We've been here before, now haven't we? It's time for the one game of the season that most surely brings out the inferiority complex in Bulldog fans. Logically, we should have little reason for optimism. But there is a nagging voice inside the heads of many 'Dawg fans that says, "Hey, stranger things have happened." So while you're busy deciding how to feel about this game, I'd like to offer you the 5 things I think you'll see on Saturday against the Galen Hall School of Camaro Maintenance.
1) Caleb King in a clean uniform. This one is a tough call. As all of you are already aware, Caleb King, true freshman phenom and (at least until this Monday) surefire redshirt candidate will be dressing out against the Gators on Saturday. The coaches seem to be saying that it's just an insurance move. Fans of course are wondering why Jason Johnson, Kalvin Daniels, and Shaun Chapas are not insurance enough.
I'm inclined to wonder the same thing. In a game that is likely to be very physical, I can think of a variety of linemen we could carry to fill the last slot on the travel roster. While on the one hand it seems a little late in the year to be burning a redshirt, I think that you'll see King play if he gives us the best shot to win this game. That happens if something happens to Knowshown (like, falling off a countertop, for example) and Jason Johnson and Kalvin Daniels are ineffective or get hurt. I'm taking the coaches at their word, and think that only a series of unfortunate events gets King in the game.
2) Reshad Jones. Marcus Washington has already gone on record as saying that he knows about Tim Tebow's injured shoulder and is going to tee off on it. I for one don't know how many shots he'll get. If our linebackers play true to form, the only part of Tebow they'll be hitting are the backs of his ankles. No, I think that if anyone in red and black really lays into the big fullback it's going to come from the safety position. Kelin Johnson has generally been a bigger threat to himself than anyone else when trying to lay the wood on ballcarriers. My money is on Reshad Jones to put at least one really good shot on Timmy Boy.
3) 36 pass attempts by Matt Stafford. Or some similar number. Knowshown Moreno is coming into his own asa tailback. But right now he's our only experienced tailback. Florida's secondary has had a tough time against vertical passing attacks, but has looked solid against the run. I'm guessing that Mike Bobo has used the off week to come up with some wrinkles to exploit that differential. As has been the case for much of this season, as Matt Stafford goes, so goes this game. I'm not venturing a guess about his performance. I'm just saying that it will be key.
4) Go, Go Gadget Coordinator! One of the great things about an off week is that it gives you time you wouldn't normally have to put in things that don't fit into your normal scheme. If Mike Bobo and Willie Martinez don't show the Gators some things they haven't seen, they aren't doing their jobs. Now, that doesn't mean that we'll be seeing double reverses on the first three offensive snaps. But I would be surprised if we didn't see some formations we haven't seen much of. Four receivers stacked? Maybe. The wishbone? Possible. Willie Martinez bringing 6 rushers on 3rd and 12? Well, let's not get too carried away. . .
5) UF 31, UGA 24. I struggled long and hard with this. I don't think I've ever actually picked against Georgia. But my integrity requires it here. There are simply a boatload of things that have to go right for us to prevail in this one. The odds of everything breaking our way are slim. But it's not out of the question. We needed Florida to play a grueling, physical game against Kentucky. It happened. Major Wright, the heir apparaent to Reggie Nelson is out hurt, taking away the punishing safety who usually causes MoMass to fall flailing to the ground without contact. We needed some of our experienced players to heal up over the off week. It looks like they have. We needed to find a running threat. It's possible that we did in the second half against Vandy. The pieces are in place, and this is my invitation to the football Gods to prove me wrong. Man, I hope I'm wrong.
Tune in tomorrow for the greatest Cocktail Thursday of them all, Cocktail Party Thursday.