Game Preview: Florida Gators @ Mississippi State Bulldogs – 7:30


10 things for tonight’s



Mississippi State


1. Unleashing the offense.  I know I said this last week, but it needs to happen.  Not so much in terms of gaining more yards, but gaining them in the right way.  Take chances.  Go downfield.  Mississippi State isn’t a great defensive team.  They give up yards and points.  Florida needs to take control of the game early when they have the ball and take a few more chances down the field.  This is a game the Gators can blow wide open if they choose to from the start.  It’s also a game the Bulldogs can stay in if Florida plays it safe for too long.

2. No costly turnovers.  Florida moved the ball against Arkansas, but fumbles, fumbles, and more fumbles stalled drives.  The Gators have to hold on to the ball and score when they get inside the red zone.  No shooting themselves in the foot.

3. Random Omarius Hines fact: Hines names Harlem Nights among his favorite movies.

4. Get any running back carries.  I’m all for Tim Tebow putting the Gators on his back and winning games.  That being said, the running backs need to be more involved.  Tebow carried the ball 27 times against Arkansas to the backs getting it 19.  Granted the backs didn’t get it going until Jeffery Demps started picking up yards late in the game, but the running game needs to get going earlier.  This is a team that ranks 6th in the nation in rushing.  Those backs need to be given the chance to shine.

5. Anyone but Riley Cooper or Aaron Hernandez.  Cooper and Hernandez have 51 of the Gators’ 94 receptions this season.  There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but no other pass catcher has more than eight receptions.  To keep winning, Florida is going to have to spread the ball around.  Defenses are going to start to key more on #11 and #81.

6. With that said, involve Deonte Thompson.  Thompson has played in four of Florida’s six games and has a grand total of five catches.  Against Arkansas, he showed his ability to get behind the defense.  Yes, Thompson has had some drops this season, but the Gators need to involve him more in the offense.  The talent is there, he just needs to get the opportunity to show it.

7. The offensive line.  One of my points last week was that the offensive line had to have a big week.  They didn’t.  In fact, they had to have had one of the worst unit performances of recent memory.  They’ll make this list every week until they step up and are no longer a topic of discussion.  At least not a negative one.

8. Another carry over from last week, it’s Carlos Dunlap’s turn.  This one will remain here at #8 until #8 has his breakout game.  Dunlap isn’t playing bad.  He isn’t making mistakes or hurting the team.  He just isn’t making much of an impact.  With a number of defensive linemen on the shelf today, this could be the game.  We’ll see.

9. Sometimes we may actually need less cowbell.

10. Prove the Gators aren’t getting the benefit of the doubt in the BCS standings.  Of course I’m happy with Florida being ranked #1.  But (as evidenced by how I vote in the BlogPoll), I can’t say I’d be upset if Alabama held that spot.  I want that one game where the Gators show the nation they more than deserve that spot and there is no question about it.