Game Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores @ Florida Gators – 11/7 – 7:15


I’ve said it a million times this week, so I’ll lay off it today.  But I will say if you happen to be golfing in the Carrollwood Village area of Tampa today and see a man in a suit at the clubhouse bar alone and cursing the institution of marriage, buy him a drink…he’ll need it.

10 things for today’s game…

1. The game trophy.  Last week, Florida defeated Georgia to take home the Okefenokee Oar.  This week, if they beat Vanderbilt they get a first edition copy of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

2. Ignoring the spread.  35 points is a lot.  It’s a shellacking.  An absolute annihilation.  Odds are it won’t happen.  That’s not to say it can’t.  It just hasn’t since Bobby Johnson took the reins of the Commodores.  The Gators could do it if they wanted, but this is a team that’s had its ups and downs on offense it seems unlikely they will keep their foot on the gas the entire game.  Then again, they could to simply prove they can.  Either way, ignore the spread.  Just win.  Do it convincingly, but just win.  A solid game on defense and enough points so that no one says “how did Vandy keep it close?”  That’s all that’s needed.

3. Random Omarius Hines fact: In a game where the Gators are favored by that many points, we may actually have a Hines’ sighting.  Here’s to 4 catches, 56 yards, and a late touchdown catch.

4. The future.  It’s hard to determine how Mike Gillislee will fit into the offense over the next few years.  Jeffery Demps and Chris Rainey are both only sophomores and Emmanuel Moody will be around next season as well.  But Gillislee seems to have it all.  Burst, power, agility.  Gillislee may only get mop up time this season, but expect him to be part of the regular rotation in 2010.

5. A second half full of John Brantley.  This is one of those games where #15’s backup can get some valuable experience.  Although it’s unlikely to happen, I say let Brantley come in to start the second half if the Gators are up by more than 20.  I respect Vanderbilt, I really do, but they aren’t coming back from 3 scores.  Let Brantley run the offense for an entire half and get some good reps in front of the home crowd.

6. The freshman linemen.  Xavier Nixon.  Nick Alajajian.  Jon Halapio.  Get those guys in the game as well.  The offensive line has had a number of bury their heads in the sand this season, but in the end the Gators are 8-0 and the SEC East champs, so you really can’t complain too much.  However, the depth is more than lacking.  If one of the big dogs goes down, things could get interesting come SEC Championship Game or bowl time.  Nixon has put himself into a position to get some playing time with the first unit.  Like my last 3 points, this is a perfect game to get these guys some more experience.

7. Let’s keep this thing going.  Brandon Spikes is out.  Brandon Hicks is out.  There are 3 linebackers left with plenty of experience who will see the field early and often – Dustin Doe, A.J. Jones, Ryan Stamper.  But what about all those other guys who were all-world recruits?  Jon Bostic, Lorenzo Edwards, Lerentee McCray, Jelani Jenkins.  Watch closely.  The future at linebacker is bright.

8. Less than 10 points allowed.  The Gators have held 4 of 8 opponents to less than 10 points.  Make it #5.  A lot of second teamers will get action today, but there’s no room for error.  No mental mistakes.  No brain trips.  Keep the pressure on for 60 minutes and don’t let Vanderbilt get a big play or two.  Be the best defense in the nation.

9. 9-0.  Get it.  Simple.  Remain undefeated.

10. Don’t think about LSU/Alabama.  Florida is in the SEC Championship Game.  Who they play is completely irrelevant.  There are 4 games left.  Take one at a time and don’t worry about who the opponent will be on December 5th.