Football

Matchup: Miami vs. Florida

Quarterback

This one really isn’t even close. Tim Tebow is the defending Heisman Trophy winner and is in his third year. Robert Marve and Jacory Harris are talented, but they have thrown a combined 26 college passes (all by Harris). The only real equalizer in this match-up is the possible monsoon, which could nullify both passing games.

ADVANTAGE: Florida

Running Back

This is a position that UF does not feature. On the other hand, Javarris James and Graig Cooper are the Canes’ bread and butter. Percy Harvin will get snaps here, but he has been sitting out for weeks and may be rusty. Emmanuel Moody and Kestahn Moore also figure into the picture for the Gators, but, at this point, they are solid at best.

ADVANTAGE: Miami

Receivers

UF has a fleet of fast, experienced receivers who are used out of the backfield and the slot as well. Miami has a fleet of talented, inexperienced receivers. This seems to be the position most affected by stadium noise. At tight end, Aaron Hernandez is a stud for UF, while the Miami trio of Epps, Zellner, and Gordon is functional.

ADVANTAGE: Florida

O-Line

Miami’s line looked soft last week, and UF’s did not. Both groups are supposed to be team strengths, but the Miami group will have to man up in The Swamp and play with discipline and focus.

ADVANTAGE: Florida

D-Line

Miami’s young group looked good last week against an inferior opponent. Spencer Adkins was great in the third down package, registering two sacks. The question is if Miami’s two defensive linemen, Allen Bailey and Eric Moncur, will be ready after barely seeing the practice field this summer because they were nursing injuries. If the Canes can get Tebow in third-and-long situations, all bets are off. For UF, the line is talented but young. The headliner is Carlos Dunlap, an all-around defensive end who creates serious match-up problems.

ADVANTAGE: Florida

Linebackers

Brandon Hicks was huge last week for the Gators, and they get back team leader middle linebacker Brandon Spikes this week. Miami’s starters looked slow, but Sean Spence was a breath of fresh air.

ADVANTAGE: FLORIDA

Secondary

UF picked off three passes against Hawaii last week and returned two for touchdowns. This Gator group looked very improved from last season, when they drew heaps of criticism. Major Wright and Joe Haden are their playmakers. Miami, meanwhile, was not tested much against Charleston Southern, so this week should tell us more. A concern that jumped out was DeMarcus Van Dyke’s lingering tackling problems. This could be a problem against an offense that is predicated on getting the ball into one-on-one match-ups in space.

ADVANTAGE: FLORIDA

Special Teams

Matt Bosher punted solidly and converted his only field goal try. Graig Cooper returned a punt for a score, which was the play of the game. For UF, Brandon James equaled Cooper’s feat, scoring his own punt return touchdown. The edge goes to UF in the field position game, as Miami struggled to pin Charleston Southern deep on kickoffs.

ADVANTAGE: FLORIDA

September 4, 2008

Reporters

Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer


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