Run Defense Shows Improvement

After back-to-back weeks of being trampled by an opponent's run game, the Gators faced another big challenge in Auburn. This time, they answered. Auburn running back Michael Dyer came into the game as the leading rusher in the SEC, but he was held to 73 yards on the ground. In a tough loss for the Gators, the defense made strides forward.

"We played okay," Jaye Howard said after the game. "There are still mistakes to clean up. We'll learn from this and improve against Georgia."

With the run stop improving against Auburn, the biggest remaining issue is one that has plagued the Gators all season. They are still struggling the create turnovers. Florida hasn't forced a turnover since its September 24th game at Kentucky.

Part of it is the way opponents are playing on offense. Alabama and LSU did whatever they wanted on the ground and didn't put the ball in the air much. Auburn only threw the ball 16 times. In a game where the Tigers' offense wasn't much better than Florida's, the Gators still couldn't create a takeaway to get the offense better field position.

"We haven't created any turnovers," Howard said. "Whenever we do create turnovers, it's good for the Gators. We put our offense in good field position. We haven't been getting it. We've just got to get back to our style of defense, which is causing havoc and disrupting the quarterback."

After facing Trent Richardson, Spencer Ware and Dyer, the Florida defense has seen plenty of challenges on the ground. It has created tough styles of games for the defensive line, but Howard feels like the game against Auburn got the run defense back on the right track.

"The last few games have been tough in the trenches," Howard said. "I feel like our defense stood out today. We did what we could and played hard. We'll just continue to do that."

William Green started at the BUCK position for Ronald Powell. The senior made just one tackle but he made an impact in the pass rush, recording two quarterback hurries.

"He went hard," Howard said. "Willie Green shows up to play every day, and he went hard tonight."

The bye week now comes at a perfect time for Florida. They will have plenty of time to watch film and correct mistakes on both sides of the ball from the previous three losses.

"We just need to rest our bodies and look at film," Howard said. "We've got to practice hard through the bye week and focus on Georgia."

Part of it is also about regrouping the team. Three straight losses could cause some players to lose focus, but linebacker Jon Bostic said he would do his best to not allow that to happen.

"It's just about everybody getting together," Bostic said. "We know we had some tough losses. We've just got to learn from the past and as soon as we come into next week, it's all onto the next opponent."


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