The only way the Gators could prepare for this team was to watch film of their players from a year ago and try and transpose what they saw of their talent into watching the offense at the University of Houston and a few other stops from new head coach Kevin Sumlin.
And as expected, Sumlin had a few surprises in store for the Gators, namely a running quarterback that used his legs as much as his arm to hurt the Gators in the first half. It was something that Sumlin hadn't utilized in his previous stops and so it took some time to make adjustments.
The Aggies hurt Florida for 17 points and 269 yards of offense in the first half. The Gators were fighting to make some changes.
"We really didn't have much film on them since they didn't play the first game," senior middle linebacker Jon Bostic said. "We were kind of going off of film from Houston, when they were at Texas Tech, and at Oklahoma State…. they all kind of run the same offense. We knew in the first half we were going to have to make some adjustments. After halftime we made the adjustments, settled down and played football."
The Gators were faced with playing a spread out offense with elite receivers and a quarterback that could run very well. The Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel rushed for over 40 yards in the first half to go along with some safe but effective passing.
The Gators were getting a bit frustrated in The Opening half and some guys were leaving their assignments while trying to chase the speedy signal caller. That made for even more trouble. ,p> "We were losing some gaps here and there with some quarterback draws," Bostic said. "We were just saying let the game come to you and don't jump out of your gap. We tried to get them on third down and they were taking advantage of that. "We weren't playing by the rules and a lot of guys were trying to make some plays. We have to play our gap.
"It was frustrating, but at the same time we knew some of those things were going to happen. We knew we were going to hit some adversity.
"They did some things that we didn't know they were going to come out in, but once we made the adjustments we were fine."
The adjustments were many. Florida had to use different personnel due to some injuries and some due to the fact that older guys weren't doing their jobs properly. The bottom line is they had to take away the quarterback runs and it all started with the play in the trenches.
"We made some adjustments with coverages we wanted for certain plays," Bostic said. "Certain formations we were lining up and we wanted to bring some other blitzes.
"Really it was about winning the line of scrimmage. They were getting us with a lot of QB draws and they leveraged us. In the second half once we settled down we made the stops."
Bostic was proud of his team's effort in the second half and maybe more importantly the fourth quarter. The Gators were outscored by 50ponts in SEC play in the fourth quarter alone a year ago. Florida won the fourth quarter on Saturday 7-0.
"That is big and a good start for us," Bostic said of the solid final quarter play from his team. "It is a good start in the SEC as you never want to go 0-1. We showed today and grew up as a team. We also used a lot of freshmen."
Bostic believes the hard work this team has done off the field will continue to yield big rewards moving forward.
"It started in the summer , we said we wanted to win the fourth quarter and hey, we won the fourth quarter," he said.
And he wants the offense to know that they can lean on the defense come crunch time. Both sides did their part as time ran down in the contest as the defense continued to make stops allowing only three total first downs in the second half and the offense rolled up first downs to run all of the time off the clock at the end.
"We want the game like that. Go into the fourth quarter give the ball back to the offense and let them grind the ball out," he said.