Robbie Andreu's Gator Gameday preview


Published: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 5:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 5:14 p.m.
No. 7 Florida visits No. 1 Alabama in a rematch of the last two SEC Championship Games.

WHO: Florida vs. Alabama
WHERE: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Eastern Time
TV: CBS
GAINESVILLE RADIO: 103.7 FM; AM-850
FAVORITE: Alabama by 9

ANDREU'S PICK: Florida 24, Alabama 21
(Season record: 4-0)

SATURDAY'S STORYLINES

Big challenge for the defense
Florida's No. 1 defensive goal going into every game is to stop the run first and force teams into obvious passing situations. That, of course, is the goal tonight — do what it takes to try and keep Alabama tailbacks Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson somewhat in check by loading up with seven or eight players in the box. But crowding the line of scrimmage means leaving your cornerbacks on an island to cover Alabama's wide receivers man-to-man. That could be a problem because Alabama's receivers are among the best in the nation, led by Julio Jones. Alabama's almost perfect balance between the run and the pass is a major headache for defensive coordinators. The Gators must try and stop the run first — but that comes with some risk.

Gators gave Tide plenty to study
Florida gave the Crimson Tide a lot to look at and work on this week with the Gators' offensive performance against Kentucky. The Gators revealed a lot of stuff that they did not show in the first three games — mainly a lot of Trey Burton lining up at quarterback in the wildcat formation and running for touchdowns, five in all. Burton also caught a touchdown pass and completed a 42-yard pass. With Burton at quarterback, the option has returned to the UF offense. UF even ran it a few times with John Brantley at quarterback. Some of the Tim Tebow stuff is back in the Florida offense — and it gives the Tide a little extra to work on (and worry about) coming into this game. There's a good chance Burton will get a package of plays to run tonight, just like Tebow did when he was a true freshman in 2006.

Rough day in Tuscaloosa in 2005
Urban Meyer's first (and last) trip to Tuscaloosa ended in a humbling 31-3 loss to the Tide. It was the worst defeat in his coaching career, and his first loss at Florida. It was a memorable day for all the wrong reasons for Meyer and the Gators. UF's offense had lost most of its playmakers at wide receiver due to earlier injuries and it was a hopeless situation against a swarming Tide defense. Meyer returns to Tuscaloosa in a pretty significant underdog role, but this is a much different Florida team than the one he put on display in 2005. Alabama has an edge in experience, but Meyer said earlier this week that UF's talent level is right there with the Tide's. "With our talent, I like where our team is headed," Meyer said.

Another pick six in the game plan?
When he was the secondary coach with the Arizona Cardinals, Teryl Austin's secondaries had a reputation for intercepting a lot of passes. The same thing is happening at Florida. The Gators have intercepted 12 passes in only four games, returning three of those picks for touchdowns. As good as last year's UF secondary was with Joe Haden, the Gators intercepted only 20 passes in 14 games last season. This season, Florida has at least two interceptions in every game. The Gators would love to see that trend continue tonight.

SATURDAY'S GAME QUESTIONS
1. Will the Gators get off to a fast start like a week ago, or will it be an early struggle in the hostile environment?
2. Can the UF defensive front at least slow down Tide tailbacks Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson?
3. Who wins the one-on-one battle between Tide wide receiver Julio Jones and UF cornerback Janoris Jenkins?
4. Will Florida's experienced offensive front be able to protect quarterback John Brantley?
5. Can the Gators get some pressure on Tide quarterback Greg McElroy?

Check out Gatorsports.com after the game or Sunday's Gainesville Sun to read Andreu's Answers.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top