Hernandez Takes the Lead In Big Win

The Florida Gators' offense had more distractions than not in the last month with injuries and illnesses none more than the huge distraction of Tim Tebow's recovery from a concussion. That distraction carried over into the game plan as the Gators wanted to protect Tebow, most likely from his rustiness. Aaron Hernandez was a big part of the game plan and talked about it after the game.

The Gators didn't rely on Tebow to run the ball much during the contest. Missing from most of the night was the read-option that has been the main patent in the offense since the first day of the season. Tight end Aaron Hernandez got the ball in a couple of new ways and he expected it until Tim Tebow could shake off some of the rustiness from missing a week plus worth of practice. He knew the Gators would get a heroic effort out of Tebow anyway.

"I think we were conservative towards Tebow, he didn't have too much hitting," Hernandez said after the game. "Tim is Tim, if he is on the field, he is going to give it his all."

The team was never 100 percent sure about Tebow playing in the game in Baton Rouge and Hernandez even said he was never really told for sure. There was little doubt in Hernandez' mind that Tebow would play.

"I knew Friday he was definitely going to play, but he still had a test to take (Saturday morning)," Hernandez said. "No one ever told us (in the end) we just expected it. He's fine. That was just a weird thing because he hit is head on Gilbert's knee."

It never even crossed his mind to check on Tebow when the quarterback got hit hard the first time in the first offensive series.

"I wasn't worried I knew they wouldn't let him play if there was a worry,"he said. "I didn't even look back (when he got hit). I knew Tim was Tim."

The game plan called for the Gators to try new stuff and protect their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. Missing was the read-option that has been a mainstay in the offense. The dive was brought in and the Gators relied on a big time push from their offensive line to make that work.

The running game was hugely successful accounting for 193 rushing yards and controlling the time of possession for 13 more minutes than LSU. Hernandez caught six passes for 70 yards and even got the first rush of his career, although he said the play was just a audible off of the original play called.

"I like doing as much as I can for the team to help the team win," he said regarding his output in the game. "That (running play) was really a shovel play that was called the opposite way."

Hernandez expected a dog fight from LSU who came into the game ranked fourth in the country and played in front of one of the loudest crowds anywhere.

"Having everybody back, we struggled with their defense last year," he said. "Coming into a more developed defense, we knew we would struggle."

The offense regularly pushes themselves to understand they are going to have to play for 60 minutes and not take anything for granted just because the Gators are ranked number one in the country.

"We don't talk about it really," he said of the ranking. "We go out there every game like we are the worst team in the country. We go out there like underdogs and fight and try to come out with a victory. We just try to grind every game."

He also has a great respect for his teammates on the other side of the ball. Florida's defense held LSU to less than 160 yards of offense and only three points on the night.

"Our defense is why we are number one in the country," he said. "We aren't the greatest offense, but our defense stops people and we put up just enough points to win.


Fightin Gators Top Stories