Florida Gators football will do its best on Saturday to ensure its first loss of the season does not snowball into a second.
Here’s what you need to know and how you can watch Florida-Vanderbilt.
Location: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee [Capacity: 40,550]
Weather: 70°F (feels like 70°F), 10 percent chance of rain, winds WSW at 7 mph
Time: 12 p.m. EST
TV: SEC Network (Tom Hart, Andre Ware, Cole Cubelic)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|No. 23 Florida Gators||Vanderbilt Commodores|
|Head Coach||Jim McElwain||Derek Mason|
|Record||3-1 (1-1 SEC)||2-2 (0-1 SEC)|
Three things to know
1. The Gators are two-faced: It has really become a question of which Florida team is going to show up in any given week. Will it be the incredibly disciplined version that grinds out some points and completely shuts down the opposing offense, or the lackadaisical edition that commits careless penalties, has mental lapses defensively and fails to figure out how to move the ball until it’s almost too late? Consistency has been a massive issue for the Gators over the last few years, and it has not been fixed as of yet by McElwain. Let’s see if the Tennessee loss woke Florida up for a change.
2. Not so special teams: A cornerstone for Florida in its most successful seasons, special teams has been anything but over the last few years. Yes, the Gators now appear to have a kicker to go along with one of the best punters in college football. But the coverage units are still an issue, tackling is a problem and UF has gone from a dominant blocking and return unit to one that can’t seem to do either. It’s often forgotten that there are three — not two — phases to a football game. And while Florida does have some kicking talent, it continues to struggle to find the dominance it once possessed in this incredibly important area.
3. DB-yuck: Last Saturday’s loss was the fault of the entire team, not just the Gators’ secondary, but the unit still deserves its fair share of blame. Coverages were blown left and right over the final 30 minutes as the Vols carved up what was supposed to be the best defensive backfield in the nation. Well, how’s this for a break? Vanderbilt’s passing offense is ranked 111th nationally. Florida should have an absolute field day.
Pick and analysis
Spread: Florida -10 | O/U: 42
As you can tell (see the records below), it’s been a rough start to the year trying to figure out this team from one game to the next. So let’s skip the analysis. Vanderbilt scored 10 points against South Carolina and seven against Georgia Tech. Florida’s averaged 35 over its last three games, including against two SEC opponents. The Gators and the under are the proper calls here, whether they hit or not.
2016 records: ATS picks 1-3 | O/U picks 1-3
Injuries and absences
Probable (2): CB Quincy Wilson (leg), DE Jordan Sherit (leg)
Questionable (5): QB Luke Del Rio (knee), RG Tyler Jordan (eye), LB Daniel McMillian (ankle), LB Kylan Johnson (leg), CB Chris Williamson (knee)
Out (4): DT Joey Ivie (thumb), LB Jeremiah Moon (thumb), DB Quincy Lenton (foot), WR Kalif Jackson (knee)
Out for the season (3): WR Dre Massey (knee), OL Antonio Riles (knee), DB C.J. McWilliams (undisclosed)
» Florida finished September 3-1 and are now 42-5 in the month since 2005.
» UF is 37-10-2 all-time against Vanderbilt and 17-7-1 in Nashville. The Gators have won 24 of the last 25 meetings with Commodores.
» The 16 points scored in the 2015 meeting between these teams was the fourth-fewest in a rivalry dating back to 1945.
» Florida’s defense has been a hallmark of the program; UF is 207-11 since 1990 when an opponent scores 21 points or fewer in a contest, including 12-0 under McElwain.
» Also under McElwain, the Gators are 12-0 against unranked opponents and 1-5 against ranked opponents. The Gators are 11-0 when outrushing an opponent and 10-1 when leading at half.
» Florida owns the nation’s longest streak of returning either a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, doing so in 11 straight seasons. They has yet to accomplish that in 2016.
» UF has the second-most wins in the nation since 1990 (252).
Quote of the week
“Don’t go out and be someone you’re not. Go out and be you and do what you do. Don’t try to make more out of it than that. … No matter what you do in anything, there’s gonna be adversity. Now the key is: Do you allow your body language, your energy and everything shrink just because something isn’t going right? I mean, it’s sure simple to be excited when things are good. I think, reflecting back, learning from the past and learning from history — how conscious were you really taking care of details every day that make an impact on what occurred? [There] should be some guys looking in the mirror a little bit.” — McElwain on players knowing their role and moving forward together
Florida will be wearing white jerseys, orange pants and orange helmets on Saturday. The team captains, which change weekly, are responsible for choosing the uniforms ahead of each game.