Three days out from Saturday’s contest against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Florida Gators received news they’ll have one less player to prepare for. Georgia junior running back Todd Gurley will miss the next two games as he completes a four-game suspension for accepting more than $3,000 for autographs over the last two years. In Gurley’s absence, freshman Nick Chubb has played well, running for 602 yards and five touchdowns.
No matter the running back, defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and the Gators will have their hands full in Jacksonville.
Durkin met with the media Wednesday for his weekly press conference. Here is some of what he had to say.
Gurley’s absence affecting the offense:
“No. Not really. They still run the same offense. They’re scheme really hasn’t changed with him being out. Obviously, we’ve had the benefit of seeing some games with him out. They’ve got some really good running backs besides him. Obviously, he’s a great player, but they have some
other really talented running backs they can do a lot of the same things he does. They run the offense the same way.”
Similarities between the two backs:
“Yeah. He’s a very physical runner. He finishes runs. He’s got some good top end speed. He’s hit some big runs, and they use him out of the backfield, too. Just like they did with Gurley. Like I said he’s very talented. I see them doing the same things whether they have him or
Players wanting to play against Gurley:
“Yeah, I just think, our guys are great competitors. Although some things haven’t gone the way we’d like, that doesn’t change your makeup of what’s inside. To play at a program like this and coach at a program like this and be involved with that, you’ve got to be a highly competitive person. Our guys are that way. You always want to see how you measure up against the best, whatever you’re talking about, whether it’s team or player or whatever it might be.”
Hutson Mason’s play:
“I think he handles their offense well. He has been involved in that offense, although not as the starter, for quite some time. You can tell he understands what they’re trying to get done. He has good command of what’s going on. He has been very accurate with his passes. He makes good decisions, they’ve protected the ball well. I think they’re comfortable, and you can see he’s comfortable in what they’re doing offensively in how he functions.”
The various offensive sets Georgia runs:
“Their two-back offense is very similar to Alabama or even LSU. The thing they do is they mix it up. They’re a lot of one-back, too. It’s kind of split down the middle. So, you’ve got to prepare for both. They run and pass the ball out of two-back and one-back. They do enough to keep you off balance and not get a bead on what they’re doing based on personnel. Like I said, with their quarterback, although playing experience wide he hasn’t been playing for years, he’s been in that offense for years. And they do a good job of checking plays at the line of scrimmage and getting out of plays that might be a bad play based on how you line up to it. That’s a challenge for us, to make sure we’re executing.”
Players having the same fight:
“Oh yeah, that’s not going to change with our guys. That’s their makeup and how they are. They’re going to come out and keep swinging. I think our guys played really hard in the last game, did some things very well. Obviously some things didn’t go our way in that game, but they bounced back. They’re resilient. There’s not discouragement. We’ve had two really good weeks of practice. They know what this game means and how big this game is no matter what’s going on outside of it. Our guys are ready to go.”
The atmosphere of Florida-Georgia:
“It’s amazing. It’s not like anything else that I’ve been a part of. I think if your juices don’t get flowing when you come over that bridge, in the early afternoon there before the game, I don’t know what would make that happen. So the guys that have played in the game know that and understand that, and there’s obviously some young guys that haven’t and they’re looking forward to it. I think it’s one of the great games in all of college football. I think there’s a lot of rivalry games you could point to, this has got to be one of them. And it’s always a great game, great battle on both sides. I expect this to be the same.”