Game Day Headquarters: Gators vs. LSU

It will be one of the wildest game day atmospheres any of these Florida Gators will be a part of. Night time in Death Valley can be crazy. The Florida Gators also have dealt with distractions all week and they also will have to deal with the front runner in The Heisman Trophy race.

#6 LSU Tigers (5-0, 3-0)

Saturday October 17, 2015; 7:00 P.M.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Death Valley


Jim McElwain has been a part of a couple of night time games in Baton Rouge while he was the offensive coordinator at Alabama. That was only 5-9 years ago. He remembers the trips vividly.

“When you are going down on the bus on the one way road into the stadium and all the people on the side,” he started during his SEC Coaches’ Teleconference on Wednesday. “It reminded me about going in when you play in Butte, Montana. People rock the bus. It’s great. It’s the way college football should be.”

It is an electric atmosphere from the time you get on campus until the final horn sounds for the game.

“The passion of the fans and energy in the stands… obviously the night game that we won in overtime, what a great environment it was,” he said. “That is why we get into this business.”

“It’s those kinds of memories that make for a good time. The passion is probably what I remember most.”

With all of that in mind, McElwain wants to make sure his players aren’t intimidated by the moment, instead, just take it all in and make sure to remember it.

“Lets’ embrace this opportunity,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of people in life that get to play in this environment and it should be a good time.”

“There are a lot of challenges. Number one is the opponent. They do things right and know how to win. The environment itself and playing at night… I’ve been fortunate enough to go in there and it’s great. I have been telling our guys that haven’t been there at night how much fun it is. I think what is important for us is how we handle our business and go about our business and at the same time don’t down play that this is something we really should want to do.”

The Gators are pressed with the task of stopping Leonard Fournette. The sophomore running back bulldozed his way for 147 yards and two touchdowns on a stingy Florida defense and it was really kind of his break out game. Now he is in the midst of a record breaking season and it won’t be easy to stop the big man.

“I know I couldn’t tackle him,” McElwain said.  “I told our players to jump on his back and maybe that will slow him down. Maybe someone grabs a shoe lace and he trips. I am sure the way we tackle, the guy from Tennessee, Jalen Hurd, and him were  talking, He’s probably licking his lips and thinking he can get 300 yards, ‘to heck with these 200 yard games’.”

If they can slow down Fournette, the quarterback Brandon Harris will be next. He had his best game of the season last week against South Carolina and McElwian is very sure of what he can do.

“He has a great command for what they’re doing,” McElwain said. “Great decisions and they take care of the football and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He has a great arm and can beat you with his feet as well.

“I don’t think anyone has had a real good success rate against him.”

Key positional match up…

This game has been ripped apart and dissected every which way, but to me the key personnel matchup is going to be the running backs of LSU versus the linebackers at Florida. The Gator defensive line will run 10 different players in and out of the lineup during a game and s they should stay fresh. It is a whole different story at linebacker.

Of course Antonio Morrison and Jarrad Davis can’t have a repeat of the Tennessee game, but they are going to need some kind of help and won’t be able to go on every down. That help will come from the likes of Jeremi Powell (back from injury), Anthony Harrell, and Daniel McMillian, but nobody knows how reliable they will be.

Maybe the Gators will have to do something up front and get more defensive line involved. Maybe have McCalister play as a linebacker. The positon is incredibly thin at this point and the defensive line with all its depth can provide some quality talent elsewhere on the field.

Florida Offensive Two-Deep

WR #11 (JR)Demarcus Robinson (6-1, 208) #5 (JR) Ahmad Fulwood (6-4, 210) 
WR #81 (FR) Antonio Callaway (5-11, 206) #10 (SR) Valdez Showers 
WR #4 (SO) Brandon Powell (5-9, 185) #89 (R-SO) Alvin Bailey (5-11, 189)
LT #78 (SO) David Sharpe (6-6, 359) #73 (FR) Martez Ivey (6-5, 311)
LG #73 (FR) Martez Ivey (6-5, 311) #52 (R-FR) Travaris Dorsey (6-2, 321)
OC #54 (R-SO) Cameron Dillard (6-4, 311) #64 (FR) Tyler Jordan (6-4, 294)
RG #63 (R-SR) Trip Thurman (6-5, 307) #51 (R-SO) Antonio Riles (6-4, 312)
RT #75 (R-SR) Mason Halter (6-6, 295) #74 (FR) Fred Johnson (6-6, 312)
TE #83 (R-SR Jake McGee (6-6, 244) #30 (SO) DeAndre Goolsby (6-4, 243)
RB #21 (JR) Kelvin Taylor (5-10, 206) #32 (FR) Jordan Cronkrite (5-11, 205)
QB #3 (SO) Treon Harris (5-11, 198) #15 (R-JR) Jacob Guy (6-5, 222)


Florida Defensive Two-Deep

DE #96 (FR) CeCe Jefferson (6-1, 270) #17 (R-SO) Jordan Sherit (6-4, 250)
NT #91 (JR) Joey Ivie (6-3, 290) #93 (R-FR) Taven Bryan (6-3, 290)
DT #90 (JR) Jonathan Bullard (6-3, 280) #57 (R-SO) Caleb Brantley (6-2, 303)
RUSH #94 (R-JR) Bryan Cox (6-3, 265) #14 (R-JR) Alex McCalister 
MLB #3 (SR) Antonio Morrison (6-1, 234) #48 (R-SR) Anthony Harrell (6-2, 237)
WLB #40 (JR) Jarrad Davis (6-2, 232) #13 (JR) Daniel McMillian (6-1, 216)
Saf #42 (JR) Keanu Neal (6-1, 215) #26 (R-SO) Marcell Harris (6-1, 211) 
Saf #20 (R-JR) Marcus Maye (6-0, 210)  #8 (R-SO) Nick Washington (6-0, 189)
NIC #24 (SR) Brian Poole (5-10, 208) #7 (SO) Duke Dawson (5-11, 201)
CB #1 (JR) Vernon Hargreaves (5-11, 200) #35 (FR) Chris Williamson (6-0, 185)
CB #6 (SO) Quincy Wilson (6-1, 210) #31 (SO) Jalen Tabor (6-0, 197)

Florida Special Teams Two-Deep

K #98 (R-FR) Jorge Powell (5-10, 171) #16 (R-JR) Austin Hardin (5-10, 205)
P  #19 (R-SO) Johnny Townsend (6-1, 200) #16 (R-JR) Austin Hardin (5-10, 205)
KOR #4 (SO) Brandon Powell (5-9, 185) #81 (FR) Antonio Callaway (5-11, 206)
PR #81 (FR) Antonio Callaway (5-11, 206) #4 (SO) Brandon Powell (5-9, 185)
LS #41 (FR) Ryan Farr (6-0, 213) #47 (R-JR) Jonathan Haney (6-2, 210)
H #19 (R-SO) Johnny Townsend (6-1, 200)

Here is the rest of our coverage for the big game this week…

Gators, who else do you want?

Gators rallying around Treon Harris

Gators Opponent Preview: LSU

Behind Enemy Lines: Questions for LSU Insider

Davis turning into a star for the Gators

Fightin Gators Rapid Recap (10/14/15)

McElwain wants Gators to embrace opportunity

Gators trying to focus with distractions

Gators' Porter suspended after arrest

Leaders of Gators defense making them better

Gators preparing for Fournette

Gators' Midseason Positional Report Card

Gators will lean on defense

Fightin' Gators Rapid Recap (10/12/15)

Gators turning to Treon Harris

McElwain and Grier confirm suspension

Sources: Grier out for extended time

The real DBU visits LSU on Saturday


Fightin Gators Top Stories