Meyer Hopes To Avoid Repeat Performance

By Adam Caparell - October 05, 2007


Urban Meyer remembers his first loss as Florida head coach quite well. It happened two years ago to the same team his Gators face Saturday - LSU - and it was game that left Meyer humbled unlike any before.

"That seems like 12 years ago," Meyer said.

Florida came into Tiger Stadium 5-1 for their Oct. 15 game and left Baton Rouge four point losers and it nearly had Meyer in tears as the game came to an end.

"I have not felt like that too often in my coaching career after that game," Meyer said.

Meyer was emotionally spent after watching his team leave it all on the field and the Tigers swarming defense hand quarterback Chris Leak one of the worst outings of his career. The Tigers sacked Leak four times as he finished with 107 yards passing, completing just 11-of-30 passes. To say the Tigers were stifling that day would be understating it.

"At times they put one more than we could block in our pass protection and they covered everybody," Meyer said. "In the pass we were confident enough to buy a little time and find the matchup. The negative of that was the guys that we had running routes were covered by the four or five guys from LSU.

"And I mean covered," Meyer said. "And that was a bad situation."

After the Gators returned home from Baton Rouge, many of Meyer's assistant congregated at his house until the early morning hours going over the game and hatching schemes and ideas how to make sure it never happened again. The Gators changed their offense after that game. It helped spawn the rise of Tim Tebow and the evolution process hasn't stopped to this day.

Fast forward two years later as Meyer and the No. 9 Gators get ready to face what could be the best LSU defensive team we've seen during their recent run. The No. 1 Tigers feature nothing but speed and athleticism across the board. And Meyer's young offensive line, that's dealt with a few injuries, must stop the best front four in the game.

Meyer knows it's a tall order. Especially considering how poorly the Gators have been establishing the run lately. They must get the ground game going to take some pressure off Tim Tebow. But that's easier said than done and if the Tigers win the battle at the line of scrimmage, Meyer might be crying over his first first two-game losing streak at Florida.

Weekly Picks

Last Week: 1-4 | Season: 13-12

Illinois (-2.5) over No. 5 Wisconsin
We're going with momentum in this one. The Illini are coming off that nice win over Penn State last week while the Badgers come off another less than sterling performance. Wisconsin is 5-0, but a shaky 5-0. They're vulnerable on defense and Illinois can rush the ball effectively. If Juice Williams plays smart, Illinois emerges the winner.

No. 10 Oklahoma (-11.5) over Texas
Oklahoma had a bad game against Colorado and they'll put that loss behind them against what is shaping up to be another soft Texas team. Colt McCoy is turning the ball over and the Longhorns offensive line has had trouble holding its own. Oklahoma can exploit the Longhorns up front. The Sooners have only allowed teams to convert 19-of-82 third downs. Their stingy play continues.

No. 4 Ohio State (-7) over No. 23 Purdue
Best offense in the Big Ten vs. the best defense in the Big Ten. Can you guess which is which? Buckeyes win this one because of their offense is coming into its own the past few weeks and the Boilermakers won't be able to stop the big play capabilities of Todd Boeckman to Brian Robiskie. The two have hooked up for six plays of 25 yards or more. Expect a few Saturday against the 92nd best pass defense in the country.

No. 17 Missouri (-7) over No. 25 Nerbaska
The Tigers have one of the most balanced offenses in the nation and happen to be facing a woefully porous defensive front that's going to give up yards. Nebraska gave up over 600 yards to Ball State. How are they going to do against the fifth best offense in the country? Plus, Missouri has been scary good converting on third downs (57 percent). That means they keep drives alive, forcing defense to stay on the field for long stretches. And the Cornhuskers do not want their defense on the field.

No. 1 LSU (-8) over No. 9 Florida
We've seen the line come down during the week, but LSU's still the pick because Florida isn't going to be able to establish its running game yet again. That's going to leave too much to Tim Tebow who will be scrambling all night going up against the best defensive line in the country. Only way Florida wins this one is if they connect on a few big plays. Auburn didn't let Florida burn them with any backbreakers last week in their upset win and LSU will follow suit.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 02:07 PM on October 05, 2007
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