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Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Strength Against Strength, Speed Against Speed
Written by Mike Furlan

Mike Furlan
Furls continues his look ahead to The National Championship Game this coming Monday, and in doing so, pokes more fun at the "SEC Speed" label, and begins to break down the matchups. Furls says that speed is pointless if you don't correctly utilize it. And apparently unbeknownst to the national media, this Ohio State team was built on speed as well. Shhhh!  Theoretical physicists and research scientists in Columbus, Ohio are busily tapping away at their keyboards and working in their labs trying to recreate the mythical “SEC Speed” under laboratory conditions in support of the Buckeyes football team.  There is a theoretical understanding for “SEC Speed” ...  but according to the national media Ohio State has never actually experienced it.  The Department of Physics is optimistic that if they are given the time that they requested at CERN in time that they may actually be able to accelerate a subatomic particle to “SEC Speed.”

In all seriousness, the Florida Gators are fast on offense and defense.  Percy Harvin has “SEC Speed” and Deshawn Wynn is pretty damn fast too.  They remind me of Ginn and Gonzalez and they will present match up problems for the Ohio State secondary.  On defense, they have probably two of the fastest corners in the NCAA.  They are quick, right where you would expect them to be, on the outside.  The Gators linebackers move well and get to the ball quickly.  This team is exactly as fast as you would expect any elite college football team to be.

Luckily for the Buckeyes, the team was also built around speed, which the national media seems to be forgetting.  The Buckeyes move well from sideline to sideline on defense and they have the type of speed in the secondary to match up with Florida.  Don’t get me wrong, the Buckeyes secondary will have to respect the speed of Percy Harvin and Deshawn Wynn.  As a result, I expect to see the Buckeyes play off the receivers a bit and keep the routes in front.  This should not be a surprise, it has been this team’s strategy all year long (and since Jim Tressel has taken over). What the coaching staff seems to believe is that if they don’t give up the big play, most teams will not sustain long drives against the Ohio State defense.  Up until now this strategy has worked, and I have no reason to believe that this trend will not continue.

The Gators are going to have to make similar concessions to the Buckeyes receivers.  There is no one in the country that is going to be able to play press on Ted Ginn without a safety over the top, and this is where the Buckeyes have a decisive advantage.  While Florida has a fast secondary, they are not going to be able to cover Ohio State’s wide receivers with their linebackers (unless of course the linebackers have “SEC Speed") and due to the Buckeyes speed on the outside, Florida will not be able to bring in a safety to cover the slot.  Ohio State’s depth at wide receiver will create match up problems for any team because not even the most vocal of SEC homers would be bold enough to say that Florida’s linebackers are fast enough to cover Ohio State’s wide receivers.

It isn’t enough to have great speed and athleticism on a team.  In order to capitalize on an advantage (real or perceived), a team must force match ups that take advantage of your teams speed and athleticism and force the other team to make concessions or take chances.  So while Florida may have the speed at the linebacker position to keep Troy Smith within a stone’s throw of the pocket, they do not have the speed to contain all of the weapons that Ohio State can put on the field. 

It is true that Florida’s football team would probably win if they were competing against Ohio State’s in a track meet, but luckily football is a game, not a race.

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