The Gators take their second-ranked defense into the ever-hostile confines of commonly Death Valley to face 10th-ranked (AP) LSU Saturday at 3:30 p.m (CBS TV). Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media Wednesday to discuss Florida’s upcoming matchup.
- The Tigers offense has had a surge in the passing game with new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Durkin still expects a physical running attack from the Tigers despite their newfound aerial attack.
- Speaking about the LSU rushing attack, Durkin said that LSU’s ability to rotate four backs keeps them fresh throughout the game and that is the biggest hurdle the team will face against the run.
The challenge is you’ve got a fresh guy in there running the ball and you’ve got to wrap him up and tackle.”
- Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has already surpassed his touchdown total from last season in just five games (15 this year; 12 last). Durkin sees a veteran quarterback who is commanding the offense and is very comfortable in the offensive scheme.
He’s been quick on his reads. His eyes are where they need to be and he’s delivering the ball. Guy has got a really talented arm, strong arm, and he can make all the throws. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
- Durkin has stressed the importance of getting to the quarterback, putting pressure on and hitting him all season but it will be especially important early on in the game to get to a quarterback who is playing with a lot of confidence.
- For the most part, the Gator defense has started games slowly this season. Durkin explained why today.
Some of it with our guys being so amped up early sometimes, our eyes aren’t where we need to be right away or focused where they need to be and it’s kinda like, ‘Get that hit under you and settle down a little bit.’ We’ve talked a bunch about that. Teams are doing new things to us early on, too. They’re scheming things up and showing us different looks, and that’s part of it, too.
Personal Foul Penalties
- The Gators were hit with four personal fouls in the second half against Arkansas. Durkin said there is a difference between an aggressive penalty and a dumb one and the staff handles each differently.
Aggressive penalties we can handle, we can take. For lack of a better term, dumb penalties, penalties that are totally avoidable those are the ones we can’t have and need to correct, and we deal with pretty matter-of-factly and harshly. Some of those in that game those were close calls. Our guys we definitely don’t want to slow them down. We want them playing aggressive.”
- Durkin said that all four of the penalties against the defense were aggressive penalties and he believes the players were just being aggressive and trying to make a play.
Defensive Notes and Quick Hitters
- Dominique Easley has been around the team a lot. Durkin reported that Easley’s spirits are back and has confidence that Easley will bounce back from his injury.
- Will Muschamp said on the SEC teleconference that Marcus Roberson would be “full-go” this week but Durkin would only say that Roberson continues to rehab and is getting “better and better.”
- Durkin also wouldn’t say if Roberson would return to his starting role if he is in fact healthy and available this week.
- The staff has spoken to the team about what to expect this Saturday playing in such a hostile environment.
- Durkin spoke about all of the defensive tackles that have filled in for Dominique Easley but he singled out one of them.
Those guys have played well. I think you look at a guy like Darious Cummings. He’s gotten more snaps now, and he’s played really well. I think he’s been a really productive guy. He’s had a couple of really good games in a row for us.”
- Durkin said that “it’s possible” that Jay-nard Bostwick will redshirt but that he would also be the first freshman to see playing time if the team needed someone at tackle.
- Antonio Morrison has been getting heckled some when the Gators hit the road. Durkin said that it’s something the coaching staff prepared him for before the season began.