Macklin in a Foul Mood

Florida center Vernon Macklin has not been much of a factor in the Gators' first two SEC games due to foul trouble. The 6-10 junior has totaled 10 points, four rebounds and nine fouls in Florida's losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. It's not physical play that's causing the officials to blow the whistle against the transfer from Georgetown, it's the little things.

Vernon Macklin said he is determined to put an end to the problem and the frustration it's causing.

"It's tough, but I guess it is mainly my fault. If I get in a better defensive stance I won't be getting those touch fouls. It's tough, it's kind of frustrating but I'm going to learn from it and stopping getting those touch fouls."

Macklin said his other issue with fouls has come from trying to challenge too many shots.

"If I don't have a chance I need to do something else instead of trying to block a shot I can't get to."

Macklin's lack of productivity has hurt the Gators offensively, but it's his absence from the defensive end that has hurt even more. Vanderbilt (.525) and Kentucky (.514) both made more than half their shots against the Gators. That's something only two of the Gators first 14 opponents were able to do. In the Gators first 14 games they allowed an average of just 59.3 point an outing, but in their two SEC games they've given up an average of 92 to the Commodores (95) and Wildcats (89).

Florida coach Billy Donovan said overall Macklin has done a pretty good job of avoiding foul trouble, averaging less than three a game, but the offensive minded big men in the first two SEC games provided a different kind of challenge.

"I think he's been okay with that, but now you're dealing with a Vanderbilt team that's playing (Festus) Ezeli and (A.J.) Ogilvy and they have a lot of depth in their front court. Then you look at Kentucky with Orton and Cousins and Patterson. Cousins has been dealing with foul trouble all season but it doesn't get talked about because they're throwing in Orton or Patterson and it doesn't really change their lineup. I think for us when Vern gets in foul trouble it's a noticeable difference because (we don't have) Kenny (Kadji) with his back injury we all of a sudden become a totally different looking team size-wise."

For the season Macklin is fifth on the team in scoring (9.9/g) and third on the team in rebounding (5.3). He has started all 16 Florida games, but is only sixth on the team in terms of playing time at 22.7 minutes a night. He leads the team with 17 blocked shots, but that number would be higher if he was giving the team five-to-ten more minutes a night.

Next up for the Gators a Saturday night game with LSU in the O'Dome.

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