MATCH UP BREAKDOWN
|Florida's secondary vs FAMU's wide
This is the one area of concern for Gator fans. The UF secondary is experienced and talented but may still be suffering from a hangover in Miami. The unit gave up a ton of yards in a short period of time by sitting back and not attacking. FAMU runs the "Gulf Coast " offense, which is an up-tempo wide open attack. It will be much like facing Miami's two minute drill minus the talent of the Hurricanes. I expect Florida will play more man-to-man on the field side (Keiwan Ratliff) but depending on success of the Rattler offense will have to play some zone coverage. The pass rush can help this matchup. Johnny Lamar should be healthy and ready to build on his terrific performance versus Miami. Demetrice Webb is a key component who needs to see his first action of the season. The Rattler receiving corps of Miller, Alexander and Demps have combined for 26 catches in two games.
|Florida's run game vs FAMU's run defense
The Rattler defense has not allowed a 100 yard rusher in the first two games. Jeff Green (#13) is the best defensive end, while Shedrick Copeland (#31) is a talented outside linebacker. The Rattlers like to run and eight-man front with a 4-4 look. They will be in a lot of man-to-man coverage and if the running backs can get outside they can deliver some big runs. Defensive end Sean Kelly (#42) likes to get up the field and will take himself out of the run but will get after the passer. Green plays the run well and a year ago had 23 tackles for loss. The defensive tackles have solid size at 294 and 290 but are not very mobile and get tired quickly. The success is about numbers. FAMU tries to overload the box every down and create havoc with more men than you can block. Florida will spread them out and should have success in the running game. Look for big gains by chunks and not consistent yards from the Gator backs.
|Florida's passing game vs FAMU 's
The Rattlers like many MEAC teams tend to play a lot of man coverage. The safety in the middle is senior Levy Brown (#11) who played at Miami Northwestern. Billy Joe is still trying to figure out which corner combination works for him. Tight end Ben Troupe should find himself in match up advantages all day. UF should be able to get the ball down the field especially to the outside receivers. The key will be protection and play calling. If Ingle Martin will take the chances down the field they will be there for him early and often. Florida's backs must do a good job of recognizing blitzes and stunts from the aggressive Rattler front.
|Florida's defensive line vs FAMU offensive
The Rattler offensive line has struggled in the first two weeks of the season and gave up six sacks a week ago versus Morgan St. Rattler quarterback Ben Dougherty is athletic and will make plays with his feet, despite his size, which is 6'4". Fletcher Williams (#62) is the best offensive lineman at left tackle but expect a bunch of different guys working next to him as FAMU looks to find the right combo of new guys including JUCO players. This line struggles with the blitz and stunts. Expect UF's defensive ends to break through and register their first sacks this week. UF has played it pretty standard up front allowing Ray McDonald to use is quickness to beat big guards. The key for Florida will be getting off to a fast start and creating pressure from the edge on the Rattler O-Line.
|Special Teams Analysis:
The Florida Gators will add a wrinkle to their kickoff coverage to get a better handle on the other team's return game. It will be subtle but expect UF to improve their coverage. Rattler punter Damon Miller is averaging 45 yards per punt and last year versus Miami punted 14 times. I think Florida will try to pressure Miller and record another blocked punt on the season. We could also see Dee Webb in the kick return game and I don't expect Eric Wilbur to get much work this week.
Florida is emotionally drained while the Rattlers should be emotionally charged. The key for UF is to start quickly and get into a rhythm. One factor that will go in UF's favor is it's youth and inexperience. Young players look forward to proving themselves more so than an older established veteran. With the depth at the skill positions the Gators will keep attacking in the second half. This has the making of ugly, sloppy start and creativity with a special play could help energize the Gator effort. I think the Gators start slow but pull away for victory.
MY PREDICTION: Gators 56-12