Florida will ends its three game home stand this weekend, when the Gators welcome North Texas. The Mean Green is 1-1 on the season and is coming off a 41-20 win over Bethune-Cookman. The game on Saturday could be considered a trap game, however, quarterback Luke Del Rio is not so sure.
"The biggest goal every week, and it doesn't change, is to go 1-0," said Del Rio. What you learn in a game like Saturday [against Kentucky] is that it doesn't matter who you play, it matters how you execute the game plan and the intensity and the enthusiasm to which you are playing... If you worry about the other team and not doing your job, then you are not going to play well."
North Texas head coach Seth Littrell picked up his first victory as a head coach after his offense had a break through game last week.
The Mean Green was led by it's ground attack which gained 329 yards rushing. Junior running back Will Ivey will one to watch, he had 103 yards on 13 carries, while fellow junior Jeffrey Wilson, amassed 83 yards on 14 carries.
The passing game is still a working progress, however. Littrell is expected to play two quarterback on Saturday: Mason Fine and Alec Morris. Fine went 11 of 22 for 108 yards in his collegiate debut. The freshman also rushed for 46 yards on eight runs. Morris is a graduate transfer, who spent time as a backup at Alabama before his transfer. He started in the opening game, however, came off the bench in the win over Bethune-Cookman. In the win over the Wildcats, Morris went 4 of 11 and had one interception.
"We've got to do a great job of containing. The guy [Fine] that came in for Alec there last game, we're going to have to keep him in the pocket and not allow him to make explosive plays moving around," said Florida head Jim McElwain. "Now this quarterback that we’re playing this week is a quick, shifty, he’ll get out of the way. I’m sure they’re going to do a lot of things, seven-man protection, full slide, double guys off the edge, things like that to give him some time."
The Mean Green defense is thin. Last year the defense yielded over 40 point a game on average, however, received a certain boost this week after only surrendering one score against Bethune-Cookman. First year defensive coordinator at North Texas, Mike Ekeler, has plenty of new faces to work with, however, he does have a few veterans on the side as well.
He inherited a good group of experienced linebackers including seniors Fred Scott and Cortney Finney. He has also added JUCO transfers William Johnson, who was once committed to Nebraska, Ejodamen Eiya. Eiya and Johnson are not the only transfers in the front seven. North Texas also welcomed fellow transfers defensive end Josh Wheeler and Bryce English.
The Mean Green do have a coupe of pass rushers to keep an eye on. Senior defensive end, Jarrian Robert, led the team in tackles and sacks last year, while Malik Dilonga has also proved to be effective in the edge as well
As far as the secondary goes, watch out for safeties Kishawn McClwain and James Gray and corners Nate Brooks and Chad Davis.
"You know, offensively [for the Gators], looking for consistent performance up front," said McElwain. "That's really kind of the goal for us, because they do come with a lot of different pressure schemes. Some Will/free safety stuff that we haven't seen. We've got to handle their pressures and not allow us to have negative plays. That'll be the main concern as we move forward this week in preparation for another opportunity in the Swamp."