Florida takes on Ohio University in the first meeting ever between the two schools. The Bobcats have lost 12 of 13 games and will provide little in competition with the angry Gators. This game is about getting back on the field, flying around, and having fun. Execution will be much better and conversely the results will be better. This is the perfect tonic for a Gator squad that desperately wants to prove it was not 25 points worse than the number one Miami Hurricanes. This game begins a ten game journey to remind people the Gators are still a team to be reckoned with.
Ohio is a running team and finished the 2001 season sixth in the country
in rushing yards per game at 240. That has dropped off considerably in the first
two weeks of the season, as they are averaging 132 yards per game. The passing
game is not their strength as they are averaging 80 yards per game. They have
thrown 7 interceptions in two weeks combined with 4 fumbles lost. They do have 9
senior starters on offense and just have not been able to grasp new coach Brian
Knorr's system in the first year plus.
They are a multiple "I" offense that likes to run the option.
Out of that they will play-action in the passing game with flood routes. They
like to get on the perimeter with the quarterback-tailback combo putting
pressure on the defensive ends and outside linebackers. They do run some regular
packages and it would not surprise me if they put in the now famous
What to expect:
Running back Chad Brinker (#5), who has 212 yards in two
games, has been around and is there go to guy. Fred Ray is the quarterback (#10)
who is their second leading rusher. Dontrell Jackson (#17) threw 5 picks
last week and is banged up as their backup quarterback. Sophomore Stafford
Owens (#7) is their leading receiver. Jackson has been a starter and Brinker has
rushed for almost 2,000 yards in his career.
Gators on the Prowl:
With last week's performance still lingering, I expect all of the
defensive players to have a big game. If Bam Hardman stays at middle then Todd
McColluogh and Mike Nattiel will have big tackle days. The defensive line can
really disrupt things in the option with penetration and I think Ian Scott and
Tron Lafavor have big days. See if Florida creates a bunch of turnovers
this week along with some three and outs.
Big game Gators:
Ian Scott, Tron Lafavor, Bobby McCray and Mike Nattiel.
This unit has played real well to begin the season. They held Pittsburgh
to 27 points and are only giving up 246 yards a game. They have worn down
because of the lack of production of the offense. The defensive line
averages about 270 and the secondary starts two sophmores. They have
caused 5 turnovers and have had 6 sacks in the first two games.
They run a 3-4 defense, the old "odd front" or "50"
type defense. They will put a nose head up on the center and leave the
Gator guards uncovered. They are a cover 2 and 3 team who does not play a
lot of man with the corners. Expect them to line up in cover 2 with two safeties
on the hashmarks for most of the game or at least early in the game while it is
in doubt. In run situations they will bring the strong safety up in the
What to expect:
Ohio will play hard and their sophomore inside linebacker Dennis
Chukwuemka (#46) is off to a fast start with 19 tackles including 7 tackles for
loss. He reads and comes down hill right now. He has 2 sacks as well while
Joe Sellers (#2) is their leading tackler from his strong safety spot. Nose
guard Lamar Martin (#54) is a load at 286 lbs and has a sack and 3 tackles for a
loss. Florida should be able to pass the ball down the field and also get
Earnest Graham off early on the zone play where he can read the defense.
Gators on the Prowl:
I think two tight end set will surface more this week in the run and the
passing game. I think Graham will have a solid not overly spectacular game and
probably get 100 yards. I think Florida will throw a lot of passes to the outer
thirds of the coverage and have a huge day throwing the football. Mike Degory
has a good challenge this week at center and he has answered the bell in the
first two weeks.
Big Game Gators:
Taylor Jacobs, Rex Grossman, Mike Degory and Aaron Walker.
Well, this has been an adventure although I did tell you they would
block a punt last week. I will go out on a limb and say that Keiwan Ratliff will
have a big punt return this week. They do average 41 yards a punt and cover real
well while on kickoffs. They can kick the ball into the endzone.
They are 0-4 on field goal attempts so far this season.
How will it play out?:
Florida is obviously much better and I expect the Gators will be fired
up to go out and hit someone. Normally this would be the classic
"flat" game before a big one but not with Coach Zook. 69-0
Fightin Gators Top Stories
Gators secure official visit with HerbertThe need for quality offensive linemen is no secret at Florida. The Florida Gators staff is on the recruiting trail to bring in a group of linemen that can help right away. One of…
Fightin Gators9:40 AM
Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Dec. 9A few thoughts to jump start your Friday morning...
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 9:50 PM
Rahyme Johnson sees a fit at FloridaThe Florida defense has been rocking on the field at a high level for about nine years straight now. Over the course of that time there have been some excellent linebackers. The…
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 9:31 PM
1-on-1 with Florida Head Coach Jim McElwainTAMPA, Fla.-- FightinGators.com goes one-on-one with Gators head coach Jim McElwain at the Outback Bowl media event. Coach Mac discusses the quarterbacks, his team's maturity, the…
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 2:32 PM