Look Out For The Gators

If Florida can establish running game, SEC defenses will have hands full

March 5, 2008

By Trev Alberts

Special to CSTV.com


Trev Alberts is a football analyst for CBS College Sports and CSTV.com.

You've got college football questions and CSTV football analyst Trev Alberts has answers and opinions. Each week Alberts will be answering questions and queries on the world of college football. So if you've got a question for Trev? Just ask him.


With Emmanuel Moody the likely starting running back, do you think we'll finally see Florida use a feature back for the first time under Urban Meyer or will we just see Tim Tebow carry the Florida offense for the second straight season? - Eric Ivironne, N.C.


It doesn't matter if it's Urban Meyer or any other coach in college football; you'd really like to establish a go-to running back. Within that offense and what they do at Florida, they can compensate for a lot of areas based on having a quarterback with the abilities of Tim Tebow. I will say that if you remember when Meyer was at Utah they had some dominant running backs there and the running back position was a lot more of a focus in that offense. So I'm sure Meyer would love to have a go-to running back in that offense, to compliment Tim Tebow, which you'd like to think would open everything else up for Percy Harvin and the rest of the Florida receivers.


You saw how dangerous the offense was without a dominant running back and if you add a dominant running back, surrounded by all the talent they have on the outside and of course with Tim Tebow, SEC defenses are going to be on high alert because that's going to be a difficult offense to slow down.


Does the NCAA do enough to hold teams accountable for off-field violations? - Jeff, Michigan


I don't know what recourse the NCAA has. I think they do their best and go about it, in terms of the educational standpoint of helping young men and women understand the pitfalls of poor choices and poor behavior. I do know that a lot of those programs have only increased since I was in college at Nebraska, but we certainly had it when I was there.


But when it comes to college football, it's a little different than the other sports. The NCAA controls basketball in that it runs the NCAA Tournament, it can withhold money and take away certain things based on behavior by a university. With football you have the bowl system and conferences are the ones who largely dictate the handing out of the money. Although the NCAA has jurisdiction of the rules and can hand out penalties if the rules are broken, I think there is a little less maneuverability with football.


I know I'm not really answering the question and I quite frankly I don't understand it all that well. I just think it's too easy to say the NCAA needs to have more oversight over each individual school. It's pretty hard for the NCAA, sitting in Indianapolis, to be the arbiter of an issue with Washington, for instance.


I think they can help member institutions better serve their student-athletes. Although on the surface it looks fairly simple for the NCAA to say, "If you do this, we'll do this," it's far more complex than that.


As a linebacker, when you were getting recruited, who was the most important person to you - the Linebackers Coach, the Defensive Coordinator, or the Head Coach? - K., Florida


For me it was the head coach.


I sort of went through an interesting scenario when I was being recruited because John Melton, the linebackers coach at Nebraska when I was in high school, suffered a heart attack right after I signed. He retired. It was then that Kevin Steele was hired to be the inside linebackers coach, but I never gave my decision a second thought.  I wasn't going to Nebraska to play for John Melton, that wasn't why I chose to go there. I wasn't going to play for Kevin Steele. I was going to Nebraska to play for Tom Osborne. That's just the way it was.

I think every player is different. I often hear analyst say you shouldn't go to a school for the coach and that you should go because it's USC or Michigan or whoever. I have to tell you that I think that's short sighted because I was a huge Iowa fan growing up, but it was Tom Osborne alone who changed my mind about where to go to school. It wasn't that the communications or journalism school was better at Nebraska than Iowa's. It was one person who I felt comfortable with the overall culture and direction of Nebraska.


I do think that kids make choices based on the head coach; his personality, how he treats people, how he governs. That's really, really important. That's why I feel strongly about coaches being allowed to maneuver, to change jobs, make commitments to kids and then leave, but face no repercussions. Yet a student-athlete who goes to a particular school because of a relationship with a head coach and then that head coach leaves, that student-athlete deserves the ability to this one time go wherever they please without having to sit out a year.

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