Draining the Swamp
A little more than 12 hours from now the Volunteers will invade the Swamp. No doubt the Volunteer Navy's bi-annual blockade of Gainesville is already taking effect. Oh sure... the Florida Gay-Tors are saying all the right things so far. They are putting on the necessary show of bravado for the cameras. But in the end, the Vols have won 2 in a row in the Swamp, and 3 of the last 4. The Clausen family is undefeated in the Swamp. For the record, Casey's straight younger brother, Rick, will be starting at QB for the Vols.
Tonight isn't so much a contest though... it is an initiation.
Urban Meyer brings his fancy "Spread Option" offense to Gainseville as head coach. It's a flashy little concept that is based on the Shotgun, and mixes in everything from the shovel pass to the option... and allows the QB to go deep at almost any time.
For all its fireworks though, there is one glaring problem with this "Urban Warfare". See... while it's destroyed teams like BYU and Pitt... it's never actually been tried against a team that... you know... plays defense. And that's really the key there when it comes to judging an offense... not how good is it against Sister Mary's School for the Blind. How good is it against Alabama or Tennessee?
Chris Leak... the Gay-Tor quarterback may be thinking a loss tonight is his biggest fear. But after analyzing Urban's offense, I think after about a quarter or so, he's going to realize that losing a game isn't nearly as bad as losing his entire football career. See... Someone really should've explained to Coach Meyer that in the SEC... its actually a pretty good idea to at least try to protect your quarterback. As is? He has no tight-end.... no fullback.... In short... he's gona be naked back there.
Oh I know... I can hear you Gay-tor fans crying already... "The Ol' Ball Coach didn't throw to no damned tight-end!" It's not about throwing you sissy-marys. It's about protection. Its about blocking. Besides... do the names Erron Kinney and Ben Troupe mean anything to you?
Florida is going to be facing a Vols D that is most likely the best in the country. Its a defense that could shut down anyone on any given series last year, and oh yeah... all they did was return 10, count them 10, starters. They are gonna blitz from everywhere, and Meyer isn't gonna have anyone back there to save Leak from them.
On the other side... UT is gonna hand the ball to Riggs, and let the Bid Dog eat. Power Football. Bear Bryant used to say that you couldn't build a strong D if all you did was practice against a finess offense. In order to learn to take a punch to the face, you have to get punched in the face.
The Gay-Tor D has been chasing wideouts and playing footsy with Urban's pantywaist offense all summer. It don't take a genius to figure what the Bear would think of this matchup.
I hope ya like Rocky Top. If you tune into CBS around 8:00pm... you'll be hearing it alot.