You've got your pregame libation. You've got too much information about the upcoming game. Now it's time for you to have access to the five things you'll see tomorrow afternoon when your Georgia Bulldogs take on the Florida Gators. In no particular order, you're going to see:
Xavier Nixon. The Florida true freshman may get the start at left tackle after Carl Johnson struggled at that position against Mississippi State. While our pass rush this season has been iffy, and Corch Myers has been running him against future NFL'er Carlos Dunlap in practice, I still like the idea of a true freshman getting his first start opposite Justin Houston in Jacksonville. This Gator offensive line is simply not protecting Tebow as well as they did last season. Yes, even Tim Tebow needs protection sometimes, and not just from the Filipino authorities who would like to speak with him about his habit of touching young boys' netherparts for alleged "medical" reasons.
Speaking of offensive linemen, I'm curious to see if Clint Boling does get the start at left tackle. He has been working at that position this week in practice, and he performed well in that spot last season. He's not a prototypical left tackle from a size perspective, but he has exceptionally quick feet and just seems to get in front of folks, especially on the toss sweep. If we can run behind a left side consisting of Boling and Cordy Glenn at left guard, I think our offense really starts to come back to life. It's a big if, but I'm desperate for things to hope for. What's wrong with that?
Montez Robinson and Cornelius Washington. As Kyle notes, Chris Brown has found the key to stopping the Florida offense: get pressure on Tebow. Of course, that's not news to anyone, but as usual Chris does things up well with frame-by-frame explanations and video. Despite his reputation for soft zone coverage, Willie Martinez has actually dialed up more pressure than usual this season, at least according to my anecdotal observations. That will continue, because even one of the least statistically formidable Gator receiving corps in decades is still a mismatch for our secondary. Justin Houston cannot do it all by himself, and we cannot afford to send Rennie on the blitz and let Tebow take off running up the middle. One of these guys is going to have to step up and get some pressure off the end.
Tavarres King. Let's be honest with ourselves here. Ours is not a team which can run the ball to set up the pass. At least until we get our offensive line issues straightened out. Right now I think our optimal offense includes Green and King making plays on the outside, Mike Moore or one of the tight ends as a threat underneath and down the seam, and no more than 7 defenders in the box. Florida will probably have Joe Haden matched up on A.J. Green, which should be an excellent matchup. The key to our passing attack, the one that's now the key to whatever rushing attack we may have, is for Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, or one of the other guys to force Florida to drop a linebacker or play out of the nickel package. Of all the guys we have to fulfill this mission, I think T.K. is the one most likely to succeed. His matchup with Janorris Jenkins will go a long way toward deciding the outcome of this one.
Blair Walsh. To win games you have no business winning, you usually have to win the turnover battle and the special teams contest. I'll take Drew Butler versus any punter in the college game right now, with the possible exception of Florida punter Chas Henry, who has not had a single punt returned this season. A Brandon Boykin/Prince Miller kick return for 6 would certainly be huge. But I think Blair Walsh is more likely to be the guy who makes the difference if this thing is close. In order to win in Jacksonville we'll need to maximize our scoring opportunities and get some kind of points every time we're inside the Florida 30. If the Gator offense continues to sputter and Blair Walsh comes through with a trio of field goals, we could find ourselves in this thing.
UGA 23, UF 31. I really want to pick the 'Dawgs, Heaven knows I do. But there's just nothing in the past 7 games that inclines me to believe that this team will prevail against Florida. That doesn't mean I'd be shocked if it happened. It wouldn't be the first time that a Mark Richt-coached team showed up and unexpectedly torched a better squad despite my pregame pronouncement that is was unlikely. If the 'Dawgs do prevail, ensuring that Tim Tebow leaves the University of Florida with a losing record as a starter against Georgia, it will undoubtedly be ne of the most satisfying victories in recent memory. But I'm afraid that this sleepwalking Gator squad is going to wake up sooner or later, and I further fear that it will be on Halloween. But I hope that I'm wrong, and I urge you all to explain to me why I am. Until later . . .