Turnovers: This works for both sides of the ball with the Gators currently last in the Southeastern Conference in turnover margin. The five-turnover performance from the offense made life difficult for Florida at Miami, but the defense has forced two interceptions in two games -- both coming on interceptions from freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves -- and no fumbles.The offense turning the ball over is the biggest problem. The Gators have turned the ball over six times -- three more than the team with the second most in the SEC. Quarterback Jeff Driskel has two interceptions on the year, both coming at Miami. Only one was his fault after Trey Burton ran the wrong route in the second half, allowing Miami cornerback Tracy Howard to pull down an interception.
Florida took care of the football in 2012, but through two games this year, the Gators have lost four fumbles already. Ball security drills have been a priority at practice this week.
During Will Muschamp's first season, the Gators had a solid defense that struggled to force turnovers. That flipped last year, as Florida's dominating unit took the ball away at will. That can't change this season if the Gators don't want to have a drop off on defense. All the factors for forcing turnovers look to be in place -- a strong pass rush, swarming secondary and hard-hitting linebackers. Forcing turnovers shouldn't be an issue for the Florida defense, but it needs to start soon.
Running game: The Gators are 11th in the SEC with 192 yards per game on the ground. Florida rushed for just 122 yards in the loss against Miami, falling to 6-9 under Muschamp when it doesn't reach 150 rushing yards as a team. When the Gators cross the 150-yard mark on the ground, they're 13-0 under Muschamp.The ground game should be fine. It struggled against the Hurricanes, largely because of moving bodies on a banged up offensive line. Left tackle D.J. Humphries, left guard Max Garcia, center Jonotthan Harrison and right tackle Tyler Moore all missed snaps against Miami. All are expected to be fine when the Gators host Tennessee on September 21.
Continuity on the offensive line should start to open up holes in the run game for Matt Jones and Mack Brown. Jones returned and looked hesitant at times against Miami but improved as the game went on. He should be 100 percent and ready to carry the load against the Volunteers.
Punt game: Without an explosive offense, Florida can't afford to have punter Kyle Christy take a step back from his strong 2012 season. The junior has struggled so far this year, averaging just 40.4 yards with a long of 53 and just one put over 50 yards. His average is the 13th best in the SEC -- not good for the preseason choice to win the Ray Guy Award.The hang time hasn't been there on his punts. With the ball booming off his foot in 2012 and the strong gunners for the Gators, they excelled at limiting net punt yards allowed. With special teams ace Loucheiz Purifoy serving as a gunner again this year, the Gators rank 10th in the SEC in net yards per punt.