Morris: 'Dores must contain Tebow

The Commodores face their toughest test to date this Saturday when they travel to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators. "The Swamp" is never an easy place to play. Vanderbilt has not won there since the 1940's. Throw in the fact that the Gators are coming off a tough loss to Georgia, and it is easy to see that the Commodores face a tall task this weekend.

The Gators' offense has put up some pretty incredible numbers so far this season. They are averaging 433.4 yards per game. The attack is fairly balanced with 186.9 of those yards coming on the ground and 246.5 coming through the air.

Stopping the Florida offense obviously depends on the ability to contain Tim Tebow. Containing Tebow might be a little easier than normal this week because he is still nursing a sore right shoulder. He only ran seven times against Georgia. He was credited with 13 runs, but six of those were sacks. If he is unwilling to run, it will make scheming against the Florida offense significantly easier. Ted Cain will be more willing to throw some blitzes at him because they are not as afraid he will take off and beat them with his legs.

The other key to Florida's offense is wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin. Harvin is a Reggie Bush type player who has the ability to get to the end zone every time he touches the ball. Harvin is averaging 7.7 yards per rush and 16.8 yards per reception. The Commodore defenders need to get Harvin on the ground when they have the chance because most of his yards come when teams miss tackles against him. The Commodores will need to take good pursuit angles on him and funnel him to the middle of the field where there are multiple defenders. When Harvin gets to the edge, he is extremely dangerous.

Offensively the Commodores are going to need a big game from their passing attack. Earl Bennett is going to be a huge key to this game. The Gators' defense is giving up 251.6 yards through the air verse only 107.1 yards on the ground. The Vanderbilt quarterback, whether it is Mackenzie Adams, Chris Nickson or Richard Kovalcheck, should look to get Bennett involved in the game very early. They might look to take a shot down the field early just as they did in the Alabama game.

The Commodores offense will not be able to completely abandon the run in this game. The best way to stop a high-powered offense is to keep them off the field. Vanderbilt does not need to try and get in a shoot out with the Gators. They will need to get some positive yards in the running game to move the chains and sustain some long drives. If Vanderbilt can keep the game close with some long drives in the first half, they can wear down the Florida defense and sneak out of Gainesville with a win.

The Commodores have said all along that six wins is not their ultimate goal. They need to get the sixth win to be bowl eligible, but that is not their ultimate goal. A win Saturday would give them that sixth win, and give them the confidence they need to pull another upset or two down the stretch.


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