Pounceys Back at Practice

After a difficult early part of the week for the Florida Gators, both Michael and Maurkice Pouncey were back at practice on Wednesday. Both twins missed practice on Tuesday after traveling down to Lakeland to visit with their step-father who was injured in a work related accident.

With the Pounceys back, the only injury concerns for the Gators remain on defense, specifically the defensive line. Lawrence Marsh ran around on Wednesday, but he's still questionable for Saturday.

"Marsh, we haven't done anything with him, but Brandon Antwine is practicing," defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said. "If Marsh can't go, we'll go with Brandon Antwine. We can also rotate in Terron Sanders and Torrey Davis. We can also rotate Jaye Howard in there."

Strong said Marsh is likely a game time decision, but it will be tough since he hasn't practiced all week.

A big change for the Gator defense this year versus last year is the depth on defense. Matt Patchan is out for a few weeks and with Marsh likely out, that would have crippled the defense a year ago.

"If you look at the linebacker position, you have Ryan Stamper, Brandon Spikes Brandon Hicks, A.J. Jones, you have enough guys that if one of them slips another one comes in," Strong said. "Guys understand that. There's competition at every position. You look at this game last year, and we played with Wondy Pierre-Louis, Markihe Anderson and Jacques Rickerson. Now we're going into this game with Joe Haden, Janoris Jenkins and our nickel is Will Hill."

At defensive tackle, one of the wildcards all season has been Torrey Davis. His off the field issues have prevented him from seeing more time, but he's starting to right the ship, and Strong is confident when he's on the field.

"We have confidence because he's been in practice with us," Strong said. "He's played some plays, but not a lot. He's going to have to play, so when he hits the field we know what to expect."

In the spring, Strong never could have envisioned the Gator defense looking this good. Florida ranks ninth in the nation despite having a very young squad.

"It's not the coach, it's good players," Strong said. "I wouldn't of thought we would have come this far this quickly. I would have said this is a year to improve and next year will be our year because it will be three years into the system."

One of the biggest areas of improvement is their willingness to run to the football.

"They run to the football," Strong said. "We have one motto on this team, and it's to run to the play. When we turn on the film, we look to see if they ran to the ball. In order to win, you have to run to the football."

When Florida faces Florida State on Saturday, they'll face a slightly different offense than they've faced in recent years. Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder, the Noles have some spread option elements to the offense.

"The reason why is the quarterback," Strong said. "He does a good job of just running the ball. It allows them to run a lot of option. Plus if you look at the guys they have on the perimeter that they can get the ball to and will make you miss."

Strong said Ponder's strength isn't necessarily throwing the ball, but running the offense.

"Just comparing him to Weatherford, Weatherford could probably throw the ball better, but Ponder is not trying to," he said. "He's doing a great job of just trying to run their offense."

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