Lots of Similarities Between Gators and Tide

Jeremy Brown looks at the Alabama football program and feels like he's looking into a mirror. The scheme on both sides of the ball is different, but the talent of the players and coaching staff is why Brown believes it will be the top two programs in college football facing off this Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

"Right now I feel Alabama and Florida are the top two football programs as a whole in the nation," Brown said before the Gators took the field for Tuesday's practice. "You always hear about the Gators and Alabama. This is becoming a big rivalry. We both want to be considered that top program. Every time we play each other from here out, it's probably going to be about who is No. 1."

Brown feels that added intensity around the football facility this week. There is more focus to details in watching film and an added urgency in everything the team does. There isn't time to waste.

"You feel that it's Alabama," Brown said. "You can just tell from conversations between the players. We just can't get overhyped for this. It's another game to Atlanta. We've got to take care of business."

The focus on the practice field is for the Florida defense to gang tackle, especially when Alabama runs the ball. The two-headed system of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson is difficult for any team to stop. Even in a win over Arkansas last week where the Razorbacks seemed to slow the Crimson Tide offense down, they still ran for 227 yards.

"We'll probably be bringing someone else in the box and leaving us out on an island," Brown said. "That's something we've got to step up to."

The issue with bringing the extra defender into the box is it leaves a lot of one-on-one coverage with the receivers. Alabama may be labeled as a smash mouth team that prefers to run the ball, but they have game breaking receivers on the outside that make it difficult to focus mostly on Ingram and Richardson.

Their receivers also have good height. Last weekend, the Florida secondary faced a Kentucky receiving corps whose smallest productive receiver was 6-4. It served as a good test for what the Gators will try to stop this weekend. However, it's the depth of playmakers at receiver that makes Alabama tough to stop.

"That's something that is different from other teams," Brown said. "They have three or four receivers that can start anywhere in the country, and their quarterback does them a good job of getting the ball."

The most well known receiver for the Crimson Tide is Julio Jones. The 6-4, 220-pound receiver has strong hands and surprising shiftiness. His size also makes him a deep threat.

"This is a big one," Brown said of the junior receiver. "He's almost a perfect receiver, being physical, tall and big. We're going to have to focus on stopping him."

Jones is the receiver who gets the most attention, but it was Marquis Maze who burnt the Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship game. He made five receptions for 96 yards and ran past Florida defenders with ease.

"He's a dangerous guy, real fast in and out of breaks," Brown said. "He's definitely a headache for defensive coordinators. He's special."
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