LSU Defense Surprises UF Offense

Game planning for an opponent has to deal with tendencies and according to Florida offensive lineman Carl Johnson, the LSU defense threw a kink in the game plan when facing the Gators. LSU hasn't relied on excessive pressure so far this year, but on Saturday night, LSU decided they were going to bring as many to the backfield as they could get away with. It took some time for Florida to adjust.

LSU came into the Florida game with one of the stingiest defenses in America. When things are working so well, it would be a surprise to change things up. Yet, that is what happened. Florida senior guard Carl Johnson told the media Saturday night that while prepping for the game, the LSU Tigers didn't show much of a tendency to blitz. That changed Saturday night.

"Based on film they weren't blitz heavy," Johnson said after the Gators heart wrenching 33-29 loss to LSU. "Today they came out blitzing on almost every snap. We came out and made some adjustments and we kept rolling in the second half."

The offense struggled in the first half like they have done almost the entire season and blitz protection and blocking was part of the problem, but according to Johnson, there was more to it.

"It's a piece of it," Johnson said of the problems that the blitz game added. "I can't speak for everything I'm just a lineman and don't see what the receivers do or quarterback reads or options for the running backs. I can just go from what I saw and they were blitzing us. It was (a bunch of) minor things, nothing major."

One thing that was important to the Gators was protecting their quarterback. Junior signal caller John Brantley was injured a week earlier and missed a lot of practice time during the week with hurt ribs and finger on his throwing hand. With all the trickery up front, Brantley was hit a lot on Saturday night. According to Johnson, Brantley was a trooper all week.

"I know his ribs were hurt, but I didn't think they were as hurt as people were making it out to be," Johnson said. "It was a bruise or something, not broken like a (Michael) Vick thing. He was in pain, but he's a tough kid and kept playing through it.

"I thought he fought hard and felt Brantley left it all on the field. We all have plays we wish we could have back, but as a whole I think he played good. For a quarterback that isn't really a down hill runner or a bruiser I think he played great."

After never really having much of a lead or momentum in the game,. The gators had a fabulous 10-play, 80-yard drive to take the lead with just 3:21 left on the play clock. After a lackluster offensive day, the drive was enough to send the Swamp into a frenzy.

"It was a phenomenal last drive offensively and we punched it in," Johnson said. "There were three minutes left and I was really happy...(The Swamp) was really loud, I think it was the loudest I have heard it in my five years."

The loss was tough for a team that hasn't lost two games in a season for the last three years. Johnson said his Gators were ready after the game top get to work on next week's contest against Mississippi State.

"Not here, I don't know anyone that likes this feeling," Johnson said of he and his teammates. "If you like this feeling you are a born loser. I can't take this, and I can't do this week in and week out. We have practice tomorrow and have to get better."

"We fight so hard to come back just to lose. I would rather just get blown out and not have a chance than to be so close and someone hold you back from the finish line. It's SEC ball and I signed up for this. We can't dwell on this, Mississippi State is a good team and we can still control our own destiny. The thing is we have to win out now, we have no room for error, we just blew our last chance."
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