Hollywood Bob: What I Want to See

We are at the halfway point of the season and the Gators have done what they have needed to so far to remain at the top of the polls. Of course there has been some turbulent water along the way and some things that need some work. As the Gators take on Mississippi State in Starkville today, here are some things I would like to see as the Gators start up the second half of the season.

It all starts with the offense and the man at the helm. Tim Tebow needs to start trying to rely on his offensive cohorts. Tebow has run the ball 84 times in the last four games, 21 per game. The problem is that only a hand full of those plays every game have been actually quarterback runs, I would say less than five a game. He needs to count on his running mates and also get rid of the ball quicker to not take sacks.

It is hard to criticize a guy that has meant so much to this program and has done so much. There is no doubt that Tebow can put the team on his back and win a game or two, and there is no doubt that he has already done that. He just needs to get the ball elsewhere some more and it will actually make his own running a lot better as it will be less expected.

Of course the staff can take away a lot of this duty by not calling so many read-options and calling more drop back passes with added protections where he isn't scrambling for some of those running plays. I think this happens and it was hinted at a great deal this week.

Emmanuel Moody has been a focal point of the fans because of his great play on the field when given touches. He needs to touch the ball more and I expect it today.

With Moody getting more carries, I want to see Jeff Demps get involved in the passing game and play a lot of the slot position. I would also like to see him line up out there, pop back into the backfield, take a direct snap, and run the counter play that was so successful with Percy Harvin. Demps seems like the next guy most likely to make that play happen with his quickness and acceleration.

I expect the Gators to run a lot and probably run outside. The MSU linebackers are huge, but not very fast. I also expect Florida to utilize the middle passing game with slot receiver and Aaron Hernandez getting a great deal of play to take advantage of speed mismatches at linebacker.

I would like to see a freshman get some time at left tackle and move Carl Johnson back into his better role as left guard. Xavier Nixon is supposed to be really practicing well and I think he could help the line a lot outside. Otherwise, give the line a little more help some times and I think they will be much more efficient. So much relying on five guys to protect is trouble for the Denver Broncos, much less a college offensive line.

Last on offense is hold on to the ball. If the Gators are even in turnovers they win today by three touchdowns. Any turnover for or against probably means a score difference in either direction.

On defense they just need to tackle better than they did in a couple of series against Arkansas. Anthony Dixon is a big back and is very capable of making single defenders look silly. Just tackle the ball carrier.

The Gators are banged up in the middle but Omar Hunter and Terron Sanders are playing very well. They have known Spikes might be missing all week, so I am sure that Ryan Stamper has gotten a lot of time in the middle and will play fine there.

I am less worried about the pass defense even with the rough outing against Arkansas. The Razorbacks have the most complex and efficient passing game the Gators will see all year. They confused the Gators a couple of times into making mistakes. I don't think anyone else outside of Columbia, South Carolina is capable of doing that for the rest of the season.

It is time for the Gator defense to do their share of helping the turnover margin. The Gators set a team record for interceptions last season with 26 and halfway through the season they are sitting at seven. There were also four touchdowns returned from INT's a year ago and some on fumble returns too. Part of last season's scoring and helping the offense with field position came with defensive turnovers and that hasn't happened like it did last season.

Dan Mullen took a lot of the special teams prowess he learned and coached at Florida to MSU. The Gators need to make sure they protect their kicks and punts on the day.

It should be a fun matchup with lots of back story with the Gators not winning in Starkville since 1985 and Mullen going to be the head coach at Mississippi State. The Gators outclass the Bulldogs across the board, so aside from a bunch of cowbells ringing in the ears of the Gators too much, and the aforementioned turnovers, the Gators should win easily.


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