Florida Gators Football: DJ Durkin Notebook

DJ Durkin met with the media Wednesday for his weekly press conference. Saturday the Gators will face South Carolina and a powerful Gamecock offense. South Carolina is fifth in the SEC in total offense, and second in the conference in pass offense. Through the air, the Gamecocks have averaged 294.6 yards per game and 23 touchdowns.

The Gators defense is fourth in the SEC in total defense, allowing 344 yards per game and 18 touchdowns. Florida’s 34-10 win over Vanderbilt last week was the fewest amount of points allowed since a 10-9 victory over Tennessee October 4.

Here is some of what Durkin had to say:

The challenges in facing the South Carolina offense:

“Yeah, I mean, they’re very balanced in what they do, I mean, they run the ball extremely well and they throw it extremely well too, so, I think anytime you’re facing a team that’s that balanced, you know, it’s hard to make them one dimensional, you always want to kind of do that when you’re facing an offense and, you know, they make that hard to do. I think, you know, they’re very good at what they do, they kind of… they do what they do, they have built-in answers, it’s a system they’ve run there for a while, and so, you know, they make adjustments very well throughout a game.”

Running various packages against South Carolina:

“It’s gonna be both I mean both it won’t be a game we’re just playing all Nickel or regular or whatever it is we gotta be able to do both and kinda match what they’re doing offensively cuz they have like I said they have answers for both. They’ll get in two backs and run the ball they’ll get in one back two tight ends and run it and they run it really well they do a great job up front of getting a hat on a hat there’s not many missed assignments in their run game so they block up the box and they’ve got good backs back there carrying the ball.”

The emergence of cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson:

“I think it’s kind of the progression of a player. Learning what it takes to prepare, getting better, seeing more things, getting more experience. I mean, anytime you got a young player like that, week-to-week, they should be improving each week or there’s something wrong with what they’re doing or how we’re coaching them. So, I think those guys continue to improve. They have a better understanding of what it takes to prepare yourself for a game each week. There’s lot that goes in to it. They’re still learning and growing, it’s not as consistent as you’d like it to be yet but it’s definitely improving.”

Any specific players making up for Leon Orr’s snaps:

“No, not really. We’ve had to deal with that issue already this season through injury and that sort of thing. I think we have a healthy rotation of guys up front that we’ve been rolling, whether we’re all healthy, all there or not. I just think some of those guys will have to play more snaps now than what they would have previously. They’re fine with that. Our front has played well and responded to that challenge throughout the season. I think they’ll do the same.”

Any surprises in the progression of the pass rush:

“I wouldn’t say surprised. I think the guys that are doing things well for us, we kind of knew or at least saw that in them. We just obviously need to prove that on game day. I’m proud of the fact that those guys have been doing that. We’ve got to continue to get better and better with that. We still got to, at times, in our four-man pass rush do a better job at winning our one-on-ones and getting to the quarterback, but overall those guys I like their approach. They’ve been relentless about it. When someone’s number gets called to get in there and go do it, they do a good job with it.”

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Ryan Randall
From Melbourne, Florida, Ryan has lived in Florida since he was three, becoming a sports fan around that age. His passion for journalism rivals his love of sports. Shortly out of high school he covered prep and community sports for his hometown paper in Brevard Country, before moving to Gainesville, where he covered the Gators in the pros as well as prep sports for a few publications. A Telecommunications major at UF, Ryan now interns at Gator Country and ecstatic to showcase his talents for the publication. When not working on stories, Ryan enjoys playing basketball, music, as well as art. Follow Ryan at @_RyanRandall_