When Florida Has The Ball: Forget pitching it around to start the game. Florida needs to run immediately to break down Oklahoma's front line. Oklahoma's rushing defense is far better than their pass defense (16th to 99th) but they also played in a league where there were no standout running backs. If Florida can open it up by running, when they throw, Oklahoma's front will be too tired to rush Tim Tebow. Also, offensive linemen would rather run block. Harness that adrenaline and let them hit somebody.
Oklahoma has to blitz like hell. Ole Miss beat Florida like that, perfectly willing to allow 30 points because it came with turnovers. The same could happen here. If they play as if it will be a shootout, blitzing and getting in Tebow's head early might be the best bet.
When Oklahoma Has The Ball: Sam Bradford has to test Florida's secondary early, who was 1-1 in games against elite quarterbacks (Jevon Snead, Matt Stafford). Neither QB was fantastic (Snead was 9-20) but they made the passes when needed. Snead threw for 185 with 2 TDs and a pick. Stafford threw for 265 but with 3 picks. With Bradford, the Gators will see a class of QB they have not seen and Oklahoma needs to attack early to win.
Florida cannot get caught up in the speed of the Sooners' offense. The Gators will have to switch out personnel like a hockey team with changes on the fly. That means when there are changes, each sub has to get his head in the game and not get caught. They won't have DeMarco Murray, but Oklahoma has another 1000 yard rusher in Chris Brown which Florida must contain. It might be a ‘bend-don't break' day with the Gators allowing Bradford to open it up, but locking down in the red zone.
Kicking: Florida has the huge edge here. If Cold Blooded Brandon James brings one back, that might be the difference. Oklahoma would have used Murray here, so their 5th best unit loses some pop. But they are 105 and 17 in kickoff and punt coverage. Florida is 88 and 9. Both the kickoff numbers are inflated because both teams score a lot and would then have more chances to screw up coverage. But Florida has their Number 1 guy healthy.
Intangibles: From the Orlando Sentinel;
"I think I was dreaming of this since I was probably six," said the Florida quarterback, making his first national-championship start. "Remembering when I was 8 when Florida beat Florida State...I've dreamed of this moment since I was a little kid."
Of the dozens of subplots in today's colossal Bowl Championship Series national-championship game between Florida and Oklahoma in Dolphin Stadium, none parallels the magnitude of whether you believe Tebow was born to win this game or born to defer to Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and the Sooners.
Tebow has been thinking about quarterbacking this game for almost 15 years. That's about 12 more years than Bradford.
"In high school, not until I was pretty old did I realize that maybe I had the opportunity to do something like this," said Bradford, this season's Heisman Trophy winner.
You always want the best player in the game on your team. Florida has that and the most inspired one too.
Around 7:15pm our live thread opens up with a mini preview. I hope you're in Championship Mode.