Game planning for a slugfest in Baton Rouge

Originally Published: October 5, 2007
ESPN The Magazine
Editor's note: Each week, analysts from ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine will tackle a game plan for one of the biggest games on the schedule.

Last year, freshman quarterback Tim Tebow ran for one touchdown and threw for another as Florida beat LSU, 23-10. Think LSU will be ready for Tebow this time around? We asked former coach Mike Gottfried to take over LSU and figure out a way to stop Tebow, then had Bill Curry draw up a competing game plan for Florida. Finally, Jim Donnan picked a winner. On paper, anyway.

Gottfried takes over LSU

My defensive front seven has to be unbelievable, especially middle linebacker Ali Highsmith. He's a speedy, active run stopper, but also superb with his drops in pass coverage. Pass or run, LSU DT Glenn Dorsey is the ultimate disruptor. He roars around the field and does whatever he wants. Florida's O-line is OK, but Dorsey should wreak havoc. We must take out Florida RB Kestahn Moore and spy QB Tim Tebow. The entire UF offense revolves around what Tebow does off the read-option. When we hit Tebow, we'll hit him hard. We'd "in and out" WR Percy Harvin, with a safety inside and a cornerback outside, so he can't possibly get open deep -- Harvin's first step is lethal. My corners, Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson, are lockdown guys who can challenge and beat wideouts Cornelius Ingram and Louis Murphy. On offense, we have a terrific power/speed combo in RB Jacob Hester and change-of-pace RB Trindon Holliday. We'll hammer Hester, who's a bowling ball to tackle, up the gut, then pitch something -- a sweep, reverse or screen -- to Holliday, whose raw speed really energizes the crowd. Even fakes to him will open things up lanes for Hester. Receivers Early Doucet, Brandon LaFell and Holliday have a big edge over Florida's DBs. But TE Richard Dickson is underrated. I'd use him on flats and floods early, to get QB Matt Flynn going and move the sticks a few times. Then we'd try some deep stuff, and I'd try those early. A big bomb early could drive a stake through Florida. If the game does come down to a field goal, PK Colt David is more than capable. I'd trust him with a game-winner.

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