|No. 4 Florida focuses on Tennessee's Foster|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 17 September 2008 12:56|
Their mission is equally clear: stop running back Arian Foster.
The fourth-ranked Gators (2-0) haven't even tried to hide their defensive game plan, talking all week about moving safety Ahmad Black near the line of scrimmage and getting as many people as necessary involved to stop Tennessee's leading rusher and top playmaker.
``It's called winning or losing the game,'' Meyer said.
History agrees. In 16 of the last 18 meetings between the Southeastern Conference rivals, the team that has rushed for more yards has won the game.
The last three years - all victories for Florida and Meyer - have been no exception.
The Gators held the Volunteers to 66 yards on the ground in 2005 (16-7 Gators), minus-11 yards the following year (21-20) and 37 yards last season (59-20).
so far,'' Meyer said. ``If they run the ball all over us, we won't win the game. That's very clear.''
Foster is third in the league in rushing, averaging 7.8 yards a carry and nearly 100 yards a game. He's closing in on becoming the school's all-time leading rusher, trailing Travis Henry by 488 yards, and could jump from seventh to fourth on the career list with 88 yards against Florida.
Of course, that would be more yards than he's had in three games against the Gators.
Foster has 17 carries for 39 yards in the three losses, and that includes an 11-yard run in 2005. The longest run Florida has allowed the last two years was a 6-yarder.
``This is a big test for us,'' Black said. ``A lot of people are congratulating us on the past two wins we had. But this is going to be the big test for us to see if we really have what it takes to keep winning and to carry this football team.''
The Gators were solid against the run most of last season. But in three of their four losses - against LSU, Georgia and Michigan - they were gauged on the ground. The Tigers ran for 247 yards, the Bulldogs gained 196 and the Wolverines finished with 151.
But neither of those teams has anyone like Foster, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior who's been in a number of big games, and according to scouts and coaches, will be in the NFL next season.
``They're going to line up and run it with him,'' Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes said. ``That's what they're going to do, and you're going to have to stop it.
``That's their deal. They're going to run it. You just have to stop it. If you can't stop it, you're going to have a long day on defense.''
Meyer has made that very clear this week.
``They're a tailback-oriented offense,'' Meyer said. ``The running back is the best we've seen. The guy's really good. He's a powerful runner, and not many people have tackled him one-on-one, so we're spending a lot of time on that run game right now.''