Moss Block Almost didn't Happen

The block heard ‘round the world may have still happened, but it might of had a different face. Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss was gasping for air right before South Carolina attempted a game-winning field goal two years ago at The Swamp, but he talked his way back onto the field.

"He was tired," defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said. "We called a timeout, and I called him over. I said, ‘Moss, you look tired, I want Derrick Harvey to go in.' And then Moss said, ‘no coach, please don't take me out.' Then he looked at coach Mattison and said, ‘please don't let him take me out.' And he said, ‘well then, you better block it.' He said, ‘I will,' and he did."

The rest is history as the Gators went on to beat Florida State, Arkansas for the SEC title and then Ohio State for their second national title. That play against South Carolina became the staple play of the season, and the staple play that defines the Florida special teams. The Gators blocked three kicks against the Gamecocks in '06, and they've been doing much of the same throughout most of this season.

"If you watch us now compared to last year, the kids are going much harder," Strong said. "It's exactly the way it was two years ago."

Two years ago, Strong remembers that he didn't even watch Ryan Succop's field goal attempt.

"I was walking the sidelines," he said. "I didn't even look. I saw our players running on the field, so I knew. It was a great feeling."

The way the Gators have been playing in recent weeks, they likely won't need to rely on a last second blocked kick to beat the Gamecocks when they face off at 3:30 at The Swamp. But the defense is going against a typical Steve Spurrier offense that alternated quarterbacks on every play last week against Arkansas.

"You have to know who's in the game," Strong said. "Smelley is more of a pocket passer and Garcia you have to make sure guys stay in front of him. We have to be aware of it and the players have to be aware of it. We don't change up the scheme, we just have to know who's in the game."

Spurrier will also try to disguise plays with unique formations.

"If you show a defense something different they start to panic," Strong said. "You don't want them to panic so we've tried to show the defense as many of those different formations as we can this week."

If there's any defensive coordinator who knows how to face coach Spurrier, though, it's Charlie Strong. Strong was Spurrier's assistant head coach during the head ball coach's early years in Gainesville, and the two still have a strong relationship.

"We have a great relationship and every time we see each other we have a conversation," Strong said. "He still has a home here, and I'll see him at dinner and we'll talk a lot. I have a lot of respect for him."


Fightin Gators Top Stories