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Tide adjusting to Gators' new pro-style offense

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dont'a Hightower isn't quite sure what to make of the new Florida offense, where the Gators are leading the league in rushing and have the tailbacks to thank for it.

"These last couple of years, you haven't seen too many guys come out and put up big numbers like that that's not Tim Tebow or Percy Harvin from Florida," said Hightower, a linebacker for No. 3 Alabama.

As Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says, that's the "old Florida." Now, the 12th-ranked Gators are running a pro-style offense under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis going into Saturday's meeting in Gainesville with the staple being handoffs to tailbacks Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.

Now Florida's methods more closely resemble the offense Alabama defenders are used to seeing: Their own. Both have two running backs in the top 10 in the SEC with quarterbacks ranked fifth (Alabama's AJ McCarron) and sixth (Florida's John Brantley) in passing.

Most of the big plays have come on the ground for both teams.

Saban said the Gators are still dangerous in space and on perimeter runs and create difficult matchups.

"They're not the typical zone option, sort of spread, Mississippi State, old Florida," he said. "It's not that. But they do a great job of featuring the talent and the players that they have and what they do well."

SEC welcomes aggies: Commissioner Mike Slive welcomed Texas A&M as the 13th SEC member and said he doesn't expect to add another team before the Aggies begin play next season.

Extra point controversy: Mid-American commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said there's no way to grant Toledo's request to take away Syracuse's overtime win despite a blown call on an extra point. Syracuse coach Doug Marrone acknowledged the error by Big East officials, "but as far as we're concerned here, we've moved on to the next opponent."

Arkansas: Defensive end Tenarius Wright is out 4-6 weeks with a broken arm.

Connecticut: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy confirmed that UConn is interested in joining the ACC if it expands to 16 teams. Malloy said he no longer expects the ACC to act quickly after adding Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East this month.

Nebraska: Two-time first-team All-Big 12 defensive tackle Jared Crick recovered from a head injury and is ready to face Wisconsin on Saturday.

Washington: Hau'oli Jamora, the team's best pass-rushing end, is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Basketball: Michigan guard Jordan Dumars, the son of Pistons president Joe Dumars who transferred from USF during the 2009-10 season, is leaving the team. He didn't play a game at Michigan because of knee and shoulder injuries. … Acclaimed Ohio State recruit LaQuinton Ross, a forward from Jackson, Miss., will not play for the Buckeyes after the NCAA ruled he had not qualified academically. … Arizona's Kevin Parrom was shot in the left hand and right knee during a dispute Saturday while visiting family in New York. He should be okay, the university and police said. No arrests have been made.

Tide adjusting to Gators' new pro-style offense 09/26/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 26, 2011 10:12pm]
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