McCarney Readies for Sooner Onslaught

Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney has been a big part of bringing the Gator defense a long way in 2008, but they have one tremendous challenge still to try and overcome. Florida faces the highest scoring offense in modern college football history when they take on Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship game.

Oklahoma averages 54 points a game and their season low is 35 that they scored in a win over TCU and a loss to Texas. McCarney spoke with me and other media guys and gals (MG) after the Gators wrapped up practice on Saturday and he didn't mince words in describing the task facing the Florida defense.

DM: This is the biggest challenge I've had in my career against an offense of protection, great routes and a Heisman guy throwing the ball. I've seen a lot of good players in my 33 years but this is the best combination on an offense I've seen.

LV: How does their offensive line compare with Alabama?

DM: I think they're very comparable to a healthy Alabama team. They had two of their starters out last night. I think every bit as good, maybe a little better. They're just outstanding. They're All-Big 12, two of them are All Americans, the tight end is an All American, Heisman (winner) taking a snap. They have game breakers all over the place, so this is really a great challenge. But this is the way it's supposed to be we're in the National Championship Game.

LV: You guys love to substitute and utilize your depth. How hard is that to do against their scheme?

DM: If the ball goes out the clock stops. Take a time out you can substitute. Other than that you have to be very careful. From our sideline when the ball's on the hash a little easier to do that. If the ball's on their sideline, there's probably no chance. As soon as the play ends you see Cooper, number 50 their center running right back to the ball again.

MG: Are they as good a pass blocking team as you've seen?

DM: Yeah. Definitely. Absolutely. You don't have the proficiency, the efficiency and productivity to score 54 points a game unless you have it all and they do a great job executing it. It seems like it's seven-on-seven rather than a game day when you watch a game day when you watch them play because there's never any hits on the quarterback. We have to find a way to get some.

LV: What stands out about Phil Loadholt?

DM: Massive, good feet, a knee bender not a waste bender, which means he's a good athlete. He's been well coached. He's gonna have a long career in the NFL; he'll play a long time. I've seen a bunch of them through the years go on to the next level and he'll be one of those guys.

MG: Are you concerned about your lack of depth at tackle?

DM: Oh sure. I've got Torrey Davis and Jay Howard and me and I'm not playing so those two have to give us some snaps and some depth and give us some plays off the bench.

LV: Overall how have you prepared your guys for the game?

DM: We've pushed the heck out of them. We know we have to be in great shape. We've done extra running, extra conditioning every day just for the defensive line to try and match this tempo that they bring. We've come a long way since last February and now we have a chance to take that last step and hopefully get to the top of the mountain.


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