Scouting Report: Troy Offense

The Gator coaching staff has an easy time getting their players' attention this week. While the Gators know that they have work to do, they also got a boost from Appalachian State. The Mountaineers' win over Michigan is being used by every top program to remind their guys what can happen.

That shouldn't have been necessary with Troy, however. Troy was very competitive against FSU (24-17) and Georgia Tech (35-20) last season and last week trailed Arkansas by just six (23-17) at the half.

The Gators showed their defense has a long way to go with the opening possession against Western Kentucky last Saturday. Florida has to get dramatically more push and disruption from the defensive tackle spot and the coverage in the secondary must be tighter.

Both those areas will be tested when Troy comes to town for the Saturday night match-up. Troy will play four wide receivers most of, if not all, of the game, and that will force the Gators to improve and expand their coverage. Additionally, Troy will run its quarterbacks so the ability of each defensive lineman to get some penetration while maintaining discipline in the rush lanes will definitely be important.

Quarterback ----- Omar Haugabrook is a talented passer and dangerous runner. He struggled against Arkansas (15-43/204 yards/1 TD/1 INT) but he is better than that as evidenced by his 61 percent completion rate last season. Haugabrook ran for 38 yards against Arkansas and one of his backups, Jamie Hampton, gained 72 yards running against the Razorbacks as well, so keeping the quarterback in the pocket has to be a major priority for the Gator defense.

Running Back ----- Kenny Cattouse is pretty much their entire running attack. He's a decent back who gained more than 800 yards a year ago, but managed just 44 yards on 15 carries against Arkansas. While Troy ran for 162 yards against Arkansas, quarterbacks accounted for 115 of it.

Wide Receiver ----- Troy has plenty of talent and depth here, led by Gary Banks who caught five passes in the Arkansas game. Gerald Tate (2 rec./19.0/1 TD) scored in the opener and eight other receivers caught passes in that game. The receiving corps looks like it has more speed than Western Kentucky and more depth. They will provide a good challenge for the Gator defensive backs.

Offensive Line ----- This is where Troy has a long way to go. They have just one starter back in left tackle Chris Jamison, and the rest of the line is unproven. They only allowed one sack against Arkansas, but I believe a big part of that is the running ability of Haugabrook and the other quarterbacks. Florida needs to win the battle in the trenches to better control the running of the quarterbacks and make life easier for the rebuilt Florida secondary.

All in all, this is a pretty good offensive football team, a little better than Western Kentucky at full strength. Keep in mind that Western had a very effective drive to start the game before losing its number one quarterback. Assuming Haugabrook is able to go the distance, look for Troy to have more success in both yardage and scoring than the Hilltoppers did.

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