Florida Keying On Jones

FAYETTEVILLE --Florida coach Ron Zook and his players are aware of the problems Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones can pose during Saturday's 11 a.m. game in Gainesville, Fla.

In last season's 33-28 Florida win in Fayetteville, Jones was 20 of 30 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 57 yards on six carries and guided the Hogs on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives.

"If he's not the best player in the SEC, he's one of the best," Zook said. "He's hard to defend because he is strong and fast. He makes plays and can run the football. You can tell their football team looks at him and rallies around him."

Linebacker Channing Crowder said the Gators got a dose of a dual-threat quarterback last week against Kentucky's Shane Boyd. The Gators beat the Wildcats 20-3.

"(Jones) is a great quarterback," Crowder said. "We're planning for him just like last week. Last week, we were saying Boyd was an amazing quarterback that can run and pass.

"Jones is a blazer, he can really run."

Linebacker Travis Harris said the Gators' scout team is using 6-foot-5, 215-pound freshman quarterback Cornelius Ingram to simulate Jones this week.

"It's rare to come across a quarterback like (Jones)," Harris said. "He's a tall guy, and he's fast, too. He doesn't look as fast on film as he does in person because he's got those long legs and long strides.

"He's someone that we're going to have to stop."

Crowder said stopping Jones is the key to beating Arkansas.

"If you keep them contained in the pocket, they can't get going," Crowder said. "If you can just cover everyone like the receivers, you have a better chance of spying Jones when he's rolling out.

"He'll take off running at the drop of a dime."

In The Woods
Redshirt freshman Kevin Woods will see more playing time at Florida after his performance Saturday against Alabama. He's currently listed as John Jackson's backup at husky.

"Kevin Woods had 24 snaps and on 23 of them, he did exactly what we want so he graded really high," said Arkansas defensive coordinator Dave Wommack. "John graded out at 87 percent, which isn't bad. Kevin just got in there and, in those snaps, he made (four) tackles which is the productivity we're looking for."

Woods has seven tackles, including four solo stops, and a pass breakup while Jackson is tied for sixth on the team with 17 tackles, including eight solos.

Wommack said both will be on the field often at Florida, which features the most balanced offense the Hogs have faced.

"(Woods) is physical," Wommack said. "He's going to play full speed and he's our extra defensive back/linebacker that we bring into the game in our (nickel and dime) packages."

The Hogs are watching film of last season's game, when the Gators' used several screen plays to move the ball consistently. They also studied film of Florida's offense in its first three games.

"(Florida tailback Ciatrick) Fason has had a lot of success," Wommack said. "They're going to get him the ball running, they're going to get him the ball throwing. Plus, they've got a really good screen (passing) game that we have to be aware of.

"They haven't changed their offense that much from last season."

Injury Report
Starting tailback DeCori Birmingham (bruised back) made it through Tuesday's practice as did top reserve De'Arrius Howard (shoulder).

Birmingham missed the second half of Saturday's 27-10 win against Alabama after a defensive end planted a knee in his back. He leads Hogs running backs with 248 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries. In addition, the former flanker has four catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.

"It's just pretty badly bruised right now, so I'm just doing what I can to keep it loose," Birmingham said. "I'm about 80 percent right now, but I should be close to 100 come game time."

Cornerbacks Michael Coe (ankle) and Chris Houston (ankle) continue to progress. While Coe is expected to play against the Gators, Houston, who missed Saturday's Alabama game, remains questionable.

"I'm about 85 percent," Houston said. "I'm doing everything I can to be ready (to play Saturday), but I don't know for sure that I will be."

Strong Ties
Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong has solid ties to Arkansas. Originally from Batesville, he earned his bachelor's degree in Eduaction fromthe University of Central Arkansas, where he played football and ran track from 1980-83, and a Masters in Physical Education from Henderson State.

Strong also was South Carolina's defensive coordinator from 1999-2002.

In five games against Strong's defenses, Arkansas is 3-2 while averaging 23.2 points a game. The average is somewhat deceiving, since the Hogs beat Strong and South Carolina 48-7 in 1999.

Florida is ranked sixth in the Southeastern Conference in total defense, limiting opponents to 302 yards and 14.3 points per game.

Another Tie
Arkansas linebacker Sam Olajubutu and Florida reserve tailback Skyler Thornton both are from LaGrange, Ga. Thornton has 17 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.

"We talked about two weeks ago," said Olajubutu, who had seven tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his first start of the season against Alabama on Saturday. "He started talking a little smack, reminding me that they're Florida and that they're coming for us, but it's all fun and games.

"We'll still give a hand shake and hug after the game."

Practice Closed
Arkansas' practices have been closed to the media and fans this week.

Coach Houston Nutt also closed practice the week before last season's 38-28 win at Texas, the Hogs' first road game of the year.

"We tried to close things out, a lot like we did last year against Texas," Nutt said. "Just to really concentrate, especially for our younger guys to understand that when you do go on the road, you have to concentrate twice as hard.

"The noise level will be at an all-time high, something that we've been very unfamiliar with because we've been at home, so we've been in a very comfortable place for a month."

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