Speed Counters: Four ways OU can counter Florida's speed

Oklahoman Modified: January 8, 2009 at 12:12 am •  Published: January 8, 2009
Tim Tebow will try to get his speedsters into open space and one-on-one matchups. The Sooners must haul down those Gators. "If you don’t tackle, touchdowns are going to happen,” said OU safety Lendy Holmes.

Throw quickly, preferably to Jermaine Gresham
Florida’s fast defensive ends will come off the corners, and its speedy linebackers will blitz, so Sam Bradford must be ready to launch. And if the ball goes to the 260-pound-but-nimble Gresham, power suddenly trumps speed. "We’ll take one-on-one matchups all day,” Bradford said.

Line up properly
Florida’s spread offense is like Texas Tech’s in one regard — it wants defenses to cover sideline to sideline. A defense that’s not in position leaves gaps, and fast players zip through gaps. "You really have to have discipline,” said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "When you line up, you have leverage. You have to maintain it. Read keys, keep technique, really trust things. You have to do it play after play. A lot of wishbone concepts.”

Power football
OU isn’t likely to run around the Gators. The Sooners will have to run right at them. A between-the-tackles running game neutralizes speed. "Those guys have made it from Day One,” Bradford said of his offensive line. "If they play good, then we’re going to follow them as an offense.”

By Berry Tramel

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