Defense Focused on Turnovers

The Florida defense improved against Auburn two weeks ago, but one glaring problem remains. The Gators aren't forcing enough turnovers. Florida is last in the SEC with a -7 turnover margin, and the defense hasn't forced a turnover since September 24 at Kentucky. Lerentee McCray said forcing turnovers was a major focus during the bye week.

"Turnovers are a big key," Lerentee McCray said. "It wins a lot of football games. We haven't had any turnovers for two or three weeks now and we've been losing. It's a big factor in the W.

"It's just guys being ball hawks, getting after the ball. When the ball is in the air, we've got to make a play on it. Or if the running back is holding the ball loosely just doing running back drills to strip the running back, stuff like that."

It's harder for the challenge to be greater for the Florida defense through the air. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown for 1,653 yards through the air, averaging 236.1 yards per game. In seven games played, Murray has thrown 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The front seven for the Gators is keyed on getting pressure on Murray.

"I see pretty much a lot of the stuff that he showed last year," McCray said. "He got a little bit better at passing, but we've just got to get pressure on him, that's what we've got to do."

On the ground, the Bulldogs are led by one of the best freshmen in America. Isaiah Crowell has rushed for 608 yards this season, an average of 86.9 per game, which is fourth best in the SEC. He isn't a bruiser, but he brings explosiveness to the Georgia backfield.

"Their run game is pretty good," McCray said. "They've got the freshman at running back, and we've just got to go in and get some hits on him to try to get the ball away from those guys.

"From what I've seen on film (Crowell is) a pretty good player. From on film, he's a pretty good player. He runs real tough."

McCray said the Georgia running attack isn't much different from preparing for Alabama or LSU. It's a pro-style offense that doesn't do anything fancy, but their execution is why they are successful.

The similarities made the bye week preparation a little easier on Florida. McCray said the team practiced harder than they did during bye weeks in recent years under Urban Meyer, but he thought it was necessary after the defensive struggles.

The locker room has also grown up through the struggles in recent weeks.

"I feel like the team has matured, taking the three losses well," McCray said. "Just putting a big chip on everybody's shoulder in that we can be beat, we've been beat three times, so it's just getting everybody a little bit of motivation going into this week."

For the younger players on the team, it's a three-game losing streak for the second straight year. That gave McCray and the upperclassmen a chance to step up and help the team regroup.

"It's just a little bit of adversity," McCray said. "You've always got to have adverse situations to grow up, and that's where we're at right now in our stage and our team. We just have to get that done with the adversity and then just build from that."

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