Game of the week: Top-ranked Gators take trip into 'Death Valley'
Just for a moment, try to forget the 24-hour will-he-or-won't-he-play drama surrounding
The Tigers have owned Saturday nights at home, winning their last 32 games, including 21 straight under coach
"Every play is followed at a snap-by-snap excitement like I've never seen before," Miles said. "Our guys enjoy [playing at night]. The announcement [by public address announcer
Could Death Valley be where the Gators suffer their first loss? Or will an LSU team that has lived dangerously be exposed? Of course, those aren't the most pressing questions on everyone's minds.
If Tebow can't play, Meyer will turn to redshirt sophomore
You can't blame Meyer for trying to keep the Tigers guessing, though Miles says he'll prepare for the offense and not a specific quarterback.
"We feel whichever quarterback takes snaps, they will operate that offense," he said. "It's an imperfect time; certainly you don't know exactly the characteristic of the quarterback taking the snap."
I have a feeling Brantley will start. Not having Tebow on the field could take away some of the glitz of the matchup, but his presence may not be worth the risk. Tebow isn't the kind of player who sits back in the pocket and sidesteps contact; he has built his reputation on being a glutton for physical punishment. As gifted as Tebow is, a lack of preparation could force him to open himself up to more contact.
There's another reason to consider in keeping Tebow on the sideline. While Florida's perfect record is on the line, it could still win the national title with a loss. If the Gators were to lose in Baton Rouge, they could still redeem themselves in the SEC title game, should they win the East division, and make the national title game. Having Tebow on Dec. 5 in the Georgia Dome is worth more than trying to rush him back from a serious injury in the second weekend of October.
LSU has found other ways to be productive, despite the lack of sacks. The Tigers have eight interceptions and are 13th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. But against Florida, Chavis' crew has to find a way to create conventional pressure. As great as Florida has been on offense, it has given up seven sacks in four games.
"I would like to get more production in the sack area," Miles said. "I like the position our defense puts our team in. Yes, we need more sacks but not at the cost of overall production."
Still, the defensive front has proved to be the Tigers' weak spot. If Florida controls the line of scrimmage, it won't matter if it's Brantley or Tebow at quarterback, the Gators will be able to take advantage of a deep and dangerous running game with
Chavis has had some success against Meyer in the past. His Tennessee teams held the Gators to 277 yards per game in four meetings, but the Vols lost all four games.
But Jefferson will face his toughest test yet against
"Blessed with great size, instincts and a degree of physicality unmatched in college football, Spikes is among the rare defensive players capable of taking over a game.
"Positives: Prototype size for the middle. Reads the action and shows little to no wasted motion in getting to the ball. Aggressively attacks the line of scrimmage, but rarely is fooled by misdirection or play-action. His best attribute is his overall physicality. An explosive, wrap-up hitter who loves to intimidate the opposition. Can separate the ball from the ball-carrier. Experienced stand-up blitzer. Good initial burst upfield and has the closing speed to make the big play when opportunities present themselves. Good use of hands to disengage from blocks as a pass rusher. Good bend around the corner. Will be projected as an outside linebacker in some schemes due to his ability to rush the passer. Alert in coverage. Good ball skills to make the interception.
"Negatives: Prone to over-aggression. Attacks the line of scrimmage, leaving open potential cut-back lanes for backs with NFL-caliber vision and acceleration. At his best moving forward. Questionable straight-line speed and agility for coverage. Relies on reading the quarterback's eyes when in coverage. Protected a bit by the aggressive scheme, talent around him."
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