Memo to coaches: Volunteers must dictate matters against Gators

TO: Coaches Fulmer, Clawson, and Chavis

FROM: Jackson the Mule

RE: The Florida Game

DATE: 9/16/08

Y'all are the coaches. I'm just a mule. But I have thoughts on the Gator game.

Okay, thought: DICTATE.

Defense. Did you see how the Miami defense played Tim Tebow and the Gator offense? They dictated play. They weren't content to just sit back and read and react. They put Florida in reaction mode by foisting their plan on the game and making the Gators adapt. They blitzed numerous times from every direction. They took the option out of spread option by interrupting the play before Tebow could make his first read. Do that, but do it for four quarters. Impose your will on them rather than waiting for them to impose theirs on you.

Indecision is the enemy of imposition. Decide and do, full speed, with reckless abandon. Defeat the spread option's base play by destroying one of the options each and every time. I suggest you take away the handoff to the running back/receiver standing next to Tebow when the ball is snapped.

When Tebow sticks the ball in that guy's gut, the two of them will be reading the defensive end to see what he's going to do. If the defensive end heads for the RB/WR, Tebow will take it and do something himself, and the RB/WR will block the DE. If the DE is keyed on Tebow, Tebow will hand it off to the RB/WR and let him go.

The effect of running this play, sometimes even once but especially multiple times, is that the defensive end will eventually revert to attempting to read what those two offensive players are going to do. In doing so, he's necessarily indecisive at that point and will slow down, waiting to see what will happen. Once he slows, though, the QB and RB/WR can then choose either and take off, running away from the DE.

So the DE needs to just key on the RB/WR every time. Race at him full bore without hesitation and punish him. If he gets the ball, he's tackled. If he doesn't get the ball, he's hit and hopefully fails as a blocker. Do this every time the play is run, and at least they'll begin to get the point that the RB/WR isn't really an option. Ditto on the remaining options for Tebow. Don't wait for him to either run or pass or pitch. Go get him. Make a decision to hit him and do it. Remove the options. Decide. Dictate. Impose.

Offense. Same thing for the offense, guys. It's time to shelve this whole idea of "taking what the defense gives you." That puts you into reaction mode and essentially allows the defense to call your plays for you. Now even a mule knows that if they put 11 in the box and leave a receiver open the defense is "giving you" an open receiver and you'd be foolish not to take them up on it, but that's not what's happening. What's happening is that they're disguising their defense pre-snap to get you to behave a certain way and then shifting to something that works against what they expected you to do in response to their formation. See Alabama last year.

The Gators know that our strength is running the ball, and they'll put a whole slew of guys in the box, but they won't necessarily be doing it to stop the run. They may be doing it to sucker us into yet another passing-oriented loss against Florida, to force us into an aspect of our game in which we are struggling right now. Decide to run and then run until we are sure that the pre-snap read is in fact what they'll be ancticipating post-snap. Then you can pass.

In short: RUNTHEBALL! We've got four great backs. Use them to chew up yards and clock. Keep the Gators' offense off the field. If we get behind, keep running, because they'll be expecting us to throw to catch up. We don't do it well yet anyway, and failing will just give them another opportunity to score even more points. So yeah, don't get fooled into thinking we should pass. Dictate the action. Impose your will. Run the ball.

If it ain't broke in the first half, break it at half time. Look, we are a good football program, but every year there's another brilliant coach joining the league. Most of them make excellent adjustments. Doing so on the sideline is a skill for the agile, but all of them do it at halftime.

Nullify any benefit that comes out of that by depriving them of all of their halftime adjustments. How? Two game plans, one for the first half and one for the second, with the second based on what adjustments you think the other team would be making during halftime (assuming the first half worked). Don't wait until you see what their second-half adjustments are and then try to adjust on the fly. Make them adjust to you rather than the other way around.

You're the coaches. I'm just a mule. But I have thoughts.

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