Monday September 3, 2012Gators have played, Aggies have not -- so who has the edge?
Updated: 9:16pm, September 3
Updated: 9:16pm, September 3
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- So the University of Florida has a game under its belt while Texas A&M had to halt preparations for their season opener in midstream last week and got almost an entire extra week to preview the Gators.
Who has the edge?
“We’ll split this a hundred different ways,” UF coach Will Muschamp said of the question Monday.
The Gators (1-0) and Aggies (0-0) will open their Southeastern Conference slate Saturday at historic Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. The game will mark the debut of A&M in the SEC, but it wasn’t supposed to be the school’s first game of the 2012 season.
The Aggies were scheduled to kick it off Thursday night at Louisiana Tech, but that game was postponed by Hurricane Isaac and rescheduled for the Oct. 13 bye weekend.
“They have advantages and disadvantages,” UF senior linebacker Jon Bostic said. “We have advantages and disadvantages.”
That ought to clear things up.
But Bostic is dead on.
For the Gators, they have a game under their belts that allowed players to shake through any Game 1 jitters. More importantly, the 27-14 defeat Saturday of Bowling Green advanced the UF quarterback duel enough for Coach Will Muschamp on Monday to announced sophomore Jeff Driskel would start ahead of classmate Jacoby Brissett this weekend in the much-anticipated showdown at College Station.
Those are the positives.
The negatives, of course, are that A&M had a week’s headstart on tape of the Gators and will use that intel to fold into its game plan.
While Florida has had a scouting blueprint on the Aggies for months, most of it is based on the schemes Coach Kevin Sumlin (pictured) used with his teams at the University of Houston, where he ran a wide-open spread offense that in 2009 led the nation in scoring (42.2 points per game), total offense (563.4 yards pg) and passing offense (433.7 ypg).
Last year, the Cougars went 12-0 during the regular-season schedule -- flirting with a BCS berth -- but lost to Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA title game.
The UF coaches will have to marry their Houston scouts to the current Aggie personnel, which includes redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Manziel, for what it’s worth, will get his first taste of collegiate action against a defense that returns nine starters from a unit that ranked eighth in the nation last season; not to mention the pressure accompanying the historic first SEC game amid the passion that is A&M football.
Advantages and disadvantages.
“We are in a little bit of a guessing game from the standpoint of them not playing, but that’s always with [a] first game,” Muschamp said. “We just need to adjust to what we’re doing. We need to play fast. We need to have great tempo, because we know they will offensively. We need to get lined up and get our cleats in the dirt and play.”