Your Gators: What We Gleaned This Week

We never know all the answers leading into the opening game of a season. Even with a team that has as much returning as the Gators, there are always going to be some questions answered and some left unanswered early on. The Charleston Southern game cleared up a few things and since then we have been able to glean a few others. Here is a checklist of things to look for when the Gators play Troy.

First we can start with injuries with the Florida Gators.

This week we learned that freshman receiver Andre Debose will definitely be out for the year and will have surgery to reconnect a hamstring tendon to bone. That is a significant setback this year with the plans they had for the dynamic play maker, but they will have to move on without him.

Senior receiver Carl Moore is still out with his back injury.

Carl Johnson should be 100% as the junior offensive guard recovered quickly from an ankle injury that saw him go down in the Charleston Southern game.

On defense it appears that starting junior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh and freshmen linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Brendan Beal will likely miss the game due to different injuries. All are expected back early next week.

Junior linebacker Brandon Hicks missed some practice time this week but should be back.

Freshman cornerback Jeremy Brown is still out with a back injury.

Others that should return to play...

Head coach Urban Meyer said this week that linebacker Dustin Doe, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham should all be ready to play this week against Troy. All three were held out of game one for various issues, but have had good weeks of practice.

Things we will see on the field...

Offense

The whole offensive staff was pretty giddy about the first time the new Banzai up-tempo offensive format was used last Saturday. It worked well with both the older guys and the young ones and looks to be something they will incorporate during certain times of the game.

The Gators have made it a point to speed it up faster in practice than it ever will happen in a game so when they trotted out there Saturday and ran it,things came easy to them. I believe as the season goes on, this will be utilized more and more in the offense. They keep it to a very few formations and personnel sets right now.

If you are looking to see Tim Tebow under center, my guess is this is the week to see it. They didn't break it out last week and I honestly don't think it will be a staple, but they are saying we will see it against Troy. In the end, I believe it will be a short yard staple, but nothing more than that as the season progresses.

It isn't as though they aren't settled on an offensive line,it's just that six guys are playing at a very high level. That said, look for James Wilson at guard and Matt Patchan at left tackle to get a lot of snaps at their respective positions and for Carl Johnson to still jockey between the left guard and left tackle spot.

It appears that Omarius Hines has taken a slight lead over the other second team receivers not named David Nelson. Hines is a little bigger and has great speed, if he can catch on mentally he could be a real threat in the offense and soon.

Look for Brandon James and Jeff Demps to be utilized a great deal in the slot position this week. They should both get the ball short from that position so they can try and make plays after the catch from just beyond the line of scrimmage or even behind it.

We also got the real sense that Emmanuel Moody will become more of a factor moving forward, at least that is what they want to do if he can stay healthy. This would be great for Demps time spent in the slot.

At tight end, look for Matt Patchan to start getting some looks. Aaron Hernandez is the only scholarship tight end that is going to play this year, and according to Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio, Patchan has the tools they can use as an in-line or flexed tight end.

"We are trying to get the right people in place so we can take care of it," Addazio said of the lack of depth at the position. "We get into the situations where we don't have a tight end.

"Matt Patchan is a guy that can handle that (position) as well. He is very athletic and fast guy. We are utilizing fullbacks in a different set.

"We are looking for a guy with more experience right now, more game ready, and I think a guy like Matt Patchan fits that mold. He is a 6-7 fast guy, he can do it all. He is a legitimate candidate."

Defense...

The first thing we should notice on defense is the return of Jermaine Cunningham, Janoris Jenkins, and at some point Dustin Doe. Cunningham, Jenkins and Lawrence marsh were big ones missing from the starting line up last week.

We should notice a great deal more heat on the quarterback. The Gators will blitz much more often this week and moving forward and utilize their skill in the secondary to play man on man a lot allowing for more blitzing. Last week was a very vanilla defense according to Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong.

"Very vanilla, we played base defense, ran a corner blitz (sometimes)," Strong told the media on Wednesday. "We ran three defenses total last week. It gave a lot of our young guys a chance to play."

It will change this week as the defense will look to game plan drives like they will have to do all season.

"We want to play a lot of defenses because of the schedule and what is ahead of us," Strong said.

Omar Hunter should start at the Nose, but Troy Epps and Brandon Antwine played well last week and will get significant time and play early against Troy.

With Jenkins back, I am looking for Markihe Anderson to play in the nickel a great deal on Saturday with Jenkins and Haden out at the corners.

Look for the safeties to continue their three man rotation with sophomore Will Hill and Juniors Ahmad Black and Major Wright. My guess is that Hill and Wright will start again this week, but we will get a heavy dose of Black before the game is over.


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