Florida Gators defensive coordinator DJ Durkin met with the media Wednesday for his weekly press conference. Florida’s defense is looking to improve up on defensive woes that have been prevalent all season. Florida is ranked 13th in total defense, giving up an average of 415.7 yards per game. The Gators face a Tennessee offense that ranks 13th in the league in total offense, averaging 378.0 yards a game.
Here’s some of what Durkin had to say during Wednesday’s conference.
The defensive changes with Leon Orr out Saturday (knee):
“Jonathan Bullard will play some more inside. He’s been playing both for us and will get some more reps inside. Joey Ivie will get some more reps now inside. He’s been rotating and playing as well. That will give Bryan Cox some more reps outside at end. So we have a healthy rotation of guys up front some of those guys now will play some more snaps than they’ve been playing. But they’ve all been playing, so it won’t be anyone new out there, just some guys getting more reps.”
Florida’s plans if linebacker Mike Taylor is limited (knee) during the game:
“If Mike is limited we’ve inside pretty much going with a four-man rotation with Mike, Antonio, Neiron and Jarrad Davis and it will be a three-man rotation. And Alex Anzalone and Daniel McMillian, they’ll be ready to go too and possibly get some time.”
The defense against Alabama:
“I mean, the positives coming out of it, I thought we played well up front for the first three quarters and then we got worn down. We played a lot of snaps due to us not getting off the field on third down. We handled them pretty well up front in terms of our defensive line, our front seven. I thought that was good. The takeaways were good as well, obviously, scoring and then setting up a couple of scores. That’s something we talk a bunch about and work on.”
The Gators’ young defense:
“I think it’s a matter of experience. From my standpoint as a coach and a coaching staff, we’ve got to do a better job of making things a little simpler for them and making sure that doesn’t happen. I know we’re talented enough. We’ve got guys that are willing and ready to compete. We need to make sure we’re in the right spots. We play some good teams and some guys are going to make some plays against us. That’s fine, that’s always been the case, but we’ll win more of those than we’ll lose if we’re there, in the spot to make the play.”
The importance of a consistent pass rush:
“Obviously pass rush is the best pass coverage and affecting the quarterback and getting pressure on him. I think with everything in our defense, there’s room for improvement and ways to get better. To me, that hasn’t been the major issue. It’s been us letting guys run free and getting beat in certain coverages. Yeah, we need to help out in the front and we talked a bunch about that and that’s their part. We’re going to do some things whether it’s three-, four-man or pressure, we’re going to mix it up and do different ways. But we’ve got to make ourselves whole on the back end and make sure we’re covering down.”
Neiron Ball’s season:
“I thought he’s played really well and consistent for us all year long. At Alabama he played well, he did some things we would have liked to have done differently or better. Like a lot of guys he played a lot of snaps in that game because he was playing both in our regular package and our nickel package so it equalled a lot of snaps for him, so some of those mistakes he made or breakdowns in the game were a matter of him being out there that long. But he has to be able to do that and again he’ll play a lot of snaps this coming Saturday. Overall Neiron has played really consistent for us and I’m happy for him.”