Durkin plans to use creativity on Saturday

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger is on a roll. As a junior, he looked lost at times and missed open throws. This year, that isn't the case. The senior quarterback is dominating the Southeastern Conference through six games this season, completing 68.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Gators will attempt to be creative while trying to slow him down.

The Gators lead the conference in pass defense, allowing just 152 yards per game through the air. The Tigers are third in the conference in pass offense, averaging 291.5 yards per game through the air. With NFL talent all over the LSU roster at wide receiver and the Florida secondary boasting two potential first round picks and an early candidate for Freshman All-American, the matchup will be the one to watch on Saturday.

To try slowing the Tigers down, Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said on Wednesday that the Gators would try to mix coverages and create confusion with their secondary.

"That's definitely part of it," Durkin said. "(Mettenberger) got a strong arm and can deliver the ball, and those guys they've got out there running around and catching the ball are really good, too. (They) are as talented as there is in the country."

Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham have been the go-to targets for Mettenberger, both averaging over 100 yards. Landry had 616 yards and seven touchdowns on the season while Beckham leads the team with 686 yards and has added six touchdowns.

Besides those two, LSU doesn't offer a receiver with more than 16 yards per game.

The challenge presented by Beckham and Landry is difficult enough. The Florida secondary has heard their statistics and seen the receivers on film throughout the week to understand the challenge facing them in Baton Rouge on Saturday.

"Our guys are very competitive in the back end," Durkin said. "They watch the film just like we do and they understand what they're in for this week -- it's going to be a battle. Those guys they're playing against are very competitive and very talented.

"It's not that we need to change what we're doing, we need to be on our game and be really good at and understand that you're going to be in for a battle. Our guys do, and I think they're up for the challenge."

The change in Mettenberger is the biggest thing that has changed in the last year for LSU. When the Tigers came to Gainesville last season, Florida held them to six points because they were able to stack the box, shut down the running game and force Mettenberger to hit plays through the air. He couldn't do it.

This year is different. Mettenberger is hitting throws all over the field to make the LSU offense one of the most potent groups in the country.

"I think he looks like a veteran player, has command of the offense, feels comfortable with what they're doing, with what their plan is," Durkin said. "He has been quick on his reads. His eyes are where they need to be and he's delivering the ball. Guy has got a really talented arm, strong arm, and he can make all the throws. He's playing with a lot of confidence."

CLOGGING THE MIDDLE WITHOUT EASLEY: The Gators have played two games without Dominique Easley after his ACL tear, and they're fitting into a rotation in the middle. Darious Cummings, Damien Jacobs and Leon Orr have seen the most time inside while Jonathan Bullard is seeing increased reps at defensive tackle.

"Those guys have played well," Durkin said. "I think you look at a guy like Darious Cummings -- he's gotten more snaps now, and he's played really well. I think he's been a really productive guy. He's had a couple of really good games in a row for us. Damien Jacobs has been playing well all along. Leon Orr has played well. He had not as many snaps in the last game, but he'll continue to keep playing. Those guys have done a good job stepping up inside. Jon Bullard has bounced inside a little more than what he was. He's playing both end and tackle. He's playing a little more inside. He's done a good job.

If the Gators need a fifth guy to play inside and provide depth, Durkin said it would be freshman Jay-nard Bostwick. The coaches have been working with him to get him ready for game action, but there's still the chance he could redshirt this fall.

"Jay-nard is doing well," Durkin said. "He's continued to progress like a normal freshman would. He hasn't had a lot of game time thus far, but he is ready if needed and if he has to go in there and do it. He's practicing really well.

"He has made great improvements since day one until now, like most of our freshmen have. We're going to keep prepping him and getting him ready every week and see what happens."?

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