Scouting MSU Defense, Special Teams

While the Gators will be playing mirror images of themselves when the Bulldogs have the ball that really won't be the case when the Gators look to score. The Bulldogs have been very much a hit or miss defense through seven games.

In their three victories State has held its three opponents to single digits. However in their four losses the defense has been virtually invisible, allowing an average of 38 points in those setbacks. It isn't one thing that has done them, in. They have had good number against the run OR the pass in those games, but not both.

The defensive line has good size and is led by one standout player in DE Pernell McPhee who has 2.5 sacks. They try to plug the middle with hefty DT Kyle Love who is a solid run stopper.

The LB are big and physical but not real fast. K.J. Wright (47), Jamar Chaney (46), and Chris White (42) are the top three tacklers on the team. Each of them weighs about 245 or so and that makes them tough to run inside on. Florida ran a lot of dive plays that were unsuccessful against Arkansas, but should focus the running game this week on trying to exploit a significant speed advantage.

The secondary is typical of the overall defense in that they have both good things and bad things to point to. The Bulldogs have grabbed nine interceptions, but also allow 228 yards a game through the air. The play at CB has not been great, but freshman Corey Broomfield has three INT and may have forced his way into the starting lineup. SS Charles Mitchell has two INT and he and Broomfield each have a TD; one against Houston and other against Jackson State.

Still the Gators have to feel they have a great opportunity here since two passing challenged teams, LSU and Auburn had good days in the air against Mississippi State this team.

Overall this is a solid defense, especially up front. Florida needs to use speed in the running game and exploit a mediocre secondary.

Mississippi State Special ---- They have been solid here, notably with two blocked kicks. They are fair on punt return with just one return over 15 yards, but better on kickoff return KOR with Leon Berry who has a 26.3 yard average and an 89 yard TD. They do not cover punts well, allowing 13 per including a TD. Their kick coverage is pretty sound. They use two place kickers who are combined 10-14 on FG. Punter Heath Hutchins (40.4) is so-so but when he kicks it well he gets 40 percent fair catches. This might be a good opportunity for the Gators to spring Brandon James who has struggled to find running room on punt returns this season.


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