Florida Gators football mailbag: Missouri Tigers week

The Florida Gators football team make their longest road trip of the year to take on the Missouri Tigers this Saturday. Before toe meets leather we answer questions from our members in anticipation of the big game on Saturday.

Gatorace: If Fullwood is a no go, who takes his spot in the rotation?

If Ahmad Fulwood can’t go this week I don’t see the position changing much. Demarcus Robinson, Antonio Callaway, Brandon Powell, Jake McGee and DeAndre Goolsby are still the primary receiving targets. Kelvin Taylor has more receptions this year than Ahmad Fulwood, so missing him this week isn’t exactly going to change the offensive game plan or production much.

Gopgator: Why does God continue to bless the South?

1. Sundresses.
2. Cowboy boots.
3. All of the Above.
Please carefully consider before answering.

Because He loves us and wants us to be happy.

Gatorstuckey: Last week I asked about our O-Line performance against ole miss. How do you think the O-Line will perform against Mizzou’s D-Line. Who’s D-Line is better (Ole Miss vs. Mizzou)?

Ole Miss has the more talented and experienced defensive line for sure. While Missouri’s defensive line is young, they have played better than most expected this week but I belive that Ole Miss’ line is more talented.

That being said, it’s easy for an offensive line to get up when a guy like Robert Nkemdiche is coming in to town. You also have to give a lot of credit to Doug Nussmeier, Jim McElwian and Mike Summers for coming up with a good plan and scheme to make sure the offensive line would have success against Ole Miss and trust that they will again come up with a plan to combat the young, fast, talented defensive line of Missouri.


Andrewspivey: Nick are you still in love with Tennessee?


MrGator: Before the season most of us would have been elated at 9-3. But with a 5-0 start and a win over #3 Ole Miss it would seem that 9-3 (4-3 last 7 games) would be disappointing now. How do we rewrite our expectations for this team while still giving Mac a chance to “rebuild” this program?

I think this team is a lot like the Florida Gators baseball team from two years ago in that I believe that they have arrived a year early. This season Mac is playing with a roster of guys he didn’t recruit. He got them to buy in and he and the staff are doing an incredible job of playing to their strengths, but they’re not his guys, per say.

Based on the start, finishing 4-3 over the rest of the season would be thought of as a major disappointment. When you look at how Florida has played this season, you assume at least three more wins (South Carolina, FAU, Vanderbilt) with games against Missouri, LSU, Georgia and Florida State left. To me, LSU is the big challenge there and the other games are very winnable.

Before the season started I thought this was a 6-to-8 win football team but after the start they’ve had, less than nine wins might be a little deflating.

In no way would I consider that a failure though.

Heights112: Schematically, do you see the Gators using the same gameplan against Missouri as Ole Miss? Missouri churns out great d-lines every year and have owned the Gators the last 2 years.

Florida’s offensive gameplan is more about trying to get their guys in positions to be successful than what the other team is doing. So, right now, Florida’s offensive line can’t block for a 5 or 7 step drop. Florida doesn’t ask them to do that then. Getting the ball out quickly is taking pressure off of the line and also allows Grier to get some quick completions under his belt and gain early confidence.

GatorDon: What are you hearing from either coaches or players about avoiding swelled heads following the big win against Ole Miss?

The team is very focused. I’ve been told from people close to the team that the older players have been waiting for this game. They were embarrassed by their performance in the past two years and they feel like this is their chance for payback.

Jim McElwain said on his Thursday radio show that the team showed up to their Sunday night meal and the guys had already turned the page to Missouri less than 24 hours after the game.

GatorDon: Any changes to the starting lineup this week?

I don’t expect anything significant.

GatorDon: What are considered to be Mizzou’s weaknesses and strengths?

Missouri strength has been their defense, starting with the line. Their offense simply isn’t good. They are dead last in the league in total offense and rushing offense, 12th in scoring offense and 10th in passing offense.

Missouri fans were encouraged by freshman Drew Lock’s first start last week. He completed 21-of-28 (75%) of his pass attempts for 136 yards and two touchdowns. However, that came against a South Carolina defense that ranks dead last in the SEC in scoring defense, 9th in rushing defense, 12th in passing defense and total defense. To put it nicely, the Gamecocks are a dumpster fire on the football field and Lock will face an actual defense when Florida comes to town this weekend.

Lock and Missouri fans should be encouraged that a freshman had a good performance in his first collegiate start, but the Florida Gators defense will be the toughest Lock plays all year and they should give him an actual welcome to the SEC this Saturday.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC