Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt Gameday Preview

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 66°F, sunny, winds NNE at 13 mph
Time: 12:21 p.m. (ET)

TV: SEC Network
SiriusXM: 220/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: James Franklin
Record: 4-4 (2-4) Record: 4-4 (1-4)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -13.5; O/U 44.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 12:21 p.m.

Story: Gators DE Sharrif Floyd striving to improve

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Vanderbilt 33-9-2 and holds an 18-1-1 advantage in games played in Gainesville, FL. UF is outscoring VU nearly two-to-one (1,182-606) in those contests.
» The Gators have won 20-straight against the Commodores dating back to 1988.
» Florida has not lost to Vanderbilt in Gainesville since their first meeting in 1945. However, the two teams played a two-overtime contest that ended 49-42 in 2005.
» This will be just the third time since 1967 that UF is not ranked going into the game.
» Florida is last in the nation in penalties, committing 75 through the first eight games. The Gators have lost/given up 567 yards due to those miscues. Those numbers average out to Florida committing 9.38 penalties per game for 70.88 yards.
» UF has not played in The Swamp since Oct. 1.
» The Gators are undefeated this season against unranked teams and are also 4-0 when out-rushing their opponent in a game; however, Florida is winless against ranked teams and 0-4 when being out-rushed by their opponent.
» Vanderbilt has held all seven FBS teams they’ve faced under their season rushing average to the tune of nearly 80 fewer yards per game.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-17. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of eight games.
» The Commodores have scored 202 points this year, just two fewer than during their entire 2010 campaign and six more than they posted in all of 2009.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (33 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last four games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen and three redshirt freshmen; 15 total have seen action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 22 of 32 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 17 of those quarters.
» Florida is No. 14 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (297.3 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 22 nationally and fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (19.5 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.5 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and seventh nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is seventh in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 29.1 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (312) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (73) since 2008.
» Vanderbilt’s secondary is second in the SEC and tied for fourth nationally with 15 interceptions; however, VU has picked off just one ball in the last four games.
» The Gators lead the Commodores in three of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Vanderbilt in national averages of passing yards 186.4-152.6 (95th-108th), points scored 26.0-25.3 (73rd-80th) and points against 19.5-22.8 (22nd-38th), while VU leads UF in rushing yards 167.6-151.4 (50th-66th). The teams each fell to a pair of comment opponents – Alabama and Georgia. The Gators lost those games 38-10 and 24-20, while the Commodores dropped their matches 34-0 and 33-28.

LAST TIME OUT

Riding momentum from a 34-31 overtime win against Georgia in 2010, Florida upended Vanderbilt 55-14 in Nashville, TN last year. Mike Gillislee ran for a touchdown midway through the first quarter, but the Gators blew open the game after that, scoring five touchdowns in the second quarter and leading 41-0 at halftime. Deonte Thompson, Chris Rainey and Frankie Hammond, Jr. each had long scoring receptions, Terron Sanders returned a fumble for a touchdown, and Solomon Patton returned a blocked kick for another score. Florida accounted for 277 yards of offense through the air and 203 on the ground while holding Vanderbilt to 63 and 46 yards, respectively.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators will be featured in a separate segment on the main portion of the broadcast beginning at 10 a.m. ESPN will take a look at why Florida is struggling and what is wrong with the team this year. The game will also be featured in the pick segment; expect one or two of the guys at the table to choose Vanderbilt. Former head coach Urban Meyer will also be on-site in Tuscaloosa, AL working during the program.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Probable/Questionable: Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (ankle), redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder), redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (leg), junior RB Mike Gillislee (ankle), sophomore CB Cody Riggs (wrist)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (#12)…who has completed 57.4 percent of his passes (78-of-136) this season for 1,187 yards and six touchdowns but also threw three interceptions including one returned for a score. Brantley had missed 10 quarters of action after injuring his ankle against Alabama but returned with limited health and mobility last week against Georgia.
» Redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 831 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 15.3 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list with mirror image 65-yard touchdowns against Alabama and LSU. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 247 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first eight games. Additionally, his 24.7 yards per catch is the highest average in the SEC and second nationally.
» Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (#11)…who had four receptions for a career-high 69 yards last week against Georgia. He also caught just the second receiving touchdown of his career Saturday – his first this season.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is tied for second on the team in tackles (48) and at one point created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT). His 12 tackles against LSU three weeks ago marked a career high, and his 3.5 tackles for loss this season is fourth-best on the team.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (25 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 9.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks through the first eight games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-3 on the team in tackles. Bostic (60) and Jenkins (46) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has six tackles for a loss and three sacks while the latter has one sack and five pass breakups on the year.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing eight games one year ago with an injured back. He is 15-for-16 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 51) and is perfect with 19 extra points, leading the Gators with 64 points scored this season. Sturgis holds the national lead with 15 field goals made but missed last week’s game with a leg injury.

VANDERBILT
» QB Jordan Rodgers (#11)…who has started the last four games for the Commodores after beginning the season as a backup. Rodgers, the brother of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, has rushed for 241 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. He’s 25/54 passing against Vanderbilt’s last two opponents as well, tossing a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions.
» RB Zac Stacy (#2)…who leads the Commodores in rushing with 97 carries for 707 yards (7.3 average) with six rushing touchdowns this season. Stacy is eighth nationally in yards per carry and the No. 4 rusher in the SEC.
» Defensive linemen Tim Fugger (#42) and Rob Lohr (#84)…who are leading Vanderbilt defensively by combining for 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
» DB Casey Hayward (#19)…who is tied for fourth nationally with five interceptions and is the SEC’s active leader with 13 picks. Hayward is one of 15 semifinalists for the Thrope Award given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

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Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, sunny, winds NNW at 13 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (22) GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 5-2 (4-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 48.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Story: Gators QB John Brantley remains on schedule
Notes: Florida discusses Georgia rivalry week

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida 46-40-2 and holds a 40-37-1 advantage in games played in Jacksonville, FL. However, the Gators are on a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs and also hold records of 8-2 in the last 10 match-ups and 18-3 dating back to 1990.
» Florida’s victory over Georgia in 2010 (34-31) marked the first time in the history of the series that a game went into overtime. Neither UF nor UGA was ranked in that contest for the first time since 1979.
» For the first time in series history, both the Gators and Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game coming off of a bye week. Florida took a three-game losing streak into the off week, while Georgia had won five consecutive games before getting a week of rest.
» The Bulldogs are 12-4 under Richt following a bye week.
» Richt is 2-8 against UF since taking over as head coach of UGA.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the eighth time in his coaching career; he is 3-4 in the prior seven contests. As a player with the Bulldogs from 1991-94, Muschamp’s teams were 0-4 against the Gators.
» Florida is undefeated this season when out-rushing their opponent or leading at the half; however, UF is winless when tied/trailing at the half or being out-rushed.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of seven games.
» The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents 61-10 in the first quarter; Georgia’s defense has only allowed three first-quarter points to be scored this season.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (35 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last three games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen; 15 total freshmen have seen game action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 19 of 28 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 15 of those quarters.
» Turnover margin has also been a consistent issue for the Gators. Florida is -7 on the season and has given up the ball exactly that many times in their three losses.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in three weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed 11 sacks through seven games, making them second in the SEC in that category.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (289.1 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 16 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (18.9 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.4 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and sixth nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is fifth in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.5 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» Georgia is the only team in the SEC to score first in every game this season.
» The Gators and Bulldogs each lead in two of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Georgia in national averages of rushing yards 175.7-162.4 (41st-54th) and points against 18.9-20.4 (16th-27th), while UGA leads UF in passing yards 248.7-178.0 (47th-100th) and points scored 32.3-26.9 (36th-71st). The teams each defeated one common opponent – Tennessee – this season, with the Gators winning 33-23 in week three and the Bulldogs claiming victory 20-12 in week six.

LAST TIME OUT

The Florida-Georgia game one year ago was one for the ages, ending in overtime after Gators punter Chas Henry kicked a 37-yard field goal to claim a hard-fought victory. Florida led 21-7 at the half after scoring on three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Georgia fought back to tie the game 24-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter, but a 51-yard touchdown run by Trey Burton (his second score of the game) gave UF the late advantage. Aaron Murray’s 15-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green tied the game once again, sending it into overtime for the first time in series history. On the Bulldogs’ first overtime possession, Will Hill intercepted Murray and nearly returned it to end the game, falling just short of the goal line. The Gators took over and Henry iced the game, making up for a missed field goal earlier in the contest.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Bulldogs rivalry game will be featured in a separate segment about the series and will also be one of the games argued about during the pickets segment on Saturday’s broadcast at approximately 11:45 a.m.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

Read the remainder of OGGOA’s Gameday Preview including an injury report, players to keep an eye on and multiple preview videos…after the break!

Continue Reading » Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

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10/18: Muschamp’s Tuesday press conference

Head coach Will Muschamp meets with the media each week to wrap-up the previous Saturday’s game and look ahead to the Florida Gators next opponent. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from the availability.

AN APOLOGY FOR HIS LANGUAGE

Muschamp was caught by ESPN cameras on Saturday not only berating officials for what he perceived as a blown call on what was ruled a muffed punt by redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey but also using some foul language while doing so. He felt it was necessary to apologize for his language and did just that on Tuesday.

“I do want to apologize for my language on the sidelines the other night. That’s not something that’s going to be tolerated here at the University of Florida first of all by me and our program. That’s certainly not represented of what this program or this university is about,” he said, specifying that he was not apologizing for his intensity on the sideline.

“It’s the language. You got a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old at home and you got to go home and explain to them what you said. It’s not good and it’s not how we’re going to run our program. That’s it. As far as the sideline stuff is concerned, we’re going to be who we are. I’m just apologizing for the language, nothing else.”

OPENING STATEMENTS

“It’s tough to always have an open week after a loss – certainly after three. We really are a banged up football team. We really need to work on fundamentals and what we need to do up front on both sides of the ball. We’re searching for some answers offensively. Tuesday and Wednesday are fundamental days of really just working on us good-on-good, and then Thursday we will start our preps on Georgia as far as on the field. We start[ed] as a staff on Sunday. That’s kind of where we are and then Friday we’ll have a team lift and run them and then Sunday come back for a team dinner, some walkthroughs and some meetings as we move forward to Georgia.”

He also spoke about Florida’s next opponent on Oct. 29, Georgia.

“They have a talented football team with three seniors on the offensive line. Aaron Murray is a guy that can hurt you running and throwing; he’s completing over 60 percent of his passes. Isiah Crowell is a guy that has come in as a freshman and done a really nice job in their run game. Orson Charles is a very talented tight end, a guy that can stretch the field vertically, block at the point. Malcolm Mitchell is a freshman receiver that has been really good for them playing the X position. Defensively they have really improved from a year ago. They’re playing well on the defensive side of the ball.”

WEEKLY INJURY AND ABSENCE UPDATES

In addition to his statement about the health of redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley, Muschamp gave one general status update for a number of other players on the team who are banged up and were limited last week.

He said that the following Gators should practice at some point this week, most likely Wednesday or Thursday depending how their injuries are healing: sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (shoulder/neck), senior running back Jeff Demps (ankle), redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (strained knee), junior RB Mike Gillislee (ankle), redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) and redshirt senior left guard Dan Wenger (foot). “We’re hoping to get all of those guys this week for practice and certainly for the Georgia game,” he added.

POSITION-BY-POSITION EVALUATIONS

Muschamp took time Tuesday before answering any questions to provide a short evaluation of the team position-by-position.

Quarterback: Outside of Brantley, Muschamp said he was pleased with how freshmen Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett are progressing. “They both have natural leadership ability because of their presence. They’re both competitive,” he said. “They’re very well-liked on the team and very well respected on the team for a freshman, which is hard. It’s hard at that age to have the command and the respect and the presence, and I think both guys have that. They have the ‘it’ factor in my opinion. They have a lot of the intangibles you look for at that position. They certainly are guys that I am very pleased with, and I think the future is bright as far as those two young men are concerned.”

Offensive line: Muschamp said that redshirt junior right guard Jon Halapio has been the most consistent performer and that redshirt junior right tackle Matt Patchan has played great over the last two games. “Up front we need more consistent play in being able to run the football. We got to play better around the quarterback position regardless of who is playing,” he said. Muschamp added that others aside from those in the standard rotation are still competing for playing time but they have to show they deserve it in practice.

Wide receiver: “We need more playmaking ability outside and more consistent play,” Muschamp said. He noted that redshirt junior Frankie Hammond, Jr. was the most consistent pass catcher and Debose has “done some nice things” as far as making big plays vertically.

Running back: Aside from Rainey, Demps and Gillislee, Muschamp said he was pleased with freshman fullback Hunter Joyer’s freshman campaign. He also praised sophomore Trey Burton for succeeding in the package of plays that he has been given. “We’ve been able to move the football in the last two games using that package,” he said, “so we’ll continue to build on that.”

Defensive line: Muschamp praised redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard, sophomore DT Dominique Easley, sophomore defensive end Sharrif Floyd, redshirt junior DT Omar Hunter and senior DE William Green for all making improvements throughout the season. “Defensively I think we’ve taken some steps up front and played a little better,” he said. We’re not where we need to be, but I do feel good about the improvements we’ve made in the last three weeks as we head into the last five ballgames.”

Linebackers: He similarly praised redshirt junior Lerentee McCray and said the team would not be where it is from a defensive standpoint without junior Jon Bostic and redshirt sophomore Jelani Jenkins. “We need to develop some guys past those two to get more production from that position,” he said.

Secondary: The praise, of course, started with the position’s best player. “Matt Elam is having a solid year as we hit the half-way point. He’s paying very productive for us. We moved him to the nickel in the Auburn game because I saw a lot of the perimeter runs where they were very effective. We felt like we needed to put him in at a point of attack in the game, and he certainly was very effective,” Muschamp said. He added that freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson has been a pleasant surprise but that the unit has a long way to go. “We need to be more productive on the back end,” he said. “Let’s be realistic. We’ve played three teams in a row that have run the ball over 40 times, so we haven’t exactly been tested on the back end. We need to play better when those opportunities come up.”

Special teams: Muschamp said that Sturgis has been “outstanding” and has been kicking the ball well not only on field goals and extra points but for kickoffs, too. As far as freshman punter Kyle Christy, who earned his first start Saturday, Muschamp noted that “he’s a guy that can flip the field for us” and said he was “really pleased with how he punted last week.” He reiterated that the team has had no problems at punt returner until Saturday night but that he is going to look at other players to do the job in addition to Rainey, Debose, Hammond and sophomore WR Robert Clark.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On the team’s biggest flaw at this point: “Things that have really hurt our team obviously is turnover margin. We’re -7 – last in the SEC. We haven’t had a turnover defensively in the last three ball games. It’s something we emphasize and talk about. Obviously we’ve got to find different measures in order to create some positive momentum for our offense whether it’s in special teams or offense. Gaining possession of the ball is critical for us.”

» On improving the offense: “We’re looking for answers right now offensively. We’re working diligently as a staff to find what we can do to move the ball and score points. We certainly understand in the last three games we have not done that effectively enough. Regardless of the circumstances and the situation, we’ve got to find way to move the ball and score. That’s what we’re searching for at this point.”

» On the plan for the bye week: “This week for us is more focused on Florida and what we have got to do to get better. As we move forward in the open week here, we just need to make tremendous strides and improvements with our team, identify the weakness which we obviously have some and move forward with our guys. Our guys competed hard against Auburn. I thought they played hard and laid it on the line. We just came up short.”

» On if he thought about playing Georgia each year when taking the Florida job: “I’ve faced Georgia a lot before as a defensive coordinator. I enjoyed my time there, but I’ve worked at LSU, I’ve worked at Auburn in this league. I’ve worked for different coaches that are coaching at different universities. My loyalties reside with people, not places necessarily. Certainly my loyalty is here with the University of Florida.”

» On Driskel and Brissett possibly competing for three more years: “I wouldn’t necessarily want that to happen. Both guys are really good players and both guys deserve the opportunities that they have gotten. That’s something, as we work through the week, that we’ve got to manage. And there are no better hands to manage that then Charlie Weis’s, in my opinion. […] That’s something that we’re going to cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now we just need to get these guys the 50-50 reps for this week and continue to improve our football team moving on to Georgia.”

» On if playing Brissett changed his long-term plans at that position: “It doesn’t really alter anything.”

» On Christy stepping up into the starting punter role: “Kyle – from a leg-strength standpoint – has been the guy. It’s been an operations standpoint. He got his operation time down in being able to kick. Obviously he flipped the field and was a big difference in the game and for our team, that’s not something we necessarily have done well throughout the season up to this point.”

» On his own intensity on the sideline: “I don’t think it hurts anything. I can tell you that. I’m going to be who I am. That’s what I’ve said from the beginning.”

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Florida Gators at No. 24 Auburn Tigers Gameday

Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn, AL [Capacity: 87,451]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, clear, winds W at 4 mph
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (24) AUBURN TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Gene Chizik
Record: 4-2 (2-2) Record: 4-2 (2-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3; O/U 50.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. on the road.

Story: QB Brissett earns second start at Auburn
Notes: RB Gillislee to see increased workload, might start at Auburn

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Auburn leads the all-time series against Florida 42-38-2, and the Tigers have won consecutive contests against the Gators. However, Florida has a 7-3 record the last 10 times the teams have played, and Auburn has a 25-8-1 advantage in home games.
» Each of the last four games in the UF-AU series have been decided in the final minute; the Tigers have won three of those four contests.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 24-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of six games.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 16 juniors) as they do underclassmen (34 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» Muschamp was a former graduate assistant and defensive coordinator at Auburn. Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson played with the Tigers from 1999-02 and began his coaching career as a student and graduate assistant at AU.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last two weeks against two of the country’s best defenses.
» Though Florida is 20-for-22 (90.9 percent) in red zone conversions, the Gators have only scored touchdowns on 11 of those opportunities.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed six sacks through six games, making them second in the SEC team and 24th nationally allowing just one sack per contest.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in two weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» Florida’s pass defense is allowing just 176.0 yards per game, good for fourth in the SEC and 12th nationally.
» The Gators defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. Florida also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» UF’s defense is 12th in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 30.8 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (291.0 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 20 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (19.2 points per game).
» Auburn is 9-0 in games decided by four points or less (5-0 in SEC action) under Chizik and 19-2 when leading at halftime.
» Since 2000, the Tigers are 23-4 (.852) at home in night games.
» AU has an 11-game home winning streak.
» Florida leads Auburn in three of four major statistical categories. The Gators top the Tigers in national averages of passing yards 186.3-170.7 (98th-106th), point scored 30.3-27.8 (53rd-65th) and points against 19.2-29.2 (20th-79th), while Auburn leads Florida in rushing yards 204.0-194.0 (27th-30th). The teams both defeated Florida Atlantic at home this year with UF winning 41-3 and AU earning a 30-14 victory.

LAST TIME OUT

Florida and Auburn have not squared off since 2007, when a last-second 43-yard field goal by AU kicker Wes Bynum lead the Tigers to a 20-17 upset of the No. 4 Gators at home in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Auburn handed Florida its first loss of the season (and first loss in The Swamp under Urban Meyer) while simultaneously snapping UF’s 11-game winning streak. The Tigers jumped ahead early and led 14-0 at the half. By the time the third quarter ended, the Gators were still down by 14 points, 17-3. However, consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter – a pass from quarterback Tim Tebow to tight end Cornelius Ingram and a rushing score by Tebow – tied the game with just over seven minutes to play. Auburn got the ball back with 3:38 remaining and drove it 35 yards down the field on 10 plays to seal the victory with Bynum’s kick.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Tigers will only be featured as a mention and during the picks segment on Saturday’s broadcast from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Inactive: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg), sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (neck), redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett (#17)…who will start his second one again for injured redshirt senior John Brantley (#12). Brissett, who had not played a down in his college career until he was named the starter one week ago, went 8/14 for 94 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against LSU. Fellow freshman QB Jeff Driskel (#16) may also see time behind center. Driskel was the backup to Brantley all season but was unable to play last week due to an ankle injury.
» Junior running back Mike Gillislee (#23)…who will see extensive playing time against Auburn and may even earn a start. Gillislee led Florida in rushing last week and is third on the team with 242 yards and rushing touchdowns. He set career-highs in carries (11) and rushing yards (84) in separate games this season.
» Redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 712 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and 15.3 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list with mirror image 65-yard touchdowns in each of the last two weeks. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 219 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first six games.
» Sophomore RB Trey Burton (#8)…who took many direct snaps last week after primarily serving as a receiver and running back in the team’s first five games. Burton is being used to help fill the void at the quarterback position created by Brantley’s injury.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is tied for second on the team in tackles (34) and at one point created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT). His 12 tackles against LSU one week ago marked a career high.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (23 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 8.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks (Howard) through the first six games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-2 on the team in tackles. Bostic (42) and Jenkins (34) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has five tackles for a loss and three sacks while the latter has one sack and four pass breakups on the year.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing eight games one year ago with an injured back. He is 13-for-14 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 51) and is perfect with 19 extra points, leading the Gators with 58 points scored this season. Sturgis is tied for the national lead with 13 field goals made.

AUBURN
» RB Michael Dyer (#5)…who is one of the best backs in the nation with a propensity for making game-changing plays. Dyer is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has rushed for 679 yards with eight touchdowns this season. He has run for more than 110 yards in four of six games and has scored at least one touchdown in five of six contests.
» WR Emory Blake (#80)…who is the Tigers’ position leader in receptions (19), yards (333) and touchdowns (four). Blake caught a touchdown in each of Auburn’s first four games but was held to just three receptions for 16 yards last week at South Carolina.
» Defensive end Corey Lemonier (#55)…who has registered five tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble over the last three games. He is also the team’s leader in all three categories with seven, four and two, respectively.
» Punter Steven Clark (#30)…who leads the SEC and is T-1 nationally with 20 punts downed inside the 20-yard-line this season. Clark is averaging 39.7 net yards per punt.
» QB Barrett Trotter (#14)…who started hot but has struggled as of late for the Tigers. After combining for five touchdowns and one interception in the first two games of the season, Trotter has thrown four scores and five picks in the last four contests. He has not topped 200 yards passing since the team’s season opener against Utah State and nearly lost his job after going just 6/19 for 81 yards last week.

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10/12: Quinn focuses attention on defensive line

As the Florida Gators prepare for their second-straight road game on Oct. 15 against the No. 24 Auburn Tigers, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss last week’s game and the team’s upcoming contest.

DEFENSIVE LINE NEEDS TO STEP UP, BIG TIME

If this headline looks the familiar, it should, because it is unchanged from Quinn’s meeting last week. Speaking Wednesday about the area in which the defense must show the greatest improvement going forward, Quinn admitted he was disappointed with the defensive line and how it has performed over the last two weeks. “Us and our staff take a lot of pride in the way we play run defense. Certainly when one of the things that you really are counting on to be a backbone of your core, and you don’t play the technique quite as well as you want, certainly there was some frustration there,” he said.

One player in particular – sophomore defensive end Sharrif Floyd – earned some praise from Quinn, though he did not offer up much for the rest of the unit. “Floyd would have been one that stood out and had a better performance than the week before. Overall one of the things we’re really emphasizing is getting our hands and getting knock backs and separation – really moving back the line of scrimmage. It’s such an important part of playing defensive line. It’s something we’ve emphasized from the time we’ve gotten here,” he said.

“As as whole unit, there may be certain guys here and there that shined to us, but it was a tough performance for all of us and not a lot to pull from to be honest with you. We didn’t single anybody out necessarily that stood out to us one way or another.”

PICKING UP POWELL

One man who was expected to be a big playmaker for Florida’s defense, sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell, has been relatively quiet the last three weeks after helping force two interceptions with his pass rush against Tennessee. Quinn on Wednesday expressed his disappointment with Powell’s production lately.

“At that position we certainly want the production to be higher,” he said. “When the rush opportunities are there, converting faster into your rush. [The] technique of edge setting when we’re playing that way. I wouldn’t say it’s one thing. It’s something we’re working on daily in practice with him. In pass rush, it’s all about our get-off with him. In the run game, the outside guy has to set the edge. It’s a daily thing with he and a lot of the guys to say how are we going to play our brand of football better.”

Quinn was quick to note that changing Powell’s position to less of a hybrid role was not under consideration at this time. “He’s in the right spot for the system. What we’re looking for at that spot is a guy who has speed and length and he certainly has those two,” he said. “For him, like a lot of our guys, it’s just a function of us playing better. The evaluation on him, like a lot of the guys, is nowhere near complete. At that position, along with others, we really need to play better.”

STOPPING OFFENSES AND CREATING TURNOVERS

The main area in which the Gators have struggled over the last two weeks has been stopping the run. Florida’s opponents put up season-high numbers against them, which is not exactly the goal going into the game. Quinn, though he praised Alabama and LSU, did not want to make excuses for the line. “We’ve faced some talented backs and some talented offensive lines. Really it says we’ve got to play a certain way. When you face a good team – whether it’s a good offensive line or a good running back – you really have to be on your technique,” he explained. “It told us, ‘This is where we are today. This is where we have to get to.’ That’s the message I gave to the club. I told them, “These are the errors we made. This is how we’re going to play.’ And we’re working hard to getting back to the style we want to play.”

Quinn also spoke about the team’s inability to get off the field on third downs and how the Gators have been unable to secure a single takeaway in their consecutive losses. “It’s our job to stop them. Some of the times for the long drives we missed a critical third down where maybe we could have got off the field,” he said. “We’re firefighters and let’s go put out the fire. If it’s third down, we got to get off the field. If we didn’t stop it, we had to go another series, then it’s on us to get it stopped and really get the ball. That’s one of the things we’ve been most disappointed about the last few weeks – not creating opportunities for the offense. Zero takeaways for us is really hard to swallow. It’s something we’re working hard at.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Quinn said that an eight-man rotation on the defensive line is optimal.

» On how the linebacker rotation will change with Dee Finley transferring: “Certainly Mike Taylor is the top backup inside behind Jon [Bostic] and Jelani [Jenkins]. We’re kind of working in as we have been the last few weeks Graham Stewart and Juice Johnson.“

» On Finley transferring: “I wish him the best.”

» On preparing for an up-tempo offense like Auburn’s: “It’s not uncommon at times, when you have to prepare for a team that could do some tempo to use two huddles. When a group of five guys go out, maybe the offensive line stays the same and maybe a different set of running backs and receivers comes in. That’s one way to simulate the speed. Certainly our offense has the ability to go in and out of that system as well. For us, being able to go against our offense or try to simulate it in practice was really a critical part of our preparation this week.”

» On how the team has prepared for Auburn’s offense: “The scout guys had a really critical role in this to watch tape together and see how fast the action went. How fast you have to get back to the line of scrimmage. That was really an important part of it.”

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Update: Gators LB Dee Finley will transfer

Florida Gators redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finley has decided to transfer to another school, the University of Florida officially announced on Wednesday.

“Dee has decided that he would like to pursue other opportunities,” head coach Will Muschamp said in a release. “We wish him the best of luck and we appreciate his time at Florida.”

A four-star defensive back coming out of high school who transferred to the Milford Academy for a year in order to improve his grades and qualify to enroll at UF, Finley was moved to linebacker upon joining the team in 2009.

He appeared in 14 games in his first two seasons, playing in 10 as a freshman but only four as a sophomore. Finley fractured his collarbone against LSU in 2010 and was forced to miss the remainder of the season.

Muschamp praised Finley as a “solid” linebacker and “outstanding” special teamer in the spring, but he has not played much in 2011, slotted as the reserve Will linebacker behind redshirt sophomore Jelani Jenkins

Finley had played in five of the Gators’ six games this year but has only registered four tackles. He missed one game while serving a suspension after being arrested for driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest without violence.

“Although I’ve enjoyed my time here at Florida, I think it’s best for me to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else,” Finley said in the same release. “I plan on finishing the semester here and concentrating on my academics.”

Finley is the seventh player to leave Florida since Muschamp took over the team. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was dismissed following two marijuana rests in less than 90 days. Defensive end Chris Martin, wide receiver Chris Dunkley, WR Javares McRoy, running back Mike Blakely and tight end Michael McFarland transferred.

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No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 1 LSU Gameday

Location: Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, LA [Capacity: 92,542]
Weather Forecast: 85°F, mostly sunny, winds E-SE at 14 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET) [3:39 p.m. kickoff]

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(17/18) FLORIDA GATORS (1/2) LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Les Miles
Record: 4-1 (2-1) Record: 5-0 (2-0)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: LSU -14; O/U 42.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. on the road.

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against LSU 30-24-3 and is 6-5 against the Tigers since 2000. The Gators are also 16-13 all-time in Baton Rouge (4-2 since 1999).
» Muschamp was a former defensive coordinator at LSU under now Alabama head coach Nick Saban, while Tigers passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales coached Florida’s pass catchers from 2005-09.
» Miles is 3-3 in his career against the Gators.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (17 seniors, 17 juniors) as they do underclassmen (36 sophomores, 35 freshmen) on the roster heading into the season.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 64-13 in the first quarter and 106-44 in the first half this season. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of five games.
» Florida ran the ball for 15 net yards on Saturday after the Gators rushed for 405 yards the week before, the sixth-best single-game performance in team history and the most since 1989. The team had a 100-yard rusher in four consecutive games, its second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat against Alabama.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed five sacks through five games, making them second in the SEC team and tied for 20th nationally allowing just one sack per contest.
» Though Florida is 19-for-21 (90.4 percent) in red zone conversions, the Gators have only scored touchdowns on 11 of those opportunities.
» Florida did not acquire a single turnover against Alabama after forcing four in their previous game and seven total over the prior three weeks.
» The Gators defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. Florida also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» UF’s defense is six in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.7 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida is No. 7 nationally and second in the SEC in total defense (258.6 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 13 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (14.8 points per game).
» LSU is the only team in the nation with three victories over ranked opponents; they are looking for their second-straight 6-0 start to a season.
» The Tigers have won 13-straight games in their home stadium. LSU’s last loss in Baton Rouge was to Florida, 13-3 in 2009. They are also 4-0 against the SEC East since.
» LSU’s defense has held opponents without a touchdown in 15-of-20 quarters played.
» The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers in 2011 and have converted 75 percent of those into points (eight touchdowns, one field goal). They lead the SEC and are No. 4 nationally in turnover margin at +1.8 per game.
» LSU’s run defense has not allowed a rush of more than 17 years, and the Tigers have allowed just 13 rushing plays of 10 yards or more.
» Florida and LSU are split down the middle when it comes to the four major statistical categories. The Gators top the Crimson Tide in national averages of rushing yards 210.2-172.6 (21st-48th) and passing yards 203.6-177.0 (86th-100th), while LSU leads Florida in points scored 38.0-34.2 (18th-37th) and points against 12.8-14.8 (9th-13th). The teams both defeated Kentucky this year with UF winning 48-10 on the road and LSU earning the victory 35-7 at home.

LAST TIME OUT

Like this year, Florida started the 2010 season 4-0 before being routed by Alabama one week prior to taking on LSU. The Gators returned home to The Swamp and stuck around with the Tigers all night long, leading 29-26 with more than three minutes to play after Andre Debose returned a kick 88 yards for a touchdown and Mike Gillislee ran for a score late in the fourth quarter. LSU engineered a crazy final stand, using a fake field goal to continue their drive and end it with a three-yard passing touchdown with just six seconds remaining in the game. The Tigers accumulated 142 more yards in the game (70 more through the air and 72 additional yards on the ground) , and Jordan Jefferson scored twice on the ground while Jarrett Lee threw two touchdowns to Terrance Toliver.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators will be featured during Saturday’s broadcast from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Because the Tigers are the No. 1 team in the country and the game is at LSU, the focus will primarily be on them with video packages and discussions about the team. Andrews interviewed both Les Miles and Tyrann Mathieu this week. There will be talk about Florida’s quarterback situation and, of course, the three hosts along with a guest picker will make their selections as to who will win the game.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Inactive: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg)
» Unknown: Freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel (ankle)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Freshman quarterbacks Jeff Driskel (#16) and Jacoby Brissett (#17)…either of whom would start their first career game in one of the most hostile environments in college football. Driskel, who has been the backup all season and has gone 7/16 for 73 yards with two interceptions, is expected to start but may be replaced by Brissett due to a bum ankle. Brissett has not seen action during the regular season and did not participate in the team’s spring game either as he was still in high school at the time.
» Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 661 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 17.6 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Senior RB Jeff Demps (#28)…who has averaged 8.8 yards per carry so far this year including a career-high 157 two weeks ago. After sitting out most of the team’s second game, Demps now has 324 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this season. He also has the second-most receptions (10) on the team this year. Demps eclipsed the 2,000-yard career rushing mark against Florida Atlantic.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list after posting a 65-yard touchdown last week on the first play of the game. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 154 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first five games.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is third on the team in tackles (22) and created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT) before failing to do so last week.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (22 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 7.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks (Howard) through the first five games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-2 on the team in tackles. Bostic (29) and Jenkins (26) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has four tackles for a loss and two sacks while the latter has one sack and four pass breakups on the year.
» Sophomore Buck LB Ronald Powell (#7)…who is tied for a team-high with 2.0 sacks and forced two interceptions via quarterback pressures against Tennessee. Powell has 13 tackles on the season including two for losses.
» Redshirt junior Sam LB Lerentee McCray (#34)…who is starting for the first time in his career and is third on the team in tackles for loss with 3.5. He also has two three breakups and three QB hurries on the season.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing the final eight games of the 2010 season with an injured back. He is 12-for-13 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 51) and perfect with 19 extra points, leading the Gators with 55 points scored this season.

LSU
» CB Tyrann Mathieu (#7)…who is one of the most feared defenders in the nation this season due to his propensity for making game-changing plays. Mathieu leads the SEC in forced fumbles (four) and fumble recoveries (three). He also nabbed an interception this season, scored two defensive touchdowns and leads his team in tackles (35).
» QB Jarrett Lee (#12)…who torched UF for two touchdowns in 2010. He has thrown for 793 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception in 2011 but is only completing 59.3 percent of his passes.
» QB Jordan Jefferson (#9)…who returned to action last week after missing the first four games due to suspension. Jefferson rushed for two scores against Florida in 2010 and is expected to be mixed into LSU’s offense this week.
» RBs Spencer Ware (#11) and Michael Ford (#42)…who have combined for 625 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Ware is the more powerful of the two, while Ford is elusive and averaging more yards per carry on fewer touches each game.

CBS SPORTS VIDEO PREVIEW

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#12 Florida Gators vs. #2 Alabama Gameday

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 68°F, clear, winds N-NW at 6 mph
Time: 8:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 220/199
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(12) FLORIDA GATORS (2/3) ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Nick Saban
Record: 4-0 (2-0) Record: 4-0 (1-0)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Alabama -4.5; O/U 44

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. on the road.

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Alabama leads the all-time series against Florida 22-14 and is 5-2 against UF dating back to 1999. The Crimson Tide defeated the Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship game (32-13) and during the 2010 regular season (31-6).
» Florida achieved more turnovers vs. Kentucky (two interceptions, two fumbles) than they did in their first three games combined (two interceptions, one fumble).
» The Gators’ 405 rushing yards last week was the sixth-best single-game performance in team history and the most the team has accounted for since 1989.
» Muschamp, Saban and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart all worked together when Saban was head coach of LSU from 2001-04. Muschamp, Saban, Smart, Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and UA tight ends/special teams coach Bobby Williams all worked under Saban with the Miami Dolphins during his short tenure (2005-06). Muschamp and Smart previously worked together at Valdosta State in 2000.
» Saban is 4-4 in his career against UF.
» The Gators’ have half as many upperclassmen (17 seniors, 17 juniors) as they do underclassmen (36 sophomores, 35 freshmen) on the roster heading into the season.
» Florida’s offense has been impressive early this season with only six three-and-outs in 52 total offensive drives and only 11 punts in four games.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed two sacks this year, making them the only SEC team to give up two or fewer sacks and one of seven teams nationally to average fewer than 0.5 sacks per game.
» The Gators defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. Florida also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» Florida is fifth nationally and third in the SEC in rushing defense, allowing just 56.5 yards per game. Alabama is third nationally and first in the SEC in the same category, allowing just 45.75 yards per game.
» Conversely, the Gators and Crimson Tide are 1-2 in the SEC and 9-19 nationally in rushing offense with 259.0 and 230.75 yards per game, respectively.
» Florida has had a 100-yard rusher in four consecutive games, the team’s second-longest streak ever. One more game of 100+ rushing yards would tie the school record streak of five games first set in 1999.
» Though the Gators are 18-for-19 (94.7 percent) in red zone conversions, the Gators have only scored touchdowns on 11 of those opportunities.
» UF’s defense has only allowed three first-quarter points through our games.
» Florida is No. 4 nationally in scoring defense (9.0 points per game) and No. 5 in total defense (231.8 yards per game); however, Alabama is No. 2 nationally in both scoring defense (8.0 points per game) and total defense (184.0 yards per game).
» The Gators have blocked a total of two punts in four games so far this season.
» Florida has made 16-straight field goals dating back to the 2010 season, which is the third-longest streak in school history and the longest active streak in the nation. Two more made field goals will give the team its second-longest streak ever behind 28-straight makes from 1984-85.
» The Crimson Tide have the second-most wins (40) since 2008, two more than the Gators (38) in that same period of time.
» Alabama is returning 19 starters and 51 lettermen from its 2010 team.
» The Crimson Tide’s defense has surrendered just 47 first downs through four games while holding opponents to 30.43 percent (21-of-69) on third-down conversion attempts.
» Florida and Alabama are split down the middle when it comes to the four major statistical categories. The Gators top the Crimson Tide in national averages of rushing yards 259.0-230.8 (9th-19th) and points scored 40.3-38.5 (15th-21st), while Alabama leads Florida in passing 225.3-202.8 (64th-79th) and points against 8.0-9.0 (2nd-4th). The teams have not played a common opponent this season.

LAST TIME OUT

After starting out the 2010 season with a 4-0 record, Florida was brought back down to earth when Alabama trounced them 31-6 in Tuscaloosa, AL. The Gators turned the ball over four times in the contest but otherwise held even with their opponent in yards gained and time of possession, snapping their 24-game regular season winning streak as the Crimson Tide rushed for 170 yards including 63 from Trent Richardson and 47 along with two touchdowns from Mark Ingram. Florida’s John Brantley threw two interceptions in the game and fumbled the ball on Alabama’s one-yard-line in the third quarter, negating any chance of a late UF comeback.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators will be prominently featured during Saturday’s broadcast. There will be a live interview with Muschamp, and former head coach Urban Meyer will also be live on the program speaking about the Florida-Alabama match-up. The three hosts and guest picker Jerry Ferrara (Turtle from Entourage) will make their selections as to who will win the game, and there will also be an entire segment about the game.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Active: Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (lower body), redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (unknown)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee)
» To be determined: Redshirt freshman defensive end Lynden Trail (performance)

ALABAMA
» Inactive: Starting LB C.J. Mosely (elbow)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (#12)…who has completed 64.0 percent of his passes (55-of-86) this season for 752 yards and four touchdowns but also threw two interceptions in the season opener against Florida Atlantic. Brantley turned the ball over three time in last year’s loss against Alabama.
» Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 625 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 6.5 yards per carry and 19.5 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He has also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Senior RB Jeff Demps (#28)…who has averaged 9.4 yards per carry so far this year including a career-high 157 last week. After sitting out most of the team’s second game, Demps now has 320 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this season. He also has the second-most receptions (nine) and fifth-most receiving yards (70) on the team this year. Demps eclipsed the 2,000-yard career rushing mark against Florida Atlantic.
» Sophomore “RB” Trey Burton (#8)…who is the team’s most versatile player and proved that fact last year, scoring 12 touchdowns as a true freshman including 11 on the ground. Burton will line up all over the field for the Gators and could be found as a running back, fullback, H-back, tight end or wide receiver. He has already scored four touchdowns this season and has totaled 135 yards on 22 total touches.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is tied for second on the Gators in tackles (17) and has created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble, interception, interception).
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (21 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks (Howard) through the first four games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-2 on the team in tackles. Bostic (26) and Jenkins (17) have eached excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has three tackles for a loss and two sacks while the latter has one sack and four pass breakups on the year.
» Sophomore Buck LB Ronald Powell (#7)…who is tied for a team-high with 2.0 sacks and forced two interceptions via quarterback pressures against Tennessee. Powell has nine tackles on the season including two for losses.
» Redshirt junior Sam LB Lerentee McCray (#34)…who is starting for the first time in his career and is second on the team in tackles for loss with 3.5. He also has two pass breakups and eight total tackles.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who returns for Florida after missing the final eight games of the 2010 season with an injured back. He is perfect this year on 11 field goal attempts (long: 51) and 18 extra points, leading the nation in both categories while leading the Gators with 51 points scored this season.

ALABAMA
» RB Trent Richardson (#3)…who is one of the best players at his position in the nation and is averaging 6.6 yards per carry this season. Richardson has rushed for at least 111 yards in three-straight games and started the season with eight rushing touchdowns through three contests.
» RB Eddie Lacy (#42)…who is Richardon’s back-up but is playing just as well this year. Lacy is averaging 8.9 yards per rush and has four touchdowns on the ground this year. He has only carried the ball 41 times but has amassed 365 yards already this year.
» QB A.J. McCarron (#10)…who (like Brantley) has thrown four touchdowns this season but posted two interception in Alabama’s season opener against Kent State. McCarron is completing 66.3 percent of his passes and threw for two touchdowns last week against Arkansas in his best performance of the young season.
» WR Marquis Maze (#4)…who is the Crimson Tide’s leading receiver but has fallen relatively silent over the last few weeks. Maze posted 118 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions in the season opener but has caught 12 balls for just 108 yards since. He is also the team’s punt returner and already brought back one for a score this year.
» LB Dont’a Hightower (#30)…who is one of the most feared defenders in college football this year. He is his team’s leading tackler with 25 on the season (4.5 for loss) and will be charged with ensuring Florida’s running backs do not reach the second level.

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