Give a legendary defensive coordinator months to prepare for an offense and he’s going to come up with one gem of a game plan. We saw an example of that in The Swamp on Saturday.
Monte Kiffin slowed down Urban Meyer’s spread offense probably more effectively than anyone has in the past two seasons. Tennessee suffocated the UF wide receivers with zone coverages and the Vols put steady heat on quarterback Tim Tebow. The result was a sporadic offensive performance by the Gators, who were held to 23 points.
This really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who knows anything about Kiffin. He’s a mastermind. And his No. 1 priority since joining his son’s staff at UT has been breaking down the UF offense. He spent months watching tape of the Gators’ spread attack to get a feel for how to defend it. He came up with a great game plan and his players did a nice job executing it.
Florida has clearly been UT’s No. 1 target throughout the offseason. Kiffin didn’t spend all that time in the film room studying the Western Kentucky offense or the UCLA offense. It was all about Florida.
It was the same for Troy. The Trojans offseason was geared toward finding a way to slow Florida’s offense.
Troy and Tennessee both gave UF a lot of different looks.
The good news for the Gators is the rest of the teams on the schedule probably did not make Florida a priority in the offseason because the Gators are coming deeper in their schedule.
“(Tennessee) worked hard. That happens early in the season,” Meyer said Sunday. “I know coach Monte Kiffin did study and worked on that thing basically since last winter and did a good job. There were a lot of yards to be made if we just execute a little better.
“It starts to thin out once you get going. I can’t imagine as you get down in the schedule guys spent the whole offseason (working on UF offense). Last year’s offense in the SEC, that was the one to study and go get. We just have to keep moving forward.”
Meyer said Sunday he’s more concerned about his own offensive personnel than the defensive schemes UF will see the rest of the season. The biggest concern is at wide receiver, where the Gators are depleted by injuries. If Deonte Thompson returns and the three redshirt freshmen (Frankie Hammond, T.J. Lawrence and Omarius Hines) start making a contribution, Meyer’s offense has a chance to get going again.