GAMEDAY: Ack's Insights vs. Mississippi Bulldogs

Florida faces Mississippi State this week in Starkville where the Bulldogs have won the last two meetings. This year, however, should produce a different result with new Coach Sly Croom looking to build the program back up to respectability. The Gators under Ron Zook have proven they can take care of business against the San Jose St.'s and Middle Tennesse State's of the world but now they must be able to do the same against inferior conference opponents.

UF must play a clean focused game this week to not only win but win impressively against the Bulldogs who lost at home two weeks ago by two touchdowns to UAB.

There are growing pains inside building any program and while UF was already established before Zook got to Florida his teams are looking to raise the bar back to where it was in the 90's. To do that Chris Leak must come out very sharp and prepare for everything that Miss St might throw at him. Leak has to get the entire arsenal involved early to take pressure off the defense and allow them to play loose. The Gator defense has put pressure on opposing quarterbacks the past two week because of the increased confidence in the secondary.

Snippetts and Tidbits…

I am not sure OJ Small is 100% right now but will still play. Reggie Lewis and/or Kenneth Tookes could see action in place of OJ as needed. I would keep Small's snaps at a minimum if UF can get control so that he does not further injure or reinjure his shoulder for Georgia. Ray McDonald is better but may not start in the game. Kenny Parker could get the nod next to Marcus Thomas. Terrence Holmes has been bothered by a sore hamstring yet he is getting better each week. Look for him to be on the field early and often as well as freshman Kyle Jackson. Deshawn Wynn had increased carries a week ago vs Middle Tennessee but that does not mean Ciatrick Fason is in the doghouse. Fason will continue to tote the rock when he is hot and has a chance to have a 100 yard game this week. Gavin Dickey was efficient in his performance last week and hopes to see some second half action again this week. This game is probably UF's best chance to pitch a shutout this season. Mississippi State is only averaging 12 points a game and although Jerrious Norwood is a nice back, the passing game is sporatic at best. One thing working in the Bulldog's favor is the fact that they had an open date last weekend.


UF's defense is currently 20+ yards lower (better) than it finished a season ago. This tells me they are only going to get better because of the youth and experience. Florida has three defensive backs with two interceptions which has all of them in the top ten. Dee Webb, Terrence Holmes, and Jarvis Herring each have double int's. One thing hurting UF on defense is the fact that the offense scores fast. Now if you score enough the defense should not care how fast (LSU/Tenn) but the Gators have had 15 scoring drives of less than a minute and a half. The Gators have more redzone touchdowns than any team in the league and they have played one less game than Auburn who is right next to them. UF continues to lead the conference in turnover margin, scoring offense , passing offense, and third down conversion offense. These stats underline the fact that UF is real close to being 6-0 but the fact remains they must deliver in close games down the stretch .

Players to watch: Kyle Jackson,Marcus Thomas,Andre Caldwell and Earl Everett.

Stat of the Week: 6. Number of sacks the Gator offensive line has given up through six games. Last season UF gave up 27 sacks on the season.

Prediction: UF 35-6.

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