Meyer: Winning A Matter Of Preparation

In Urban Meyer's way of thinking, luck has nothing to do with winning football games. It's not about the team that got the lucky break or the right bounce or the right call from the officials that wins the game. He believes the winning team is always the one that is the best prepared.

Meyer believes that games are won on the practice field, that the team that invests the most each week into practice and preparation is the team that plays the best and wins the game. That's why he pushes his team hard in practice each week. The days before the game are when he believes the outcome will be determined.

"I think it is focus, whether you are at home, away, underdog or favorite, the most prepared team is going to win," he said Thursday after practice. "A lot of that stuff doesn't matter. I think Thursday night is as important as Friday night. I think the team that behaves themselves tonight and puts the right things in their body has a good chance to win the game."

The offensive line has been a major point of contingency for the Gators this season. Florida's offensive line is a work in progress but for the Gators to come away with a win in Tuscaloosa, the line will have to win its head to head battles with Alabama's consistent, fundamentally sound defensive line.

The Gators got their best performance on the offensive line last week at Kentucky when Jim Tartt started at left guard in place of the injured Tavares Washington. Tartt will remain in the starting lineup this week, only he will move to right guard while Washington returns to the lineup. Drew Miller, who has been starting at right guard, will back up Tartt.

"We are going to start with Tartt and Tavares," Meyer said. "Tartt gave us something. He's not perfect, but he gave us some movement and we are facing some big linemen. He's the kind of guard that we like to block and he has a lot of talent."

The Gators will be facing an Alabama defense that is ranked second in the Southeastern Conference. While Alabama runs a 3-3-5 defensive set that gives some teams fits, Meyer believes that there are holes in the defense that can be attacked. To find success, it's a matter of recognizing just how many defenders are in the proverbial box defending the run.

"You can't just say one way," he said. "It depends on how they play us. Whatever the defense is, they either plus you vs. the run or they don't. Our defense, we play man coverage and plus you in normal situations vs. the run, meaning we play with an eight man box. They have seven blockers so we are plus one. If they plus us we throw the ball more, if they don't we run the ball more. Usually we can see after the first two series what their game plan is."

According to Meyer, the team doesn't really specify an overtime practice period. The fact is, the red zone is also the same amount of field covered in the over time period. They have always practiced the red zone and use the same plays.

"When I first became a head coach we always had an over time period," Meyer said. "It's the red zone. Obviously, the play calling, you try to score a touchdown, but I've been in maybe three overtimes, and it's the same stuff."

Meyer doesn't anticipate any changes in the kicking game, but senior Nick Fleming will get the first kick off duty of the game. He didn't expect any changes in the punting unit, but said, "We just need to punt better."

On the injury front junior safety Nick Brooks is expected to be out about four weeks with his recent knee surgery.

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