Gators Experiment With Four-Guard Lineup

The Gators were able to test out their guard depth on Thursday night. Florida recorded a 91-55 blowout win over North Florida that was never in doubt, and with power forward Will Yeguete out with concussion symptoms, Florida head coach Billy Donovan got creative. It wasn't pretty, but the Gators think it can be a potential weapon.

"I've got to find a way to help them with what we're doing and give them some concepts to play with," Billy Donovan said after the game. "I've got to figure some of these things out now that we have a few days before we play again."

Will Yeguete was hit in the head at Ohio State and concussion symptoms forced him to sit out on Thursday. Donovan said he will undergo concussion tests on Friday to gauge how serious it is, but the head coach is hopeful Yeguete can return to practice on Saturday.

With the depth up front hurting, the Gators broke out the four-guard lineup with Kenny Boynton, Scottie Wilbekin, Mike Rosario and Brad Beal on the floor. Erving Walker would later sub in for Wilbekin to give the Gators their most potent scoring lineup.

Most teams can matchup with three guards, but there's always the fourth guard that is often being guarded by a big man. That's where the Gators look to find their advantage.

"It's four guys that can all put it on the floor, shoot it and pass it," Walker said. "I don't think anybody can match with that. It wasn't great tonight, but offensively, I don't think any team in the country can stop that."

When Florida spreads the floor with four guards, Patric Young is the most likely fifth member. His role as a screener is important to create open shots for the guards, but it's still something Donovan wants to get more time working on in practice.

"Pat was doing a great job freeing them up with screens, but Pat wasn't involved in the offense like he needs to be," Donovan said. "When the defense is spread out like that and we have a big, physical guy in the post, we have to find ways to incorporate him in what we're doing."

GETTING CREATIVE WITH PRATHER: Casey Prather saw limited action as a freshman last season, but he could get increased playing time this year at a new position. With Yeguete out, Prather worked an increased amount of time at power forward on Thursday after seeing limited minutes at the position early in the season.

The 6-6, 212-pound forward creates a mismatch with his quickness. Athleticism has never been an issue for Prather, and Donovan wants to use that to help create mismatches for Florida.

"I want to do that more," Donovan said, noting that Prather handled the position well with little practice time. "I've got to put him in situations where we can take advantage of him in that spot. Casey is quick enough against a four man to use his athleticism, and especially go in there and offensive rebound. He's quick off the floor."

The potential issue would come on the defensive end. Listed at only 212 pounds, Prather could get manhandled by some of the bigger power forwards in the country. His athleticism allows him to be a solid perimeter defender, but he isn't experienced enough to be a solid defender in the paint.

"We have to get him more reps on post defense," Donovan said. "That's not something he has spent a lot of time doing. With his quickness and playing against bigger people, he can try to front and do some of those things. We have to work on that."


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