Early Florida-Auburn 2011 Preview: Will the Curse of the Gator Chomp Loom On Auburn?

Flash back to 1989. Georgia had just beaten Florida 17-10, and the players all mocked Florida’s fans with the Gator Chomp.

Florida has won 18 out of the last 21.

Then go to 1997. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a big field goal to give FSU some breathing room, and did a huge, exaggerated Chomp to the Florida Field crowd.

Florida drove down the field and won the game three plays later.

Now on to 2007. Wes Byrum of Auburn nailed a huge game winner in the Swamp, and chomped the crowd.

It’s up to the 2011 Gators to avenge that.

But how?

Auburn has lost Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, but they still have plenty of weapons.

They have wide receiver Emory Blake, a great leaper with good enough hands who will be depended on for fade routes in big time situations.

They have Ontario McCaleb, a speed demon who has broken at least one run of 20 yards or more in all but three games this year.

They have Quan Bray, an incoming freshman who can play numerous positions with a verbal but solid committment to Auburn.

It’s the QB position that may cause Gene Chizik problems.

Barrett Trotter, who will be a junior, is my best guess to land the starting spot, because he was going to be handed the keys to the Tiger offense before Newton came into the picture. He is a very athletic QB with a snap quick release and the ability to take off and buy some time. He can throw on the run if need be, but he is closer to a dop back passer than a spread QB.

Kiehl Frazier is more like Cameron Newton, familiar with a spread option game, but he’s going to be a freshman next year and has not seen big stages before at Shiloh High School. Although he is a running QB, he isn’t nearly as accurate on the run.

That’s exactly what the Gators have to plan to do- make the QB run.

They cannot allow Trotter- or Frazier- to get comfortable, settle in, and pick the Gator apart. They need to knock him down, let him know that he’s being targeted all the time.

Who better to do that than Will Muschamp?

The Gators have plenty of speed on defense, and if you’ve ever played for Charlie Strong, you’re able to put some big hits on QB’s on command.

So expect the Gators to blitz early in the down count to set the tone, and disrupt the entire offense.

Now, onto the offensive side. They’ve got speed, they’ve got playmakers, the only thing they don’t have is… a dependable QB.

I think if all Gator fans had to bet their last dollar on who starts at QB against FAU, the answer is going to be John Brantley.

Let’s get one thing straight. I know that Steve Addazio’s offense was horrible, and the QB he used was just as bad. Or you could flip that, and look at it vice versa.

Whatever you want.

The point is that I’m not a fan of Brantley any more than most of you and I promise you guys that I have very limited patience for him. If my patience goes, then I call for Jeff Driskel.

That’s a promise. I’ll give Brantley one game to see if he can at least light up a bottom feeder.

Assuming Brantley makes it to the Auburn game as the starter, then that means he will have seen six defenses, played reasonably well at Death Valley in the Bayou (one week before the trip to Auburn) and that he won’t likely buckle under the pressure and the lights of Jordan Hare.

But even if it’s Driskel, Charlie Weis will figure something out. He’s too good of an offensive mind not to.

Bottom line?

Defense plays light out and offense does its job.

Florida 34 Auburn 23

21 thoughts on “Early Florida-Auburn 2011 Preview: Will the Curse of the Gator Chomp Loom On Auburn?

  1. I love the article I hope you do one for every meaningful game on the schedule. Without Newton and that O-line I see auburn falling hard this year. We should win the ball game Muschamp will have our D ready! Our offense scares me a little and that’s because of Brantley. Weis will cook up something great but Brantley has to produce outside of practice. Like Neil said Brantley is on the shortest of leashes and has no room to resemble that QB he was last year. I really feel we can win the East this year but it will be the defense. Let’s go Gators!

  2. Auburn will still be tough without Newton. Remember the recruiting class this hauled in this past spring ?

    They also aren’t afraid to tap into the JUCO ranks. Cam Newtons don’t grow on trees, but Malzahn’s offense is insane.

    I don’t know if Auburn will drop off that much. Remember, they were just a hair better than LSU, Arkansas and Alabama.

    Remember, Bama was the 4th best SEC team last year and their 3 loses were by a combined 18 pts.

    LSU’s two losses were to Auburn and Arkansas. Arkansas’s two losses were to Alabama and Auburn.

    What’s my point ? There’s a very fine, thin line between 1st and 4th in the SEC west so “the 4th place team” in the west is still a powerhouse and if Auburn “falls to 4th” they’re still probably going to be better than the #1 team in the east.

    As far as actual real predictions, I’ll hold off until all signings are in and rosters are set.

  3. Bone good point man, but look what happened to us after losing everybody. I think auburn will be alright but not good. Just my opinion.

  4. God I hope that we beat Auburn this year. When that kicker did that gator chomp I wanted to beat his face in. We should have a chance at revenge next year but it’s not gonna be easy do to the fact that it’s at Auburn. But I think we can do it.

  5. Breaking news: Auburn receiver Darvin Adams just declared for the draft, meaning he will skip his senior season.

    Florida’s task just got much easier.

  6. As intriguingly entertaining as that opinion piece was, it is way way wayyyyy too early to be scouting the Auburn game. There’s no way to even guess what’s going to happen halfway into next season right now.
    Let’s focus on the last couple of weeks leading up to natl signing day, then the orange & blue game April 9.

  7. That was the point… to entertain people and give them a quick tease before the home stretch in recruiting hits. But thanks for the compliment.

  8. Great post Neil.
    I find the stories here better than other gators blogs.
    Keep up the good work!

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