Pregame Blitz


Published: Saturday, October 11, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 11, 2003 at 2:41 a.m.

KEYS TO WINNING

FLORIDA

  • 1. Get out of that conservative mode and throw on first down. Maybe that will take some pressure off Chris Leak.

  • 2. Stack against the run and try to force LSU QB Matt Mauck into some obvious passing situations.

  • 3. Get the ball to tight end Ben Troupe. All he does is make plays.

  • 4. The Gators were very aggressive trying to block punts early in the season, but have since backed off. Time to make something happen again.

  • Come up with some turnovers and take care of the ball or it will be a long day.

    LSU

  • 1. Establish the run against UF's soft run defense, then hit some play-action passes.

  • 2. Pressure Leak, the true freshman quarterback who is still feeling his way.

  • 3. Shut down UF's inconsistent running game, which then will give a talented secondary a chance to make plays.

  • 4. Don't take Florida lightly. The Gators may be down, but they're still capable.

  • 5. Put the ball in wide receiver Michael Clayton's hands and he'll make something big happen.

    WHO HAS THE EDGE?

    Sun sports writer Robbie Andreu rates each team's advantage in today's game:

  • QUARTERBACK: Matt Mauck isn't always pretty, but he's an excellent athlete and a team leader whose passing skills have improved. After throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss, Chris Leak's confidence may be shaken.

    EDGE: LSU.

  • RUNNING BACK: Ran Carthon and DeShawn Wynn have had their moments, but they've struggled with consistency in SEC games. Even if injured tailback Shyrone Carey (knee) doesn't play, the Tigers have a powerful running game and a top back in Joseph Addai.

    EDGE: LSU.

  • RECEIVERS: The Gators have some talent and experience, but the wide receivers simply aren't making enough plays in critical situations. UF's most consistent threat is tight end Ben Troupe. LSU may have the league's top pair of receivers in Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson.

    EDGE: LSU.

  • OFFENSIVE LINE: Nick Saban says this is the best offensive line he's had at LSU, and it is a very good one, led by guard Stephen Peterman and tackle Andrew Whitworth. These guys take the pressure off Mauck. UF's line has struggled in the running game and pass protection has been somewhat spotty. EDGE: LSU.

  • DEFENSIVE LINE: This is another LSU strength. Chad Lavalais might be the SEC's top tackle and Marcus Spears is a big-time defensive end. The bright spot for UF has been the much-improved play of senior end Bobby McCray, who finally is coming into his own.

    EDGE: LSU.

  • LINEBACKER: With Channing Crowder and Dwright Jackson out, the Gators are hurting here, especially in the depth department. True freshman Earl Everett will be making his third career start and may have a tough time against LSU's physical running game. The Tigers are solid across the board.

    EDGE: LSU.

  • SECONDARY: Corey Webster has become a big-time play-maker at cornerback for the Tigers. This may be UF's overall team strength, with senior starters Keiwan Ratliff, Guss Scott, Daryl Dixon and Johnny Lamar all playing well.

    EDGE: EVEN.

  • SPECIAL TEAMS: Donnie Jones is one of the league's most talented and experienced punters and the LSU return teams are potentially potent. Matt Leach missed a big field goal attempt in the loss to Ole Miss and freshman punter Eric Wilbur also struggled a week ago.

    EDGE: LSU.

    BETWEEN THE LINES

  • The Gators and Tigers are meeting for the 50th time, with UF holding a 26-20-3 edge in the series.

  • Two years ago, the Gators demolished LSU in Tiger Stadium, rolling to a 44-15 victory. LSU's last victory over the Gators in Baton Rouge was the 28-21 upset in 1997 when UF was ranked No. 1 in the nation.

  • LSU has not given up a first-half touchdown this season.

  • LSU has 11 players on its roster from the state of Florida, including reserve tight end Demetri Robinson of Columbia High School. UF has two players from the state of Louisiana - offensive guard/tight end Sylvester McGrew and cornerback Deshawn Carter.

  • The Tigers have dedicated this season to longtime equipment manager Jeff Boss, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last January.

  • LSU is the SEC's highest-ranked team, holding the No. 6 spot in the nation.

  • The Tigers are trying to get off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 1973.

  • UF coach Ron Zook and LSU coach Nick Saban met on the football field for the first time in 1973, when Zook was a defensive back for Miami of Ohio and Saban was a defensive back for Kent State. Zook's team fell to Saban's 21-10.

  • UF offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher served as LSU's offensive coordinator for seven seasons (1984-90).

  • Florida has beaten LSU 13 out of the last 15 games in the series.

  • LSU's defense has given up only 36 points in five games. LSU has not give up a touchdown in the last nine quarters.

  • Here's a rare negative statistic for the undefeated Tigers: LSU has lost eight fumbles this season.

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