1. Are the Gator fans as excited about this game as the Vols' faithful?
I think the honest answer is... no. Florida has been on both sides of a seven game streak and the team with all the wins just doesn't view the other as a hated rival at that point in time. Of course all of that changes real quick when that streak ends.
There are some that still live in the nineties and therefore they view the different shade of orange with a disdain deserved of in-laws, but I think the Gator faithful are more caught up in just getting back to being a top program right now than worrying about this particular contest.
2. What's the truth on injuries suffered last week against A&M and who definitely won't play?
There is one major injury on defense. Junior WILL linebacker Jelani Jenkins is a post season award candidate at the position and has played at a high level for over a year now. He is out for sure with a severe thumb injury that required surgery and may miss a month or so while he recovers. In his place will start true freshman Antonio Morrison who is playing great so far this season and they won't worry while he is in there. They will also play junior Mike Taylor at WILL who also plays MIKE for the Gators.
Junior cornerback Cody Riggs is a good player and broke a bone in his foot Saturday so he will miss the game. However, the Gators are pretty deep at corner and get nickel back Pop Saunders back for this contest, so they still feel very confident with who they have in the secondary.
On offense the real key is how much running back Mike Gillislee can go. The staff has said all week he is fine, but he pulled up with a groin injury last week and couldn't finish the game. We shall see on Saturday how much he can go. His immediate backup is sophomore Mack Brown who is big and strong, but has much less experience. True freshman Matt Jones will get reps and I think if Gillislee is out more than they would like you will see junior Trey Burton run the ball as well as more quarterback draws and runs from Jeff Driskel.
3. I don't see an area of weakness in the Florida offense, yet they have struggled to convert on third down (less than 30 percent). What is the cause of their lack on success third down?
A little stubbornness on the coaches' part with running straight into an out-numbered box, a little bit of protecting rookie quarterbacks, and a little bit of not as much horsepower on the line of scrimmage as they would like at this time.
4. Have you noticed any change in the temperament of coach Muschamp from last year to this?
He's a little cooler head than last year, but they haven't lost yet either. There was a few times in the opener when he lost it due to penalties and the bone headed flags are the ones that really seem to set him off the most. The gators only had three penalties in the second game so even though they got down by 10 points at one time, he stayed cool.
5. How good is the No. 2 RB and what would you expect to see out of him?
I talked a little about Mack Brown above. He's got good size in about 216 pounds and he can run hard. He has very little time on the field yet and he has been slow to learn the various offenses he has been a part of in the last three years. He seems to be a hard runner that carries the ball safely. I just don't think he can run the whole offense yet so I believe if Gillislee can't go or is very limited, they will have to use a few different options at running back to ease the load all the way around.
6. How do you think the dynamic of this game has changed from past years, given that Florida had a tough road game at Texas A&M this year, instead of two layups.
I think that game will be very helpful for Florida. If you watched it you saw that Driskel took five sacks where he could have easily thrown the ball away, they weren't products of bad protection. That should be an easy fix and one that was good for the staff to realize in an environment like that. They also got over the whole road noise thing on offense with the very loud crowd in College Station.
It really just helps Driskel more than anyone in my opinion and going on the road and winning like that was a big positive for him.
7. Who are the two fastest guys on the team? Love this question and really it is not something i have thought of until now. Last year the answer would have been easy with world class sprinter Jeff Demps on the squad and a very fast Deonte Thompson, both are playing in the NFL now.
Florida is still a very fast team overall. Guys like Andre Debose at receiver and Jaylen Watkins at corner are burners. Mike Gillislee is very fast as well with his 208 pounds that he carries. Senior free safety Josh Evans is over 220 pounds and could run for quite a few track teams around the country.
But, I will say the two fastest guys on the field for the Gators are probably sophomore receiver Solomon Patton and sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy. Patton has started to earn more playing time and is the key guy on reveres on offense and Purifoy could start at cornerback for the Gators this Saturday.