For the first time all season the Florida defense showed a chink in their armor. The Gators were gashed on the ground to the tune of 175-yards in Baton Rouge – the most rushing yards Florida has given up all season and more yards than they gave up in all three games that Dominique Easley played in.
Following the loss to LSU the team’s mantra has been that all their goals are still in front of them and on the table. A trip to Atlanta is still a real possibility but that road now goes through Colombia. Not Columbia, South Carolina like most people prognosticated before the season but rather Columbia, Missouri.
D.J. Durkin spoke today about how Florida can shore up things against the run and to preview Florida’s critical matchup against the undefeated Missouri Tigers.
Stopping the run
- Stopping the run begins at the line of scrimmage and the Gators did not take care of business up front against LSU.
“We weren’t winning at the line of scrimmage. That leads the linebackers not fitting right all the time. We’ve been able to do that in every game until that point. Obviously, that’s an emphasis for us every week. We weren’t able to do that in the game.”
- Everything in football is connected. So while it’s easy to point out that the linebackers didn’t have a good game, Durkin pointed out that winning the line of scrimmage is critical for the linebackers to be able to do their jobs.
- Durkin also said that he wasn’t disappointed with the pass rush against LSU as much as he was disappointed with how the team was unable to stop LSU on first down and create third-and-long situations.
- For the defense to get better at stopping the run they need to both play more physically and remain disciplined in their gap assignments.
“Yeah, a combination of all that. They got some movement early on on our guys. Then sometimes you try to compensate for that and do your own thing and then all of a sudden you get guys out of gaps. Anytime you have that in a game there’s a trickle effect how they carries on for the rest of the game.”
Will Ronald Powell play this week?
- On the weekly SEC teleconference right before Durkin’s press conference, Will Muschamp said that Ronald Powell hasn’t practiced all week. Durkin is confident in the players behind Powell.
“I think we’ve got a good healthy mix of guys to rotate up front and at his position. We’ll continue to do that. That’s part of the reason we do it. Even when everyone is healthy we rotate guys and play a lot of guys for that reason.”
- Missouri has a very unique group of wide receievrs who are not only big, but fast as well. It will provide a tough challenge for the Florida secondary this week.
“I think the first thing you look at is their stature. They’re long guys. They’re big guys. They run well. You know it’s kind of like they’ve got a prototype they recruit to. Their staff has done a great job. They’ve been there a while together, so you know, they recruit to what they do, their system. Those guys are all rangy guys. They can run. They’re big. They’re obviously a tough matchup for anyone.”
- Missouri’s starting quarterback James Franklin won’t play this week after separating his shoulder against Georgia. Even with a new quarterback, the defense is preparing for the same offense that they have seen from Missouri all season.
“You know, I don’t know how much it will change or be different, obviously, it’s a different player doing it, but I think it’s kind of they have their system and this it what they do and he has great players around him.”
- This will be the first time that Florida has traveled to Missouri. Durkin said that the players could draw back to playing at College Station for the first time last season.
- Missouri has scored 40 points in every game but one this season and that is something that really stands out to Durkin.
“They’ve scored over 40 points in every game I think except one and that was 38 I think. So they’ve done it and put up the points and our guys know the challenge they have ahead of them. I think they’re excited for the challenge and we’ll get down there to a new stadium and we’re excited about that.”