Muschamp Focused on Miller

It's hard to prepare for an offense like Ohio State. The statistics might say otherwise, but quarterback Braxton Miller gives the Buckeyes an unpredictable angle. The freshman's scrambling ability makes him hard to prepare for. The Gators have been preparing for weeks for times when Miller gets outside the pocket and does what he does best. He has a knack for making people miss tackles.

"Braxton Miller is a fabulous athlete," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. "He's 6-3, 215 pounds and can really run, stick his foot in the ground and change directions. You've got to have really good pass rush discipline as far as understanding where he is in the pocket. The option game creates a lot of off rhythm plays to create positive yards.

"As you continue to watch him through the season, they've been able to do some things in the run game and throwing the football. It's when he creates some things inside the pocket and creates one-on-one match ups in space."

There's also a difficulty in recreating what Miller brings to the table. The Gators don't have a quarterback that can match his athletic ability with the ball in his hands. Florida worked on tackling, an issue that plagued the team all season, over the month break, but Muschamp is worried about that with such an athletic quarterback under center for the Buckeyes.

"As a defensive coach, the biggest concern going into a bowl game is tackling," Muschamp said. "It's that fastball tempo, and we've done a lot of good work through bowl practice to prepare us for that, but when you haven't tackled in a long time in a game-like situation, it is a little different."

Discipline will be key for the Florida defensive line. The unit has struggled to slow down athletic quarterbacks this season, and that's because they have been too aggressive and come out of their lanes. If the young linemen can stay disciplined and keep Miller in the pocket, it would slow down his legs.

"We've just got to keep him in the pocket and make him pass the ball," Florida defensive end William Green said. "We can't let him run around and make plays."

Miller's passing ability has improved throughout the season, but two games ago, he got back his best receiving threat. DeVier Posey went through two five-game suspensions and has returned in a big way against Penn State and Michigan.

The Buckeyes are now getting creative in how they get the ball in his hands.

"DeVier is a guy outside that you've got to account for," Muschamp said. "He's a speed guy down the field that catches the ball extremely well. They tried to get him the ball more in the Michigan game with quick screens and things to get the ball in his hands."

FINAL GAME FOR BRANTLEY: The feeling was starting to set in for John Brantley as he sat at the podium on Saturday morning. He will play his last game in orange and blue in Monday's Gator Bowl against Ohio State. After being in Gainesville for five years and learning under Tim Tebow, Brantley's time at the helm of the Florida offense didn't go as planned.

However, that hasn't changed the way he feels about the school he grew up rooting for.

"I grew up as a Gator, and now that I'll be exiting this program after this game, I'll always be a Gator, through thick and thin," Brantley said. "I'll always be wearing the orange and blue and watching them on Saturdays for years to come."

Brantley has been pressed with "what if" questions in recent years. it was obvious that he wasn't a fit for the spread offense that Urban Meyer ran at Florida. Brantley had offers from schools all over the country, but he still wouldn't change anything about the school where he chose to play.

"I'm just fortunate enough to wake up every day and put on a Gator uniform," Brantley said. "To be able to have this opportunity and play major college football at such a great university and one that I've loved my whole life, it's a dream come true. I wouldn't want it any other way."

The emotions for Brantley have already started to kick in. He was knocked out of the game against Florida State because of a concussion after he threw three interceptions, but the senior quarterback said he's fine and will play.

The emotions are the biggest issue for him to get over.

"It's starting to," Brantley said when asked if the emotions are setting in. "(The seniors) never thought this day would come, but it has and it's here. It has gone by fast and I'm looking forward to a great game. It's going to be emotional knowing it's our last game."

MEYER'S SHADOW: Players and coaches on Florida haven't said much this week about Urban Meyer, but the common theme is that they don't think he will play an impact in this game. When Muschamp was asked his first question about Meyer at Saturday's press conference, he shot back and asked, "Who?"

The Florida players and coaches don't expect to Meyer to play any role in Monday's game.

"Absolutely none," Muschamp said. "Zero. I really don't think it has any factor. He's going to be the head coach at Ohio State next year-- not right now. It's about the players playing the game on January 2 in the Gator Bowl."

OHIO STATE DEFENSE: The Gators will face a challenge on defense from Ohio State on Monday. It's a unit anchored by its defensive line, especially on the interior. The Buckeyes have some question marks through their defense, but Muschamp knows it will be a tough test.

"They recruit well and they've got some size inside," Muschamp said. "They've got some girth inside, so we've got to get some movement on the line of scrimmage. They're technically sound in what they do. They have had some injuries at the linebacker position. It has been tough for them in being thin at some areas and having to place some younger players in situations they didn't think they would have to going into the season.

"They're going to play hard and be in the right spots. You'll have to make plays to beat them in the game."


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