Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gators in the Moonlight: Florida/Tide in Primetime

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback John Brantley  of the Florida Gators attempts a pass during a game against the South Florida Bulls at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the second game of a demanding three game stretch on Saturday night, as the No. 7 Florida Gators come to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Life without Tim Tebow has been a struggle at times for the Gators, but Florida is still loaded with talent and speed on both sides of the ball.

At the quarterback position the Gators are led by John Brantley.

Unlike Tim Tebow, Brantley is a true
pocket-passer. However, Brantley does possess quickness and solid footwork.

Brantley has thrown for 700 yards thus far in 2010, including six touchdowns and one interception.

One of the biggest storylines for this game has centered (and will continue to center) around Jeff Demps.

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Jeff Demps  of the Florida Gators oruns against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Demps, the leading rusher for the Gators (almost 400 yards), injured his left foot against Tennessee and injured the foot once again in the contest with Kentucky.

Demps was in a protective boot the initial portion of the week and is listed as “probable” for the ‘Bama game.

Even if Demps plays, his effectiveness will certainly be in question.

If Demps is unable to play or heavily hindered by his injury, the bulk of the ground game will depend on Mike Gillislee and Emmanuel Moody.

Florida’s Trey Burton will also provide the additional storyline for the Florida/Alabama contest.

Burton is simply a “do everything” performer for the Gators.

Burton set a Florida school record with six touchdowns against Kentucky. The
all-purpose athlete lined up at quarterback, tight end and receiver against the Wildcats.

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Trey Burton  of the Florida Gators scores a touchdown as he is brought down by safety Winston Guy Jr.  of the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida defeated Kentucky 48-14 for head coach Urban Meyer's 100th career victory. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
At the quarterback position Burton ran the “Wildcat” to perfection, but also completed a 42-yard pass.

It goes without saying; the Alabama defense will need to limit the production of Trey Burton.

Florida is known for having speed merchants on offense that can do a little bit of everything. Trey Burton is certainly one of those guys.

For the second consecutive week, the Alabama secondary will be forced to cover a talented group of receivers.

The Gators are led by Deonte Thompson (18 receptions for 248 yards), Carl Moore (11 receptions for 148 yards) and Omarius Hines (9 receptions for 125 yards).

Jeff Demps also has 11 receptions for 61 yards on the season, but as mentioned above, his playing status and certainly playing effectiveness is in question due to his injury.

We know how talented Alabama is on the offensive side of the ball, but the Crimson Tide will be facing a very talented and very tough Florida defense.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 11: Trent Richardson  of the Alabama Crimson Tide loses his right shoe as he rushes against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Gators have designed a plan to contain the Alabama ground game. In what is known as the “heavy package,” the Gators will use five defensive linemen and two middle linebackers to limit the Alabama rushing attack.

Alabama gained 251 yards against Florida in the SEC title game so it goes without saying, stopping the run will be critical for the Gator defense.

Not only will Florida attempt to stop the run, but the Gators will look to shutdown Greg McElroy thanks to three of the best cover men in the nation.

Safety Ahmad Black, safety Will Hill and cornerback Janoris Jenkins will be a tough challenge for the Alabama quarterback and receivers.

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