#8 Florida Gators (9-1, 7-1) vs. Florida Atlantic Owls (2-8)
Saturday November 14, 2015; 12 Noon
Gainesville, Florida; Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
TV: SEC NETWORK
Here are ten things we want to see or think about as the Florida Gators take the next step in their schedule.
Rain – The Gators haven’t played in the rain at all this year. One of the opening games had some showers maybe a little into the contest, but that is about it. They have practiced in the rain, especially before they were able to get into the new indoor practice facility in late August, but not many times since then. There is a 50% chance of rain at game time and a wet field and weather should favor the defense and Florida’s defense is BY FAR the best unit on the field.
David Sharpe – He will likely miss the game and this didn’t bode well in the first half of the Vanderbilt contest. Certainly the Owls defense (ranked 91st nationally) is nowhere near that of Vanderbilt who is a top ten unit. Hopefully this is a good time to find a new player or two that can get in there and play as the lack of backups playing on the offensive line is a concern for a unit that has struggled even with the starters in there.
D-Line Injuries – The Gators will miss Alex McCalister, Joey Ivie, and Jordan Sherit up front as they all sit out with injuries. That shouldn’t matter as this defensive line is likely the deepest in the country and the deepest I can ever remember in Gainesville with players they are not afraid to rotate at any time.
Mix it up on offense – The Owl’s defense is ranked 91st in the country nationally, but they are equally as bad stopping the run and the pass ranking 87th in both categories. What a great time to open up the play book and really run and throw whenever you want. I expect it to happen, unless the rain is a huge influence.
Eye Test Win – Georgia and Ole Miss were certainly eye test wins, but the Gators have been kind of winning ugly ever since. The College Playoff Committee hasn’t seen these Gators look like they belong in a while. It is time to let it all out on Saturday and look good doing it.
Work For Young Backs – I would like to see Kelvin Taylor hit the 100 yard mark early in the game and then really get some work in for Jordan Cronkrite and Jordan Scarlett. Taylor deserves to reach that 1,000 yard plateau and he needs about 270 more yards in four games to do it. That would be right at about his 73.6 yards a game average, so let’s knock a bigger chunk of it out in this game. But goodness, let’s really get a solid look at Scarlett and Cronkrite with 7-10 carries each.
Work In A Fourth Receiver – Florida is now getting action from two back up running backs, and from three tight ends in the offense. Senior Demarcus Robinson, sophomore Brandon Powell, and freshman Antonio Callaway have 47, 25, and 25 receptions respectively on the season, but Ahmad Fulwood is next on the list with just six. Find someone ready to go make a play and let’s add a fourth receiver to that mix before they get down to the nitty gritty end of the season.
Get Williamson Some Reps – Just like at receiver, the Gators rely on four corners to play three spots. An injury and there is no one else with any real reps to run in there. The only opinion they have at all is freshman Chris Williamson who has played and won’t be red-shirting this season. Now is the time to get him some real action in the game and get some of those nerves out that may bother him down the line.
Injury Free – None of the four guys with injuries above are expected to be out too much longer. With the likely rain on Saturday it is important to stay injury free as they head to the end of the season. It has been something this team has been very fortunate with and it needs to continue.
Watching The CFP Field – The Gators sit 8th in the College Football Playoff Poll. There are logistically four teams in the top nine that have a realistic shot of losing on Saturday and only two of those four teams play each other. An early game will be great for the fans and anyone that might be distracted by later games when #3 Ohio State plays #9 Michigan State, #6 Oklahoma State plays #10 Baylor, and #7 Oklahoma plays #18 TCU. Losses from Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma would likely leap the Gators up to fifth if they can look good defeating the Owls at the same time.