Gators Prepare for Miller and OSU Run Game

Florida hasn't done well at slowing mobile quarterbacks this season. Discipline caused problems on the field this season when the defensive line was unable to hold the edge and keep quarterbacks from creating yards when plays broke down. Discipline is being pounded into their heads every day in bowl practice, as Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller will be their toughest running quarterback yet.

When the Gators played Georgia, quarterback Aaron Murray gained 53 yards on the ground. One week later, Jordan Rodgers gained 43 yards with his legs for Vanderbilt. However, the biggest hurdle came at South Carolina. Quarterback Connor Shaw went for 93 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

The Gamecocks had success running read plays that left the decision up to Shaw. When the Florida defensive ends weren't disciplined off the edge, Shaw tucked the ball and ran for big gains.

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller provides a threat to take the ball into the end zone whenever he touches the ball. The freshman is Ohio State's leading rusher, gaining 895 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns.

"When you have a mobile quarterback, you have to do a good job of controlling the edges," Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. "Sometimes with a mobile quarterback, it might mean he's dropping back on a pass play, but it breaks down and he creates on his own."

There's also a traditional, down hill run game that the Buckeyes can implement. Dan Herron leads the running backs with 123 carries and 596 net yards with three touchdowns. Carlos Hyde has run for 549 yards and six touchdowns.

"They've had a run game there in place for a long time," Quinn said, referring to Ohio State's history. "They use a full back and an inside style of runs. They know how to run the ball, and it adds another part to it."

Bowl practice for Florida hasn't been all about preparing for Ohio State. The Gators have spent a lot of time looking at what they have done well and struggled with this season. The benefit of extra practice is that the coaches can use the 10-15 extra practices to improve for next season.

"That has been my sense," Quinn said when asked if it feels like another training camp. "It was kind of like going back to work on the offense with fundamentals and technique of playing blocks. It was ac cool thing to go through to work our skills against each other. That's some of the best work we can do. It's more of a camp mentality."

Quinn pointed out Omar Hunter, Ronald Powell, Jaye Howard and Jon Bostic as players that have stood out in practices so far. Returning all of those players except Howard, plus seeing the other returning players improve, has Quinn optimistic for how next season can go.

"After being with these guys, you know their strengths," Quinn said. "Some of these guys needed playing time, so for us to go out and do that, I thought that was valuable. We're losing Jaye and William Green, but for the most part, most men are coming back. That's why this bowl practice to me was important."

FLOYD STICKING AT END: Quinn wouldn't commit to Sharrif Floyd staying only at defensive tackle for the future, instead saying that he will switch between that and defensive end depending on a few things.

"We'll have to look and see who are the guys we add," Quinn said. "I think he's a really good defensive tackle, but he's a really strong base end though. A little bit will depend on the style of team we're playing. In the 3-4 system, you like a big guy over at end. We played more 3-4 defense as the season goes on."

With Floyd at defensive tackle, Quinn expects Green to get increased reps at defensive end in the bowl game.

POWELL TAKING STEPS: Quinn and the defensive staff were clear with their expectations for Ronald Powell before the bye week. They wanted improvement in a hurry.

"He got better as we went along," Quinn said. "There were some things going into the bye that were things he needed to improve at, and the last couple ball games, we saw that out of him. He's had a terrific bowl practice."

The improvement necessary came in all areas of his game.

"It was really in the run game with hand placement," Quinn said. "Then with pass rush as our nickel rusher, the get off. He had a chance to work on those things in bowl preparation and has done a good job with it."


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