Muschamp Notebook: Gators Must Stop Run

The LSU game plan isn't much of a secret. The Tigers want to control the game on the ground. Florida couldn't stop that offensive approach in Baton Rouge last season, but it will have to do a better job at the line of scrimmage to stay in the game on Saturday. The Gators will face a different style of running game when LSU comes to town, and they've been working to get ready for it.

"I do think it's different, more physical run game than we've seen," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. "From a standpoint of pad level, striking and playing blocks up front, you've got to have good gap integrity in what you do and keep your head in your gap.

"If you're in some pressure situations, you've got to make sure you get good penetration and have gap integrity in what you're trying to do."

The Gators haven't faced a team this season that wants to run the ball in the same style that LSU does. The Tigers don't get cute with it. They line up and grind out tough yards through their downhill running game, and there hasn't been much resistance so far this year, as LSU ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 229.6 yards per game on the ground.

It has come from different places, too. Alfred Blue has two 100-yard rushing games this year, but he isn't expected to play on Saturday. There's still plenty of talent in the backfield. Kenny Hilliard has two 100-yard games while Spencer Ware has become the starting running back in recent weeks.

"They're a team that wants to run the ball," Florida linebacker Jon Bostic said. "They're going to grind it out and try to win it in the third and fourth quarter like they've been doing all year."

DIFFERENCE IN A YEAR: The Gators have been here before. They have a 4-0 record and are starting to gain some buzz on the national scene. It happened just last year before Florida lost to Alabama and LSU by a combined score of 79-21.

They're hoping to reverse the curse that last October brought. The first October game comes on Saturday.

"I think we're much better than we were a year ago," Muschamp said. "We're much deeper, more mature and more experienced. I think we're stronger. I think we handle adversity a lot better. And when you play games like this, there's going to be some adversity in the game. I think anybody that was a part of watching us and being a part of our organization last year and this year will notice a night and day difference between our football team. I think we've made tremendous improvement in a short period of time. I think we've addressed issues in our program that we need to shore up.

"Are we where we want to be at? Absolutely not. I'm not trying to say that we've arrived in any stretch of the imagination. But I do think we've improved and I think we've addressed the things we needed to address."

The Gators heard all about it in the offseason. They went through an 0-4 October last season that included losing the four games by a combined score of 120-47. The Florida players heard about it all offseason and they finally have a chance to prove it.

"I told the guys all along in the offseason and while it was going on—don't ever forget the feeling you have right now. As a competitor, it ought to motivate you. If you're truly a competitive guy, it ought to really motivate you not to be in that situation again.

"I know I use it, and I think that the players have tried to continually remind them about October, about the fourth quarter, about not being outscored, about all of those things."

VANDERBILT GAME TIME ANNOUNCED: On Monday, The SEC announced the television schedule for October 13. The Gators will travel to Nashville and take on Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. in a game televised by ESPNU.


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