Austin Wants More Three-and-Outs

The Florida defensive struggles weren't glaring on first or second down against LSU. Instead, they snuck up on multiple third downs. The Tigers converted on 7-of-15 third down plays, while the Gators missed tackles to help with some of the conversions.

"We have to do a better job of getting off the field on third down," Teryl Austin said. "We have not played up to our standard the last few weeks. That's what we're working to do this week."

After the loss to Alabama, Austin saw good leadership on the practice field. It didn't translate to a win over LSU, but the tenacity he sees in practice this week looks different than before. He sees a team that knows what is at stake.

The loss to LSU was only the second time the Gators have suffered back-to-back losses since Urban Meyer took over. A three-game losing streak seems unheard of, but if the level of focus isn't there this week, it could happen.

"Guys are flying around and going hard like we always do, but there's a little more sense of urgency because of what's at stake," Austin said.

Austin was concise when describing Will Hill's performance against LSU. He called it "average" and said that the team "still needs more" production from Hill.

The team missed too many tackles for Austin to remember, but Hill missed a number of key ones. He was still out of position and caused some breakdowns in coverage. A flaw in the way he attacked the ball carrier caused some of Hill's missed tackles.

"When he goes to tackle, his head drops down," Austin said. "That's bad because you can't see your target, and it's actually an injury if you get hit on top of your head."

Linebacker Jelani Jenkins is second on the team with 35 tackles, two coming for a loss. He has also recorded a sack and an interception that he returned 47 yards against LSU to set up a Florida touchdown.

"He's doing okay but can do better," Austin said. "He's going to continue to get better. That's what we're looking for. So far, he's making progress. He's not where he wants to be or where we need him to be."

The spread offense that Dan Mullen will lead into Gainesville Saturday night is one that loves to run the football. They rushed for 409 yards last weekend against Houston, and they rank third in the SEC in rushing yards per game.

"It's a veteran offensive line that blocks well," Austin said. "The backs don't go down, and the quarterback gives them an added dimension. He can run. You've got all three facets. It's basically what's been in this offense for a long time when Tim (Tebow) was running the ball."

The frustration on Austin's face Wednesday was evident. It wasn't from practice or from lack of effort. Instead, it seemed like he understood the frustrations of a long season.

In the NFL, losing a few games isn't important. It's about staying consistent throughout the season and trying to make the playoffs. When Austin was with the Arizona Cardinals last season, he prepared to win every game, but they were realistic enough to realize that wouldn't happen.

"Even though in the NFL you know you're going to lose a game, you still prepare to win every game," Austin said. "You don't prepare any differently."

This week, preparation might be a little different. The team is ready to unload frustration from two weeks of losing.

"We know the situation we're in," Austin said. "We have to get a win."
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