Scouting Cincinnati Defense and Special

While Cincinnati's offense poses a tremendous challenge for the Gator defense, the same cannot be said about the Bearcats' defense. Cincy lacks strength up front and speed in the secondary as compared to the best units the Gators have seen this year.

The Bearcats gave up 146 points (36.5/g) in the final four contests of the season, and although they won those games they showed themselves to be highly susceptible to a power running game. It just so happens that Florida has more power to its running attack than any team Cincinnati has faced this season.

Cincy gives up and average of 141 yards a game on the ground, but that number, which is neither great nor terrible is deceptive. In the last four games the ‘Cats have allowed an average of 191 yards with 11 TD. By comparison the Gators have allowed six rushing TD all season.

The issues start up front where the team just gets very few big plays out of its three man front. DE Alex Daniels is the best of the trio and leads the team with 6.5 sacks. The team has been credited with an impressive 35 sacks, but only six in the last five games. The other DL are just okay.

The LB make most of the tackles with is the case with most defenses and ALL three down schemes. ILB Andre Revels (103) and JK Schaffer (90) are by far the top two tacklers on the team, but only nine of those 193 stops have been for loss. The OLB Walter Stewart and Curtis Young are pretty active guys, but they get knocks on their butts a lot.

The secondary is just okay. The best player is FS Aaron Webster who has four INT, but it's not a good sign that he's also third on the team with 62 tackles. Florida should be able exploit a significant speed advantage over Cincinnati CB Dominique Battle and Brad Jones.

Overall this is a defense that Florida should be able to do with as it pleases. The thing Florida needs to do is use the power running game to keep Pike and the Cincy offense on the sidelines and cash in scoring opportunities to create a sense of urgency. The Gators also need to be mentally focused on playing 60 minutes because the Bearcats showed tremendous resolve in rallying past Pittsburgh to finish 12-0 and win the Big East Title.

Cincinnati Special Teams ---- The ‘Cats are kind of a mixed bunch here with some tremendous strengths and obvious weaknesses. The greatest strength is Mardy Gillyard as both a Kick (31.6, 2) and punt (12.6, 1) return threat. His three TD certainly has gotten Florida's attention. They cover kicks pretty well (19.9), but punt coverage (11.5, 1) has not been as good.

Cincinnati's punter Jacob Rodgers is decent (41.5) but hang time is inconsistent and he has had one blocked. Rodgers is even less impressive as a FG kicker making just 12-of-18 and only 5-of-14 beyond 30 yards. They have not blocked a kick all year.

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