Miami and Florida have two of the nation's best quarterbacks. Hurricane signal caller Ken Dorsey has an amazing 27-1 record as the Miami starter. Last season, he was rarely even touched in leading 'Canes to a National Title. Florida's Rex Grossman was the Heisman runner-up last season as a sophomore in leading the Gators to an Orange Bowl victory. Dorsey doesn't put up the same numbers as Grossman but do not let that fool you. The bottom line is that Dorsey just doesn't make any mistakes. Both signal callers have a great go-to guy and a very effective run game to support the pass. A critical component for Saturday's game will be the effectiveness of their respective offensive lines.
Last week: Dorsey was 8/13 for 110 yards, 3 touchdown passes and one interception; Grossman was 16/26 for 337 yards, 2 touchdown passes and one interception.
Advantage: It is a push. Both of their performances will be dictated by their offensive lines.
Frank Gore, one of the most promising young running backs in the country, went down with an ACL injury this past spring. This was a huge blow to Miami. Having said that, Willis McGahee and Jason Geathers are NOT chop liver. Both came to Coral Gables with huge expectations. Both McGahee and Geathers have terrific size and speed and run behind a very good offensive line. Florida is led by Earnest Graham and a new, revamped rushing attack under offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher. Miami needs to generate a running game because they are at their best with a balanced offensive attack. The beauty of the Hurricane offense is a blend of power (running game) and finesse (passing attack). For the Gators, they want to run the ball and play a physical game upfront but that is easier said than done against the great Miami front seven. The team that rushes the ball more effectively will likely come out the winner. Graham is far more experienced than Miami's young duo and he is also a threat to catch the football.
Last week: McGahee rushed the ball 6 times for 60 yards and one score; Geathers rushed the ball 22 times for 199 yards and two scores; Graham rushed the ball 13 times for 182 yards and two scores.
Advantage: Florida. But will Florida be able to rush the ball against that great Miami defense? This could be the game's biggest key.
Both teams are blessed with a great go-to guy, lots of speed and athleticism. Andre Johnson showed the college football world last season why he was so highly regarded coming out of high school. He is Michael Irvin with speed. Johnson is not Miami's only big play guy. Watch out for red-shirt freshman Roscoe Parrish. We may have seen a sign of things to come with his performance last week. Parrish will be to Miami what Sanatana Moss was to the 'Canes. Kevin Beard and Ethnic Sands are dangerous and productive as well. Kellen Winslow takes over for Jeremy Shockey. All he needs is experience. We know how important a tight end is in Miami's passing attack. Florida's wide receiver corps is led by Taylor Jacobs, who could emerge when it is all said and done, as one of the best ever in a Gator uniform at that position. Jacobs had a spectacular opening week against an un-matched UAB team. Carlos Perez, Kelvin Kight, OJ Small and a host of others contributed A guy to watch out for is Vernel Brown. He is to Florida what Parrish is to Miami. Don't forget about tight ends Aaron Walker and Ben Troupe. They could have an impact on Saturday in crucial situations for the Gators.
Last week: Johnson caught 3 passes for 44 yards and one TD; Parrish caught 2 passes for 43 yards and one TD, one rush for 46 yards and a TD; Winslow caught 2 passes for 36 yards and a score; Jacobs caught 8 passes for 246 yards and 2 two touchdowns; Small caught 2 passes for 41 yards; Kight caught 2 passes for 29 yards; Perez, Troupe, and Walker each caught one pass.
Advantage: Slight advantage to Miami. Johnson and Jacobs are a wash but Beard and Sands are proven and Parrish showed what he can do with last week's performance. A key for the game will be how Miami defends Jacobs and will Grossman force the issue and try to find his star receiver? Perez and Kight must step up for Florida. Look for Winslow to come up big for Miami.
What a match-up this looms to be... Florida's OL versus Miami's DL. The Gators will likely play six a lot - Jonathan Colon, Max Starks, Mike Degory, Shannon Snell, David Joregenson and Maurice Mitchell. This is a huge unit that is still trying to gel. Can they handle the size, speed, athleticism and depth of Miami's defensive front? If you look at some team's on Florida's schedule in the past, they have had their troubles with dominant d-lines. Look at Tennessee's front from last season - John Henderson, Albert Haynesworth, Will Overstreet, etc. They manhandled Florida at the point of attack and did two things - got to Grossman and destroyed Florida's run game. Miami's defensive front is better. The Gators have to find a way to run the ball and be physical and keep the 'Canes pass rushers off of Grossman. Florida will use the entire field of play and likely turn to the short passing game to off-set the Miami pass rush. Miami will will lineup Vernon Carey, Sherko Haji-Rasouli, Brett Romberg, Chris Myers, and Carlos Joseph. Ed Wilkins and Joel Rodriguez will be the Canes sixth and seventh linemen and they should play a lot. Miami's run game is critical. They have got to run the ball to set up everything else and take the boisterous Florida crowd out of the game. It is more important for Miami to run the football because they can not afford to be one dimensional, where the Gators can get away with it.
Advantage: Miami. As a unit, they don't lose (to the NFL) much when it comes to run blocking. They will miss Bryant McKinnie and the others when it comes to pass protection.
The is the big mis-match on paper in favor of the Hurricanes. Florida's crew of Ian Scott, Arpedge Rolle, Marcus Oquendo-Johnson, Bryan Savilleo, Tron LaFavor, Darrell Lee, Clint Mitchell and Bobby McCray are good but Miami's unit of William Joseph, Jerome McDougle, Andrew Williams, Vince Wilfork, Cornelius Green, Matt Walters, John Square, and Jamaal Green are great. Look for the Gators to try and mix up their defensive line personal. They could have some situational advantages with their quick defensive ends against Carey and Joseph. Florida must contain the run and get