Behold…the Juggernaut

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Florida Gators, sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is what Gator followers have been waiting for since the 2011 schedule was announced. The so-called “October Juggernaut” has dominated discussions about the Gators’ first season under Coach Will Muschamp.

It starts Saturday night at The Swamp with Alabama. Then there’s a trip to Baton Rogue for a 3:30 kickoff against LSU. Next up a trip to Auburn and, finally, the annual game against arch-rival Georgia at Everbank Field.

Thus far, the Gators have done exactly what was expected of them. They overwhelmed two patsies; had little trouble with rebuilding Tennessee; routed SEC weakling Kentucky. The defense has dominated with basic schemes, which means little blitzing. Backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps have produced one big play after another. Quarterback John Brantley has looked comfortable in an offensive scheme suited to his skills.

The concerns entering the season remain concerns. No wide receivers have stepped up. The power running game has been non-existent. They too often have to settle for field goals once they reach the red zone.

Has Muschamp been holding anything back? How much more is there in offensive coordinator’s Charlie Weis’ playbook? Obviously, the Gators are done with hiding anything.

It is reasonable to think the Gator will not be physically pushed around by Alabama this year as they were a year ago. But the Crimson Tide still has a talent advantage and better depth. It also has the coaching edge with Nick Saban and his veteran staff matching wits with Muschamp and crew. Muschamp learned much of what he knows from Saban in this teacher vs. student confrontation.

Can this be a case of Saban having taught Muschamp everything Muschamp knows but not everything Saban knows?

Some things seem obvious. Brantley will see more pressure than he’s seen all season. Alabama will not allow Rainey and Demps to repeatedly get open in the flats for dump off passes from Brantley. The Gators will have to make some plays down field to loosen up the Tide defense.

The Tide’s biggest question mark is first-year starting quarterback Scott McCarron. If the Gators’ defense continues to shut down the opposition’s running game, can McCarron’s arm carry the offense? Can he keep his poise with nearly 90,000 Gator fanatics screaming nonstop?

This game can’t ruin the Gators season, but it could make it . . . at least until next week when top-ranked LSU awaits.

Quik pix: There’s still too much we don’t know about the Gators, but that’s isn’t the case with Alabama, which wins 28-21; the new pass-happy Wisconsin Badgers give visiting Nebraska a rude welcome to the Big Ten, 35-17; Dabo-mania crashes to earth as Virginia Tech beats visiting Clemson, 17-14; South Carolina has never been 5-0 and it stays that way as visiting Auburn pulls the upset, 21-14; The Fighting Zooks of Illinois beating neighboring rival Northwestern, 40-35. Last week: 4-1 (9-6 overall).

  1. Now, we will see what we will see…PEACE.

  2. Terri says:

    You left out the part about the last time Charlie Weiss played against an SEC power house (LSU) his team’s performance turned their QB Jamarcus Russell into the #1 Draft Pick …. a bust!

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