Strong Reminds Defense of LSU Game in '07

Forget last year's big blowout win over LSU at home. Forget that the Gators are ranked No. 1 right now and trying to defend a national championship. Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong will simply hand the 2007 LSU game tape to his troops this week to remind them how frustrating it can be to play in Death Valley. Actually, that has already started.

The Gators had a frustrating time on defense against LSU in 2007. They were great holding LSU on many third down conversions, but the Iigers converted 5-of-5 fourth downs in the game to squeak by with a big win. Lucky for Charlie Strong, a video is hardly needed to remind his guys.

"What is great about two years ago is that those same guys are the one's that are playing right now," Strong said. "You hope they will go into that environment and know we have to play better than two years ago. They need to see that tape because you can't look at last season, because we were at home."

The Gators returned every starter on defense from last year and most from their second team made it back for another season. It was a defense in 2008 that dominated most opponents with relentlessness and flying to the ball.

Early this season, Strong hasn't seen that same tenacity from his guys so he showed them game film from both seasons to compare. As a result, the defense came out in the fist four series against Kentucky and held them to three-and-outs on every drive. They kept the Wildcats to seven points on the night.

"They just heard so much about having 22 guys back and we should be this good and the way it should be...we just didn't play up to our potential," Strong said about why he showed the film. "They needed a wake up call and it was something that needed to be said. We just needed some leadership and some guys to step forward. They responded but we can still get better."

Injuries have hit the defense that luckily has some depth. Right now, Omar Hunter seems to be the only healthy nose guard as starter Lawrence marsh and back up Brandon Antwine nurse injuries. Marsh hasn't been able to start all season.

"He's a big body inside," Strong said of Marsh. "All the guys are different, he's just a guy that is tall enough that he can stand in there and battle guys. He is a lot taller than Omar and Epps. We haven't done much with him because of that injury."

"If he is out, then someone else has to step forward," Strong said of Antwine. "He has had some injuries but has battled back and come back."

Defensive leader and starting middle linebacker Brandon Spikes also has an injury. Spikes has an achilles strain that has caused him a great deal of pain.

"I think it is something he will have to deal with all year," Strong said. "Spikes is tough enough, even in the Kentucky game...you wouldn't know he was injured they way he went out and played."


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