Alabama’s offense won the last two years because they were able to run the ball. Florida’s offense is built around two small speed backs.
CBS Sports’ national college football coverage continues with a tripleheader on Saturday, Oct. 1 featuring a primetime match-up between unbeatens as *No. 3-ranked Alabama takes on *No. 12-ranked Florida (8:00 PM, ET). The tripleheader begins with Air Force at Navy (12:00 NOON, ET), followed by Auburn battling *No. 10-ranked South Carolina (3:30 PM, ET).
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Alabama has won the last two years because they were able to run the ball and Florida could not. Charlie Weis will not be intimidated by Nick Saban’s defensive schemes. But will he be able to produce yards between the tackles with two scat backs? Field goals will be as valuable as touchdowns, but Florida must not allow a non-traditional score to Alabama’s defense or special teams.
With 18 starters returning, we knew Alabama was set up to be one of the top teams in college football this season. However, this 2011 team might be Nick Saban’s best at Alabama.
(On Alabama’s Defense)
Barring injuries on defense, Alabama’s only weakness may be complacency. Last year’s inexperience has morphed into this year’s strength. Middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower is fulfilling his potential now that he is completely recovered from his 2009 knee injury. He has size, power, speed and the smarts to run Nick Saban’s defense at the same level as Rolando McClain did on his way to becoming a national champion and first round NFL Draft pick.
(On Florida’s Offense)
Aside from spread offenses, I’ve never seen an offense built around two small speed backs. Look for Florida to use their tight ends (Trey Burton and Jordan Reed) like the Patriots use Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, to attack the linebackers and safeties and stay away from the cornerbacks.