Secondary prepping for BIG challenge

When the University of Florida travels to Columbia Missouri this weekend to take on the Tigers, The Florida secondary knows they will have their hands full. Of the Missouri top four receivers, none are less than 6-feet-3 inches tall. It is a big task even for a secondary that is considered to have considerable size and talent of its own.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp has made it a point to recruit and sign size at the cornerback position. It is for games like this. Across from whoever starts for Florida at corner will be 6-foot-6 sophomore Dorial Beckham-Green and 6-foot-4 senior L'Damian Washington, giving away a minimum of 4 inches.

Some tall task.

Florida safety Cody Riggs has faith in his secondary mates at cornerback. He says they have been matched up before with teams with great height.

"It has a lot to do with our corners," he said about what it is like to play a team so tall at receiver. "In the slot they're big, too, but our corners will be tested outside. It's nothing we haven't gone against. I remember Kentucky my sophomore year, even this year, all the Kentucky receivers are pretty big. It's nothing we're not used to. We've gone against big receivers before."

Riggs says not only are these guys big, but they make plays for their quarterback.

"Very talented at wideout," he said. "They have four or five guys that can all play the slot or outside and they make a lot of plays down the field for the quarterback."

The talent level is close to that of LSU, a team that just beat the Gators and has riddled the secondaries of most of the teams they have played through the air.

"About the same," Riggs said of the comparison. "LSU had some really talented wideouts. I thought we held our own against LSU. We will have our hands full again this week, so we will have to step up again.

"They do a great job of getting open. They run a hurry-up offense, so a lot of time defenses aren't lined up and that's where a lot of their big plays come from."

One question heading into the contest is the quarterback position. Starter James Franklin is out and back up Maty Mauk took over the reins of the offense during the second half of the Georgia win last week for the Tigers. The red-shirt freshman has completed five passes on 6 attempts so far this season. He was 3-3 for 20 yards against the Bulldogs.

Riggs says the new guy is still pretty good.

"Obviously their quarterback is out, but the backup is pretty good," the junior safety said. "I watched the half he had against Georgia and he had some pretty good throws. So we have our hands full.

"I think their offense will be pretty much the same. They lose a little bit with James Franklin out, but the backup is really good. He made some good throws against Georgia."

"He's not as big as James Franklin, but he's a similar athlete. He can run, he can throw. And he runs the offense just as well."

The Gators are not underestimating the Tigers at all heading into Saturday's contest.

"Last year we only won by 7 points," Riggs said of the game played in Gainesville. "They are a really good football team. They have a really good quarterback. Obviously he went down, but they have a really good supporting cast around him. They have a really good defense. They're a really good team. I don't know why people doubted them. I always saw that they were a really good team." Riggs also believes his team will show up on Saturday.

"We always bounce back," he said. "That was a rough game for us, but we'll bounce back. I know our defense will step up and our offense will step up."

A solid win in Columbia would help the team feel like they are back on track to play for the SEC East title. That is still at the forefront of their thoughts moving forward.

"I've been here four years and I still haven't gone to Atlanta," Riggs said. "So that's still in front of us. That's the main goal. You get to Atlanta and good things happen."


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