Scouting Mississippi State Offense

Halfway to a perfect regular season the Florida Gators take their act on the road this weekend. The Gators will be heading to Starkville, Mississippi to take on the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Starkville has not been a welcoming place for Gator football teams. Florida has not won at Scott Field since 1985.

Now that sounds like a big deal, but the Gators have only been back to Starkville four times in the past 24 years.

The Gator defense has not faced an offense anything like the one they will see Saturday, unless of course you count practice. Former Gator offensive coordinator is in his first season as the Bulldogs boss and is running the same scheme he directed in Gainesville the previous four seasons. Mullen is 3-4 in his first season with the Bulldogs with a 15-3 win over Vandy their highlight win. However their best performance this season is probably a gut wrenching 30-26 loss to LSU where they had the ball on the Tigers goal line late in game. Their strength is definitely the power running game, something that gave Florida trouble against Arkansas and Tennessee, but not so much in the LSU game.

QB Tyson Lee (5-10, 190) is an undersized guy who runs the show. He's a decent enough runner (168, 3.7, 2) and passer (58.4%, 981, 3/6) but nothing special. We should also see Chris Reif who has seen quite a bit of playing time off the bench. He has decent numbers (passing- 213, 3/2 / rushing- 198, 6.0, 1) who is build like Tim Tebow.

The best player on the entire team is running back Anthony Dixon (696, 5.2, 7). He's the big back (6-1, 230) Florida has craved in this offense. Dixon is Mississippi State's all time leader (3,299, 37). Christian Ducree is a decent backup (240, 6.0, 1).

Receivers are solid, but not as good as Arkansas. Chad Bumphis leads the team (23, 11.6, 3) even though he isn't listed as a starter. He and TE Marcus Green (18, 13.2, 2) are the guys they look to for big plays. Leon Berry (14, 12.1) is another guy to watch. State will throw to the RB, especially third teamer Arnil Stallworth (8, 14.0) who is smaller and quicker than Dixon and Ducree.

The offensive line is a good solid group that has allowed just eight sacks and has created enough running room for 219 yards a game on the ground. LT Derek Sherrod is the best of the group and probably a second-team All-SEC.

Overall this is a capable but not a big play type unit. Mississippi State will almost certainly try to saddle up Dixon and ride him on long, time consuming scoring drives. With the Gators depleted in the middle of the defense with Lawrence Marsh probably out and Jaye Howard and Brandon Spikes coming off injuries getting three and outs on a regular basis is a big key for the game.

Tomorrow we'll break down the Bulldogs defense and special teams.


Fightin Gators Top Stories