Friday, December 01, 2006

SEC Championship Q&A with Swamp Ball

Tomorrow is Championship Saturday where the ACC, Big 12 and SEC will all crown their champions. We already gave you coverage of the Big 12 Championship game and now Mark from Swamp Ball, an outstanding Florida Gators blog, has stopped in to talk Florida Gators, Arkansas Razorbacks and the SEC Championship with us. Thanks for your time, Mark!

Describe what you believe is the strength of the Florida offense and how you think Arkansas is going to defend it.

Mark: The strength of Florida's offense is a very talented group of playmakers who can create yards out of nowhere. The depth that the Gators hold at the receiver position is something that is a huge advantage week in and week out, and should be something that the offensive coaches, if smart, would try to use regularly. Dallas Baker is Chris Leak's favorite downfield receiver, and is a very tall WR who can exploit shorter DBs on jump balls. WRs Andre Caldwell, Percy Harvin (if he plays) and Jemalle Cornelius are all-around great athletes who can be used in several different scenarios to gain chunks of yards. Florida even has a very athletic TE in Cornelius Ingram, who I believe has not touched the ball enough this season.

Arkansas will try to defend this offensive strength by making the Gators offense one-dimensional. In other words, they'll attempt to stop the run consistently and keep the threat of big plays out of the backfield low. This could be an easier task this week because DeShawn Wynn is coming off an injury last week and another running back has not emerged as a playmaker in his absence.

What about the Razorback’s offensive strength and Florida’s game plan on defense?

Mark: The Razorbacks' strength obviously is their tremendous run game with Darren McFadden. Arkansas uses McFadden in a variety of dangerous ways, so the Gators D will have to try and contain the run in some way. They have been a solid defensive front this season, especially on the road at Tennessee, and will need an effort similar to that in Atlanta if they want to have any chance at winning this game.

If they do by chance stop the Arkansas running attack, I feel that they'll be more than able to contain the Arkansas passing game for the most part.

Coaching advantage goes to whom?

Mark: I really think that this is a push. Houston Nutt and his coaches have had a great season leading this team to victory, even though some of these guys are new to the college game and are learning as they go. Urban Meyer and his coaching staff has been criticized this season for some poor-playcalling and this has become a pretty big issue among the Gators and their fans. Urban Meyer and Houston Nutt are both very intelligent football coaches with some differing styles, but in this game I don't think that coaching will play a huge factor either way.

Are there any players from the other team that you would take for yours?

Mark: I would take Darren McFadden in a heartbeat, obviously. That guy is a special talent. Another guy I think would be a great fit for Florida would be WR Marcus Monk, who has been a very dangerous offensive threat this season.

Who wins and why?

Mark: As much as I hate to say it, Florida is the underdog in this one because of their past performances over the past couple of weeks. The offense just has not been able to capitalize on their opportunities, and I think that with an Arkansas offense that has been tough to stop the inability to score points when needed will be a huge problem.

This will be a competitive game with the Hogs winning, I'll say 24-14.