I think it's huge because with a win the Gators are back in the SEC East race. With the injury situation at Georgia and the fact that Auburn looked very capable even in defeat against LSU, I think winning is a real possibility for UF. With a win Meyer would be on track for a pretty strong first year with two wins over top five opponents and if he can beat FSU, the Gators would finish unbeaten at home for the first time since 2000. The first step in the process is re-establishing the home field dominance then winning the East then beating your arch rival. It would be hard to argue against that opening act for Coach Meyer.
Ack: Speaking of injuries what about the injury to Shockley and do you think he will play?
I talk to some folks in the NFL and they say that kind of injury can be played on the following week. The difference is this is college and usually teams are not putting their players in harm's way for a victory whereas in the NFL they will play no matter what. If he plays I am not sure he will be as effective especially with the new aggressive defense the Gators are playing. I do think this is a bit of a break for UF considering how well Shockley has played and how he can hurt you with his legs. It sets up for another defensive struggle in the SEC.
Ack: You mentioned defensive struggles in the SEC, is it that or bad offenses?
Great question and I think it is more about the good defenses than bad offenses. Sure Alabama,Tennessee and LSU's offenses are not all that explosive but defenses are very good in this conference. The one thing I took away from this weekend is maybe UF's much maligned offense is not all that bad. Tennessee only managed three points on Alabama and Bama got just six on the Vols. The Gators did score 16 Vols and 17 on LSU, the same total Auburn managed against the Tigers. Other than some big plays in the Alabama game I think UF has fared favorably compared to the other top defenses. Georgia, by the way, needed a punt return for a touchdown to get decent numbers against Tennessee's defense. So maybe the Gators are okay and with a tinker here and there, maybe they can win out.
Brady: What do you think Florida did to change up its offense this past week?
I think UF will put a tight end in a regular formation. Look for Tate Casey to be up on the ball and maybe help out in protections. I have never liked Tate off the ball because as a tight end he does not have the ability to beat guys from an upright position. I think you will see some I-formation plays and Chris Leak under center in some situations. I also hope to see UF throw the ball down the field earlier in the game and challenge the safeties to help the running game.
Ack: Will Reggie Nelson make a difference as a starter this week?
Yes, with more snaps comes more opportunities to make plays. Expect to see UF's biggest playmaker in the secondary this week to be wearing number 32.
Brady: Did Georgia gain a mental edge with their win last year?
I don't think so but it is important for the new staff to understand that UF wins this game because they expect to win. It's a mindset and just look at the series for the facts. Georgia has not won two in a row since they won three straight from 1987-1989. If UF plays with confidence this will turn into a "helmet " game.
Ack: Which offensive players must step up this week for the Gators?
Mike Degory should have his hands full with the defensive line at Georgia. The Dogs have been banged up but expect them to be ready to play this week. Deshawn Wynn needs to have a big game and should get enough carries to push for a 100 yard game. If he does get to 100 Gators will win. Chad Jackson has quietly gone by the wayside in the Gator attack he should be healthy and ready for a prime time performance.
Brady Ackerman can be heard on ESPN radio Gainesville-Ocala on AM 900 and AM 1230. Brady's website is http://www.bradyackerman.com.