Another week and 4 mo’ Keys. Of course this isn’t just any week. It’s the big game against them Florida Gators. Most people don’t know that the rivalry between the Canes and Gators started over fashion. In 1938, at the height of the great depression an University of Florida professor created a new jeans and shorts combination we now commonly refer to as Jorts. He went south to pass along this new Gainesville fashion trend to professors at the University of Miami. Hot, low on funds and in possession of an excess amount of jeans these professors still roundly rejected this new fashion trend and in such a manner that completely belittled their Gator counterpart. That sparked the start of the rivalry. Gators have been Jort wearing and angry ever since. With history as our teacher I’m expecting a lot of angry Gators after this one and them looking horrible at the same damn time. Let’s get into the Keys.
1) Stephen Morris needs to have his official coming out party. The Gators have a strong front and solid CBs. You can’t throw a bad pass or it will be intercepted. You can’t hold onto the ball too long or you will get sacked. Morris has to be aware of both of those facts. He will need to make quick decisions and be accurate with his passes throughout the game. I want to see if he’ll be up to the challenge. All indications are that he will be, but this is where the great ones rise to the occasion. Morris wants to be considered a top QB in the nation and for that he needs to perform and be a difference maker in games like this.
2) I’ve been a big critic of our defensive coordinator, but he can change my view of him this week. Watching Florida’s offense its pretty obvious what they want to do. They want to play ball control, high percentage – low risk, grind it out football. Most of their passes are of the shorter variety – quick hitches, quick outs, short hooks, bubble screens. Short but safe throws. And if available they will march up the field all day with a combination of those throws and a pound it out ground game. Knowing this I’m hoping to see our CBs lined up tight on the Gator wide-outs. With LaDarius Gunter, Antonio Crawford and Artie Burns you have guys with enough size and speed to stay with the opposing WRs. They are also physical enough to come up and make solid open field tackles. So let them take on this challenge coach!
3) What UM wide receiver is going to show he’s The Man? This is a game that’s going to tell us a lot about our guys overall and about which receiver is going to take the lead this year. Florida has possibly the best CB in college football in Loucheiz Purifoy. He’s going to bully WRs if they show they don’t show they have some fight in them along with enough talent to beat him. It’s possible that he totally shuts down whichever WR he’s facing. That’s why I’ll be paying attention. I don’t think all of our WRs will be up to the task of beating him. He’s good. But one or two can if they show that fight in them. If someone beats him over and over. That’s The Man. My gut tells me Allen Hurns can beat him, but just not repeatedly due to lacking explosion. Phillip Dorsett has the physical ability but I’m not sure he has the fight. Herb Waters might the guy with the perfect combo of ability and toughness. Either way we’ll know the answer to the question by 3:30pm Saturday.
4) It’s said it all starts up front in the trenches. No week will that be more true than this week. Our OL has been together for a number of starts and is full of talent. The Gators d-line has guys with lots of experience – even if not as much starts – and is also full of talent. It’s a classic strength vs strength match up. NFL scouts will be keeping an especially close on this match up since so many pro prospects are involved. On the flip side, our d-line needs to show it can put up some form of resistance against the Gator OL. Their o-line isn’t dominant but they’ll get after you in the run game. Our front four has earned a very negative reputation of being easily pushed around – outside of Curtis Porter. Will they serve as the first line of defense and allow the LBs to flow to the ball or will they get pushed back into the LBs? If we can’t stop the run there really won’t be much difference what our DC does with the secondary since the Gators will only throw as much as is needed. If there is no need there won’t be many passes. I want to see if the front is ready to show they have what it takes for this defense to be even mediocre this year but hopefully good.
Alright I hope everyone enjoyed the history and football talk. Share the key aspects you’ll be watching for in the comments sections. I’m off to the Farmers Market. Need to buy some Gator Meat.