Know Your Foe: Florida

LSU and Florida will square off in the Swamp Saturday night with both teams desperate for a win. TSD gets an in-depth look at the Gators from insider Bob Redman of FightinGators.com.

1. There's obviously a black cloud hanging over this game with the Treon Harris suspension and ongoing investigation. How will the team balance these distractions with preparing for LSU?

Redman: Not sure we will really know how it will mess with the team psyche, but as far as preparations go we should remember that Driskel was supposed to play the whole game against Tennessee so that preparation won't change. The number two guy will be different now and either red-shirt sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg who has experience over but not the arm talent of true freshman Will Grier.

I would hope that this team would rally around Driskel now. There has been a sense from the fans and people outside that the team wanted a change. That change is out the door now and maybe this will help them focus on the guy they need to do well.

2. It seemed the Florida coaches finally felt a change was needed at quarterback. Now that Jeff Driskel is thrust back into the starting role, what will be his confidence, and do his teammates have faith he can get the job done?

Redman: I think his confidence has to be a little shaken, but he is a really tough kid and has had some tough moments before. As mentioned above, that faith didn't seem to be there, and he is not the leader type you would hope could rally the guys. That is an issue on offense with lack of leaders, but someone needs to step up and let everyone know they need him and he needs them.

3. The win against Tennessee wasn't pretty, but it seemed to alleviate some of the pressure on Will Muschamp. Is he still on the hot seat? How beneficial would a win be against LSU or how damaging would a loss?

Redman: I think that hot seat is at least warm through the next three games. If the Gators can find a way to go through the LSU, Missouri at home, and Georgia in Jacksonville games with a 2-1 record, things will get much better. I also think the public hot seat in this instance doesn't equal that of the Athletic Director's. He is not the guy that is going to make a swift decision on anything like this and will let things play out quite a bit before anything happens.

4. Should Driskel continue to struggle, does Florida have the ability to control the game on the ground and exploit LSU's biggest weakness, which has been up the middle of its defense?

Redman: I absolutely believe that will be Florida's plan and yes they are running pretty well these days. Junior Matt Jones has three 100-yard performances in the first four games and has been an inspiration coming back from a strange injury a year ago. Sophomore Kelvin Taylor hasn't quite got on track, but it should be coming. Lastly, this is probably the best the offensive line has performed since Will Muschamp has been the coach at Florida and after being under three different coordinators and line coaches.

5. LSU's offense is still finding its stride, and the quarterback position is still somewhat a question mark. How will the Gator defense take advantage of that, and what would be LSU's best game plan to attack it?

Redman: Florida had to make a change in the secondary this past week and it seemed to cure a lot of ills. The big move was getting someone in the NICKEL that could cover slot receivers. Alabama and Kentucky abused that position in those two games. Florida moved Brian Poole back to that position after he played it very well last year and had to play a true freshman at cornerback in Jalen Tabor. Not only was the NICKEL position solved, but Tabor got freshman of the week honors from the conference.

There was just too much confusion going on in the back end as they tried to mask the problem in the secondary and now they can basically play their regular defenses that we are accustomed to seeing and hopefully won't have the busts that have led to very long scores.

Florida will likely go after the quarterback hard in passing situations. They are big on contain with running threats, so it will be controlled blitzes, but they will try and force the hand, especially since they feel better on the back end now.

I think for LSU to be productive on offense they will have to be able to run the ball despite a good group up front for Florida and definitely the deepest since Muschamp has been the coach. But, they will have to make big plays in the passing game as well. Florida found themselves in trouble on defense against Kentucky and Alabama when they gave up huge plays. Otherwise, they are tenacious around the ball and lead the conference in turnover margin with +8 and gaining two more a game than their opponents are against them. If they make opponents drive the field, good things usually happen for this Gator defense.



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