Gators see red, feel disrespected

Florida may bring out trick plays against Ohio State in BCS title game

January 08, 2007|By Teddy Greenstein | Teddy Greenstein,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The stadium that will host tonight's Bowl Championship Series title game was mostly empty on media day, and several Florida players noticed something about the seats: They appeared to be scarlet and gray, making Ohio State feel right at home.

Another slight to Florida, huh?

"I think that's red for the Arizona Cardinals," Gators receiver Dallas Baker reasoned.

"As far as being gray, I don't know what the deal is. People are starting to look into stuff too much, really."

Give Baker credit for laying off the no-respect game. Some of his teammates couldn't resist.

Linebacker Brandon Siler said his team would be fired up because of a literary snub.

"We picked up a BCS championship pamphlet," he said. "There were about 60 pages, and we had two pages in the book. Two pages on the orange and blue.

"But that's how we've been treated all year. We're in an underdog role."

Asked about the pamphlet, Florida coach Urban Meyer smiled and said: "The pre-game speech is not going to be hard."

Florida might also have a psychological edge in facing quarterback Troy Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner.

"At Texas A&M we played against [BYU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner] Ty Detmer in the 1990 Holiday Bowl," said Bob Davie, the former Notre Dame coach and Texas A&M defensive coordinator. "It was great motivation."

Texas A&M won the game, 65-14, and left Detmer with two separated shoulders.

Davie expects Meyer to play up the underdog role.

"I've been with Urban a lot," Davie said of his friend, who was his receivers coach at Notre Dame.

"I know he'll use it. But it's not going to be the biggest thing."

The biggest thing, the thing that will truly have an impact, is how each secondary matches up with the opposing team.

Both teams like to use four- and five-receiver sets to expose weaknesses in their opponents' defensive backfield.

"When they spread the field, Florida will make matchups difficult for Ohio State," Davie said.

"And Urban runs so many unconventional plays - you hate to call them gimmicks because they're part of his base offense - that are hard to defend."

Florida's team speed, plus the fact that the Gators have blocked eight kicks this season, has Davie smelling an upset.

"Until I watched the tape closely, I thought Ohio State was clearly better," he said.

"Now I see how difficult Florida is to match up with. They're really good on defense, they block kicks, they fake kicks. They won't even mess with trying to establish a running game."

Last April, Davie picked Florida to win the national title.

"I'm going to stay in that boat," he said. "And we just saw what Boise State did in [the Fiesta Bowl] in that same stadium against Oklahoma. I think the Florida offense has a bit of Boise in them."

Teddy Greenstein writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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