious effort to run the football no matter what because all of our wins have been because of a successful running game and this game will be no different. I'm going to continue running bubble screen's because they are safe plays that are basically like runs and if UF jumps the play we'll go up top. The main thing that I'm stressing is execution. But we are holding nothing back.

Fish- Run, Run, Run…and if you don't get it on third down, Punt. FSU needs to limit the amount of times Florida gets the football. So when FSU gets the football Jimbo needs to make the most of his opportunities by scoring and controlling the clock. If FSU can control the clock like they have done in so many other games this year the odds of them winning go up. Jimbo also needs to get his playmakers the ball. I would put Devo on the field with Ponder. I would have Jermaine and Antoine in the same backfield. Get your playmakers on the field and make Florida's defense have to cover everyone.

Nate- If I were Jimbo I would open everything up, and I would take more chances down the field. A dimension this FSU team has that they haven't had lately is the running game. In my opinion this is an area I think FSU can make some plays with Antone Smith and Jermaine Thomas. But Christian Ponder is going to have to play his best game, and get guys like Greg Carr and Corey Surrency involved. There in not one corner on Florida's roster that can handle those two one-on-one. The wide receivers are weapons, so getting the screen game going is an option Fisher has to look at.

Also, I would get D'Vontrey Richardson involved. While he isn't ready to be an every-down quarterback, he frankly makes plays. He can run with the best, and is underrated as a passer. I'd line him up everywhere I could. I expect some trick plays this week.

Richie- Do what has worked for us so far this season. Establishing the run early is a necessity in order to be productive against UF. Whether it is using the option, Antone Smith, Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones, we need to find a way to move the ball on the ground against the Gators. They only give up 102 rush yards a game and we need to make sure we can get at least 150-200 yards.

We also need to find a way to mix it up. We need to find our best plays and use them as many times as we can in as many different formations as we can to keep them off guard. Making sure to calls plays that Christian Ponder is comfortable with is very important to get his confidence going early on in the game, which means a lot of short throws and screens. Also, put him in position to make plays with his legs. I will also look to give D'Vontrey Richardson his biggest role of the season this weekend. Ole Miss was very successful running the wildcat formation against UF and with Richardson, we can run a similar offense. Giving him as many run pass options as we can will keep UF's defense off balance and spread them out allowing us to have more options of what we can do on offense.

Steve51- If I was Jimbo Fisher (Apparently I'm the wannabe Jimbo), my game plan would be very similar to what it has been all season. Run the ball, control the clock. I don't think UF's defense (while good) is good enough for us to say we have to change things up. The best thing we can do on offense this week is keep Tebow, Harvin, Rainey, etc OFF the field. The lighter the load we put on our defense the better it is for the team, and eventually the less pressure on our offense. Lets face it we aren't a team built for a shoot out. Lets run our Stretch, Zone, Cutback, lets run our Bubbles, Slip Screens, Quicks, Slants, fades. Lets run our boots, reverses, options. They have been working all season, why change it?

I would add in a FEW wrinkles this week, but we don't need to try and do to much. We are getting GOOD at what we do, lets continue that. Lets not gamble to much and take too many risks. That plays RIGHT into UF's hands. They are a big play defense and their offense capitalizes on those things. They are a SUDDEN change team. My philosophy is lets wear their defense down with the thunderous legs of Antone, Ponder, DVO (lets get him more packages), and Thomas. Doing so will set things up for us in the 4th quarter, it will keep the game close, and lastly keep their offense off the field!

Jason- If I were Jimbo Fisher I would continue to do what I've done all year -- spread the field, count the numbers, and take what the defense is giving. Obviously, FSU has to establish the running game right away (something it could not do against the defensive fronts of Wake Forest and Boston College), but I would probably start with a little more quarterback-heavy running game in this one. Give UF a taste of its own medicine with a few early runs from Ponder and more D'Vontrey Richardson than usual. Florida's defensive front isn't especially big, so the 'Noles should have some success in their zone running game. Honestly, I would also challenge UF deep a couple times early in the game, throwing it up to Surrency or Carr and trying to get a big play early. Florida will certainly try to take the running game away, so a play-action pass or two might just be there if it can be timed properly.

You're Mickey Andrews what's your game plan?

Mack- If I'm Coach Andrews I'm going to run multiple defenses with multiple coverages. I'm going to tell the defense not to show the defense too early and disguise it the best way that they can. Tim Tebow has struggled when defenses (Ole Miss) has mixed up coverages against him. I'm blitzing my players from everywhere so that Tebow does not have all day to pick my defense apart. Last but not least we want to make Florida one dimensional by taking away the running game and forcing them to throw.

Fish- Whatever Mickey did last week, he needs to do more of the same. I would go with a three man front of Marcus White, Neefy Moffett and Everette Brown. FSU did this last week and it led to a sack. FSU needs to move Brown around and not let one guy key on him. I would also do some cornerback and safety blitzes. The way to beat Tebow is get to him before he gets to you. Auburn did this to him last year. Miami had some success early in their game getting to him. Michigan got to Tebow. You have to make life uncomfortable for him.

Nate- First off I'd mix up the packages. Spread offenses make it easy for teams to read what the defense is doing. Before the snap I'd mix it up and line guys up in different types of formations. Second, I'd use the guys on defense who were fast, have the ability to get off blocks, and those who tackle well. In this game no one has a set position. If the Noles have to play a 3-5-5, so be it. Get guys on the field who can pursue and make plays for the defense. Third, FSU has to generate exotic blitz packages and get outside the protection scheme. Blitzing 6 guys up the gut will not work. Teams that are able to get a pass rush on this team usually contain Tebow and UF's offense. If I'm FSU I stay away from the Cover 1's and Cover 2's, i.e. the traditional defenses FSU historically may run.

Steve51- Just take it too them. Blitz everyone (not at once) from every where. Lets get Tim Tebow thinking EVERY play. Where is it coming from? Like I said in the first question WE have to dictate the flow of the game. We can't be scared of giving up a big play. This is a VERY good offense, they are going to get some big plays. ITS GOING to happen. We can NOT be concerned with that. We have to take advantage of every mistake UF makes (no matter how small) and we have to FORCE them to make mistakes.

No matter how well our offense plays if we let Florida take the game to us on defense then we will lose big. Blitz like crazy, Do some Zone blitzes. Have different alignments for the Defensive Front 4. Don't let their Offensive Line get into a groove. Don't let any of them get any kind of Rhythm. I'd slant and pinch like crazy on the defensive front. Pinch and roll the safeties up, blitz the OLB's off the edge. UF's offense under Tim Tebow has looked human when blitzed. Miami did it too them. Our defensive personnel is better than Miami's. Defensively we HAVE to throw out all the stops. Their Offensive line is better than our defensive line, they have much more speed and better athletes, if we just sit back and try to play normal, we'll get murdered.

Richie- Keeping Florida's offense in check for 60 minutes is almost impossible. Slowing them down is a much more attainable goal than stopping them. In order to do that, we have to get pressure on Tim Tebow. Ole Miss blitzed Florida on almost every single play when they met in September and it paid off. We have to blitz as often as possible, but make sure a we a better job of disguising it than we have in previous games. If we can keep him guessing as to where the pressure is coming from, he is not a good enough thrower to sit back and kill us with his arm. Zone blitzes will be most effective against UF.

We have the speed to play a lot of man against them, but we will need to make sure we play a lot of zone against them too. They will run a lot of reverse type option plays and jet sweeps, which makes it a necessity to stay disciplined and stay at home. Running zones allows you to always have a defender where to ball will end up; from there, it is up to the defender to make the play. As long as we mix up coverages, don't miss assignments and get to Tebow, we will be able to slow them down to a pace that our offense should be able to keep up with.

Jason- If I'm Mickey Andrews, I match UF's personnel groupings with standard nickel and dime packages, using Ingram as a flex player at times to give a LB/S hybrid. I would try to bring controlled pressure from multiple (and disguised) angles with a lot of mixed zone coverages behind it. The biggest thing in stopping this kind of offense is fundamentals -- do not run around blocks or it's going to create massive seams in the defense that will result in big plays. If the defense forces UF to make sustained drives, it has won its matchup. Again, it's not so much about scheming something exotic as making sure guys are in position and tackle in space.

What is your best memorable moment in a UF/FSU game?

Mack- I have two victories and one loss. It would either be Warrick Dunn's run up the sideline in Gainesville or Florida State's last victory verse Florida with a Rix to Sam connection for a TD. I think I jumped through the roof. Another moment that didn't end up a FSU victory but it was the first UF/FSU game that I watched in person in 2004. That game was electric.

Fish- Peter Warrick to Ron Dugans that play will always stick out to me. FSU just got a big play from Travis Minor only to get it called back by a penalty. FSU did not play it safe and the next play was Warrick to Dugans. I know the rest of you guys will pick Charlie Ward to Dunn in the Swamp. I also think the Chris Rix to PK Sam stands out as well.

Nate- The biggest memory of this rivalry that sticks in my head is the Choke at Doak. I'll never forget being so angry in the first 3 quarters in a game (it would later be surpassed when FSU got obliterated in the Sugar Bowl as they lost the title game to UF). I came this close to turning it off, but I couldn't. It's the best quarter of football I ever seen. Scoring 28 points and dominating a UF team everyone thought was the most talented team in the nation was a win in my book, especially after seeing how smug and cocky the Gator players were throughout the game.

Richie- In 2003, my father and I made the drive up to Gainesville from the Orlando area. It was my first time ever attending a game in the rivalry and needless to say, we didn't leave disappointed. We could see I-75 from our nosebleed seats, and to make it worse, it wasn't even in the FSU section. On 4th and 14, that was probably the loudest I have heard a college football stadium, until Rix found Dominick Robinson and the place silenced. You know the rest. Rix hits Sam for the game winner and we get out of the swamp with our most recent win tin the history of the series. It felt great walking out of the stadium wearing our Florida State gear looking at every Gator who had a lot of disbelief on their face.

Steve- 2000. 30-7. Freezing cold, in the rain. My Freshman year at FSU. My first real life UF/FSU game. I sat in the student section. It was the first time I heard the F-L-O-R-I-D-A-S-U-C-K-S FLORIDA SUCKS FLORIDA SUCKS FLORIDA SUCKS WOOOOOOOOOO version! We put a WHOOPING on UF in Weinke's final season. It was GRAND!

Jason- Warrick Dunn's long touchdown reception from Charlie Ward in the '93 game is probably the most memorable good moment. I'll never forget Jaquez Green's 63 yard fourth quarter reception in the '97 game, though. Unfortunately, that's probably my most memorable moment from the series.

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