Mizzou Mailbag: Can Gators right the ship?

The No. 22 ranked Gators travel to Missouri this week to take on the SEC East leading No. 14 ranked Tigers. Before the Gators try to tackle the Tigers and straighten their ship towards Atlanta, I’ll tackle your burning questions in this week’s football mailbag. It’s take two vs. the Tigers and Florida is looking to avenge last week’s loss.

Is Kelvin Taylor ready for all the responsibilities as a running back or will it pretty much be handed off to him every time he’s in the backfield? – Gator_Nica

Ready or not it’s Taylor time in Gainesville. You can’t put Taylor in to only hand him the ball, the offense will become predictable and whether he’s ready or not he will have to do the little things on Saturday. He will be asked to pass block and should be asked to catch some passes out of the backfield as well.

How are the freshman wide receivers developing? Can we expect to see more balls thrown to Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood or is what we’ve seen what we should expect moving forward? – Philip214

Their roles have been increasing each game. Fulwood had a huge catch for a first down against LSU and the more Florida plays in “00” and “10” personnel, the more opportunities and looks they will get. I think you’ll see more involvement the rest of the season.

Pease mentioned that they might go to a 6-7 man protection on offense. Do you think we will? What would the personnel be on that type of protection? Any chance that helps or does it just make us more conservative? – Kennystyle

That personnel is “12” (1RB, 2TE, 2WR), “22” (2RB, 2TE, 1WR) and “21” (2RB, 1 TE, 2WR).

Theoretically it should help but Tevin Westbrook and Clay Burton are inconsistent blockers at best and when Florida brings in extra linemen (Ian Silberman, Trip Thurman, Kyle Koehne) they are getting beat consistently. When you take receivers off the field,  fill it with extra linemen and tight ends who have combined for two receptions this season it gives you an ultra-conservative offense. Having just two wide receivers on the field can work, but with the way that the passing game has looked you could theoretically play man-coverage with a single safety over the top and load eight men in the box.

Who will play SAM LB with Powell out? – OI2ange

Neiron Ball and Darrin Kitchens.

How good is Missouri’s offensive line? And can Florida stop the run? – Fdelat1

Missouri’s offensive line has been banged up this season. Their game against Georgia last week was the first time all five starters played from start to finish. They gave up four sacks and they are ranked 11th in the SEC in sacks allowed. Florida should be able to get to the quarterback and rattle Maty Mauk in his first career start.

Florida is really missing Dominique Easley against the run. They should be able to stop the run but I also thought they would be able to slow LSU’s run game down and that didn’t even come close to happening.

Thanks for joining us in the mailbag! Stay tuned next week for more — feel free to submit your questions on our BullGator Den forum.

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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