Austin Knows What He's Facing

Teryl Austin has spent a good part of the last decade in the NFL and knows NFL talent when he sees it. The Florida Gators defensive coordinator has his hands full scheming this week to stop Alabama's running attack with their two headed monster at tailback. Austin understands the Gators will have to be at their best Saturday to slow the Crimson Tide down and is looking forward to the challenge.

Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson by themselves would scare most defensive coordinators. That the two are on the same team is a little bit on the ridiculous side. The Alabama duo will be the focal point of an offensive attack that the Gators will see this weekend when the No. 1 Crimson Tide takes on the No. 7 ranked Gators.

Teryl Austin knows their hands are full with the two beasts of running backs.

"We are going to do our best," Austin said as he shrugged off the questions regarding the pair of backs. "We will go real hard. We are going to try and cut down the running lanes for one and the tackling. The biggest thing is they make people miss. Not just miss, but they can run over you. They run with speed, elusiveness, and power. It's a tough combination, they are really the best backs we will face."

Austin, previously with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, understands that these guys will be playing on Sundays.

"They are NFL guys," he said. "Ingram is a powerful runner that keeps great pad level. He hits the hole in really one step...can get down hill and can get to full speed acceleration real fast. It's the same thing with Richardson, except I think he is probably quicker and more elusive than Ingram. They can do everything and are really complete backs."

If that wasn't enough, the Gators will have to deal with an Alabama quarterback that hasn't lost a game in high school or college. Greg McElroy is the brains that drives the Crimson Tide offense. Austin knows his defense will have to have to keep them honest for the entire play if the Gators are going to have any luck stopping the Tide offense.

"I think the key to stopping him is that he keeps plays alive with his feet...he never panics once the play breaks down," Austin said of the savvy signal caller. "Then he finds the open receiver. I think the key is when the play does break down, we stay disciplined in our coverage in the back end with all seven guys and make sure we keep an eye on our guy and are not looking at him. Then, let the pass rush do the work from there."

If the trio above isn't enough, Alabama trots out some receivers that will also be playing on Sunday in the future. Julio Jones stands 6-4 and Marquis maze can fly, the two compliment the Tide offense very well. The Gators have been playing stellar pass defense and lead the country in interceptions with 12 so far this season. Austin will need his guys to step up again like they have been.

Janoris Jenkins, Jeremy Brown, and Cody Riggs are three of the guys that will really have their hands full this weekend.

"I thought Janoris and Jeremy did a fine job," Austin said of their play against a great Kentucky offense last year. "We talked about that after the game."

Riggs struggled against the bigger receivers at Kentucky and they don't get much bigger than Jones of Alabama. It is something to be concerned about.

"Cody struggled a little bit, but it's a learning experience for him," Austin said. "He will be better this next time. That issue's going to come up and have some big receivers this week, so we have to be ready to play. I expect them to do well.

"There were a couple of times he was in position but he thought he had to face guard the guy and he really could have looked for the ball and made a play on the ball before it ever gets to him. If you get into a jump ball with those guys because you aren't in position, you will probably lose it. If you get in position to go make the play, then you have a chance to win. It's like going against a big guy to make a rebound."

The last game on the road saw the secondary give up a couple of big plays due to blown assignments. Tennessee scored two long touchdowns due to blown coverages. Those things happen, and all you can do is try and coach through them as much as possible.

"I would love to say that will never happen again, but I have been in this game a long time and it happens," Austin said. "All you can do is coach against it and it's really an emphasis for our guys to communicate and all be on the same page. Even if we are all playing the wrong thing, if we're all playing the same thing, then we're good."

Austin is pleased with the play of his defense overall this year and will need them to stay focused for 60 minutes in Tuscaloosa this weekend. With all the great athletes, a Nick Saban team comes well prepared to attack the opponent's short comings. They did that exceptionally well in the SEC Championship Game taking advantage of Florida's slower linebackers and getting them manned up in pass coverage.

"One of the things is we have tackled well this year," he said. "We will have to tackle well on Saturday, anything less than our best will not be good enough."

"When you watch Alabama, they game plan like an NFL team," Austin said. "They attack perceived weaknesses of your team and maybe a player they think they can take advantage of. When you watch tape you don't see the same things. They do what they do well, but they may attack a certain scheme or player. So, as a coaching staff we have to know where we are struggling and what are we doing maybe not as well and make sure we shore that up."

While the Florida defense has played well all season, the offense has struggled at times. Austin doesn't see it like that. He knows that it takes all phases of the game to win.

"It's always a team effort," he said. "People say they've struggled, but our offense has controlled the ball and they haven't turned it over. Our special teams is playing well. Every game is going to be a complete effort. It's not going to be on them, it's not going to be on us, it's going to be on all of us.

"That's really the big thing our guys want to do. If we can get better in every phase...offense, defense, and special teams, each week, then we're going to be a better team. I think we are starting to be a better team because we are improving in those areas each week. Is it good enough to go to Tuscaloosa and win? We'll find out."

Yes we will.
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