HB: Five things I want to see Saturday

It is officially the real season. The cupcakes are done on the schedule and it is time to move on to the SEC, where the men are separated from the boys. The Gators showed more on defense than I was expecting in their first two games of the season. The offense wasn't as pretty. With work to do on both sides of the ball, here are the five things I want to see from the Gators on Saturday.

Establish the run from the running back position: Percy Harvin is included in this mix and I think he will be a huge part of the running game on Saturday. It doesn't matter, the Gators need to show they can line up and run it inside the tackles from time to time. The Tennessee defense was pushed back from time to time against UAB and the Gator offensive line should be able to do the same and even more so. Emmanuel Moody also needs to be more involved and there is every indication that will be the case on Saturday. Florida is down about 30 yards a game from their 200 yards per game average rushing last year and the running back position could go a long way in changing that statistic.

Better protection and blocking up front: This goes along with the running game, but the offensive line can not have as many miscues as it did against Miami and expect to win on the road in the SEC. A healthy Jim Tartt probably still means a rusty Jim Tartt, but putting the offense in 2nd-and-13 situations is something they need to avoid and Tartt should help there. I don't think they have to be dominant, but they need to cut out the mistakes.

Safeties play well: This will be a test for the safety position that will be asked to play a lot of run defense and therefore be susceptible to the play action passing game. Ahmad Black and Major Wright need to play a good game here and don't give up the big play. Both will be asked at times to play the deep free safety spot or play in the box as basically an extra linebacker. They should be in on a lot of action.

Turn the passing game loose: As much as the running game needs to improve, the passing game has yet to really be unleashed. It is time, with all of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's toys healthy, to turn them loose and let them make some plays. Tebow should be able to spread the ball around with Harvin, Murphy, Hernandez, Cooper, Thompson, and company and make something happen. Florida is down about 50 yards a game from last year. As far as the Tennessee pass defense it is a mixed bag. They are ninth in the conference in passing yards per game, but they are second in the nation with seven interceptions and 3.5 picks per game. They have also only allowed one touchdown through the air. Florida needs to not play risky and the play makers need to make plays when they get the ball.

Continue the good run defense: Florida is only allowing 60 yards a game on the ground and a minuscule 2.0 yards per rush. They will be tested against a decent Tennessee offensive line and good array of running backs. Florida needs to show that their run defense is no fluke. Lawrence Marsh needs to continue his great play up front and get the push the Gators never had in the middle of the defensive line last season. UCLA and UAB got push in the middle against Tennessee and so Florida should do better.

Key aspect of the game...

Barring a lot of turnovers, if Florida can stop Tennessee's run the Gators should win handily. There is no doubt that Tennessee will try and line up and smack Florida in the mouth between the tackles. However, I think their real bread and butter is the toss sweep and getting those running backs outside the tackles where they can get one on one match ups. Florida's front eight on defense needs to gang tackle and pursue to the ball the best they have done so far. I say front eight because a safety will be playing in the box for most of a close game. Florida is so much better pursuing the ball than they were with a young, thin, and worn out defense, that this should be something almost automatic these days. If the Gators have a good day gang tackling, they should win big.

Fightin Gators Top Stories