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Panic Attack- Herpetophobia Edition

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The Tennessee faithful have been the victims of a crippling phobia for the better part of two decades. Herpetophobia. No, it has nothing to do with an STD, but rather the University of Florida Gators. Okay, so in a round-about way that makes it have something to do with the University of Florida.

The Volunteers of Tennessee have been alligator-bitten in September for six straight years, and have struggled mightily in general with the Gators since Steve Spurrier arrived there back in 1990. Phillip Fulmer could never fully escape the shadow of the Gators' teeth versus 3 different coaches. Sure, he had a winning record against Ron Zook (2-1), but it took some unsportsman-like shenanigans, improper officiating of the clock, and a 50 yard field goal to get one of those wins.

One of Kiffin's biggest coups was a two possession loss to Florida in the Swamp. It's embarrassing how happy some Tennessee fans were with that.

But here we are, in the legendary "Year 2" of Coach Dooley's tenure. Can he lead a young team to the swamp and bring them back out unscathed? Seems like a tall order.

Let us examine the anatomy of the American Alligator, the embodiment of the University of Florida's football team.

The jaws and teeth, Florida's offense and running game-

The Florida offense may not be as flashy or dominant as in the Urban Meyer or Steve Spurrier days, but it is still brutally unforgiving. The passing game is strong and steady, just enough so to keep defenses honest. The lasting damage is done by the rushing game, where the speedy tandem of C. Rainey and J. Demps have collectively racked up 248.5 yards a game, the 17th best rushing average in the country. They may be the fastest backfield duo in the country, and marks Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as a Spotted Swamp Ape Preserve. Don't let the Tennessee homers fool you: these two backs will burn Tennessee if they are allowed to find the edge and the Tennessee freshman linebackers don't step up.

The tail and bony plates, Florida's defense-

The Gators defense is young, but extremely talented and almost completely comprised of former elite recruits. Last week, they earned their first shutout since 2006 over UAB. That is the same UAB that Tennessee had to beat in overtime last year. They also managed a safety. The Gators have all the tools and skills to potentially hold the Tennessee offense in their tracks. And when you aren't moving in the Swamp, you're sinking. The Florida defense is solid and steady across the field, with no obvious weaknesses. It will be a huge test for the young Volunteer offense against SEC competition.

The Death Roll, Florida's home field advantage

This will be the first real road test for Tyler Bray, and is one of the toughest environments in all of college football for the rest of the Volunteers. Can they stand up in the face of the pressure, crowd noise, the unmistakable smell of human urine in the stands, and the distractions?

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  1. kptvol's Avatar
    I'm pretty sure that alligator has a cold sore.
  2. UncleNeyland's Avatar
    Enjoyed the read, well done
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