Scouting MSU Defense and Special Teams

While the Bulldogs have not been very good offensively in SEC play, they have been pretty salty defensively. State mixed it up against LSU a lot better than Florida did and held Auburn to 17 points and Georgia to just 12.

On the year, MSU allows 113 yards on the ground and 215 through the air. The Bulldogs have held all six of their opponents to less than 30 points and four of them to 17 or less. They like to blitz and with the issues the Gators had against LSU you can expect to see a ton of blitzing Saturday night.

It starts in the trenches with a big strong defensive front that is led by All-SEC DE Pernell McPhee. Teams have ganged up on him, especially in passing situations, so he has no sacks but has been credited with six QB pressures. He also has five tackles for a loss. DT Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox are both 300 pounds or thereabouts and will not allow Florida to succeed running dive plays. Of course, no one else has either. Florida will find it difficult to run on this group.

The LB corps is big and physical but a tad slow. Chris White is all over the place and leads the team in tackles (46), tackles for loss (7.5) and QB sacks (2.5). K.J. Wright gives them a second big LB in the 6-4, 250-pound range. He has 42 tackles, likes to blitz but is also effective in pass coverage with a team high seven passes broken up.

The secondary does not wow me. Georgia threw for 274 yards on this group without A.J. Green. Corey Broomfield is the better of the two corners, though Jonathan Banks picked off two Tim Tebow passes last season. FS Nickoe Whatley is talented but very young and if Florida were ever to run a deep post off play action this is the guy to do it on. SS Charles Mitchell packs a wallop.

The key against the Bulldogs defense is for the Gators to hit them in the mouth. In other words the Gators have to get physical. Do that and the significant speed advantage the Gators enjoy can pay dividends.

Special teams --- Bumphis, the WR has a 97 KOR for a TD, but that came against Alcorn State. Against everyone else he averages about 20 yards. They cover kickoffs pretty well (21.3 with a long of 39). Bumphis also handles punt returns where he has a long of 35, but averages just 4.8 on his eight other returns.

The FG kicker Sean Brockley is 2-of-5 with two blocked. He does have a strong leg. They will come hard after kicks and punts and have blocked a punt and an extra point. Florida's punt protection needs to be on alert.

It appears this game will be low scoring, but then against it looked like last weekend's game would be to. You just never know. The Gators need to come out throwing and get the Mississippi State defense on its heels. They also need to end the trend of having a special teams foul up just about every game.

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