Mark Richt vs. Charlie Strong

ATHENS -- This matchup has been on Mark Richt's mind for two months.

On Saturday, Mark Richt's offense will go up against Charlie Strong again. Strong, No. 23 Florida's defensive coordinator, was at South Carolina the last two years. His name came up in September when the Bulldogs were preparing to play the Gamecocks.

"Charlie isn't gone," Richt said then. "Charlie just moved to another part of the neighborhood."

In two games against Strong, Richt's offense has averaged 289.5 yards and totaled 12 points, all on field goals. Those are the kind of numbers that make a guy stick in your mind.

"I've never had a lot of success against Charlie," Richt said.

Gators coach Ron Zook hired Strong away from Coach Lou Holtz during the offseason, putting Strong on the Florida staff for the fourth time in his career.

"Obviously, it's a big plus for us because he knows the SEC," Zook said. "He knows the Eastern (Division). He knows how teams try to attack you, that's the big thing."

Strong hasn't brought the same 3-5-3 scheme (three down linemen, five linebackers and three defensive backs) he used with the Gamecocks to Florida. The Gators are use a more traditional 4-3-4.

"I don't think Charlie was always a 3-5-3 guy," Richt said. "I think it was something that South Carolina and Coach Holtz said we're doing it and they did."

Florida is ninth in the SEC in total defense this season, allowing 367 yards per game, but the Gators are much better in scoring defense, ranking fourth in the league and 19th in the country at 18 points per game.

"The thing about Charlie Strong is whatever he is coaching he coaches it with so much skill and intensity, they do it well," Richt said.

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