Scouting Report: Florida

There were a number of surprises in the SEC last week but Florida's 14-6 win at home over No. 3 ranked LSU may have been the biggest. The Gators (5-0, 3-0) visit Nashville with the third ranked scoring defense in the SEC allowing opponents just 11.4 points per game.

There were a number of surprises in the SEC last week but Florida's 14-6 win at home over No. 3 ranked LSU may have been the biggest. The Gators (5-0, 3-0) visit Nashville with the third ranked scoring defense in the SEC allowing opponents just 11.4 points per game. Florida's rushing game, led by senior running back Mike Gillislee, wears down opposing defenses and dominates the time of possession at 35:18 per game.

The Gator offense had trouble with the LSU defense and trailed at the end of the half 6-0. LSU had problems with Florida's defense and was held to a pair of fields goals, one of which was the result of a Jeff Driskel fumble deep in Florida territory.

Florida took a 7-6 lead late in the third quarter on an untouched, 12-yard Gillislee touchdown scamper right through LSU's defense.

The play of the game may have been on the LSU's ensuing series when LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger hit Odell Beckham deep down the sideline for what would have been a 56-yard gain. Florida strong safety Matt Elam caught up with Beckham and forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow safety De'Ante Saunders.

The Gators took 5:55 minutes and 11-straight rushing plays and ended the drive with another untouched 12-yard touchdown run by Gillislee. It would be all the offense needed, as LSU only marched as far as the Gator 49-yard line the entire second half. LSU was held to 200 total yards of offense to Florida's 237.

On Monday Florida coach Will Muschamp noted the Gators will work on being more balanced on offense. In 333 total plays this season, the Gators have run the ball 71 percent of the time. Gillislee leads the Gator offense with 548 yards rushing and 7 rushing touchdowns while leading the SEC with 109.6 rushing yards per game. The senior running back won SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his 146 yards on a career-high 34 carries and 2 scores. Signal caller Jeff Driskel was 8 for 12 for 61 yards, and was sacked 5 times against the Tigers. Through five games Driskel is 63 for 91 for 759 yards and four scores. The sophomore quarterback is second on the team rushing for 149 yards and a score.

Trey Burton is third on the team in rushing at 99 rushing yards. On just 3 carries, 91 of those rushing yards and two scores came in Florida's 37-20 win over Tennessee. The junior fullback adds 6 receptions for 66 yards receiving on the season.

True freshman Matt Jones and redshirt sophomore Mack Brown have 40 carries between them but have been unable to find the end zone for the Gators.

Jordan Reed leads the Gators in receptions (19) and yardage (223) at tight end. The 6-3, 243 pound redshirt junior hurdled a defender at Texas A&M and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass that put the Gators up for good against the Vols.

Frankie Hammond Jr. is a big downfield threat with a 20.3 yard per catch average. The redshirt senior leads the Gators with two receiving touchdowns including the longest Florida completion of the year, a 75-yard touchdown pass against UT in Knoxville that gave the Gators a 34-20 lead.

Redshirt sophomore Quinton Dunbar has contributed well after starting five games in 2011. The receiver is second on the team with 12 receptions for 124 yards and a score.

Redshirt senior Omarius Hines has been used at both tight end and fullback this year. Though listed at tight end, Hines has 6 carries for 31 yards and a score, and 7 receptions for 106 yards receiving.

The Gator 4-3 defense gets tougher late in games. Florida currently outscores opponents 41-0 in the fourth quarter. In a trip to College Station, Texas, the Gators held an Aggie offense that averages 44.6 points per game to just 17 points. Middle linebacker Jon Bostic has been lights out for the Gators with 28 tackles, including 5 for a loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass break ups, and 2 quarterback hurries.

Linebacker Lerentee McCray has also been very consistent with 14 tackles, 4½ for a loss, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a 25-yard interception return that set up a Gator touchdown against Tennessee.

Matt Elam has impressive in his second year starting for the Gators with 26 tackles, 3 for a loss, a sack, and an interception,. The junior safety shared SEC Defensive Player of the Week with LSU linebacker Kevin Minter (20 tackles) for his team leading 7 tackles, 1 for a loss, and a game-changing forced fumble.

Weak-side linebacker Jelani Jenkins has been nursing a hamstring injury but is expected to be back for Vanderbilt.

Michael Taylor has also been a force for the Gators at linebacker. The redshirt sophomore has totaled 19 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, a sack, and a pick.

Linebacker Lerentee McCray has been disruptive for opposing offenses with 2½ tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, and an interception returned 25 yards against Tennessee.

Safety Josh Evans leads the Gators in tackles (31) and tallied 5 tackles, including one for a loss and a sack against LSU last week. Cornerback Cody Riggs has been ruled out while recovering a fractured foot.

Cornerback Marcus Roberson started 10 games as a true freshman in 2011 and currently leads the secondary with 6 pass break ups and an interception returned for 31 yards. Cornerback Jaylen Watkins returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown against Kentucky. The junior has a team high 2 interceptions with 11 tackles, and 5 pass break ups.

Junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has been a force inside for Florida with 18 tackles, 3½ for a loss, and 2 quarterback hurries. Redshirt sophomore Leon Orr sits opposite Floyd with 11 tackles and 3 tackles for a loss this year. In the middle at nose tackle, Omar Hunter leads the defensive line with 19 tackles and 2 pass break ups.

Florida punter Kyle Christy leads the SEC averaging 46.5 yards per punt. The sophomore played a big role in the Gators win over LSU, with a season-long punt of 61 yards as well as punts of 51, 53, and 57 yards.

Placekicker Caleb Sturgis is 6 for 7 from field goal range with his lone miss coming from 39 yards against Kentucky. Sturgis hit a season-long field goal of 51 yards along with a 25-yarder in Florida's 20-17 victory at Texas A&M. The redshirt senior kicker had a 39-yard field goal blocked against Kentucky and hit a season-high, 3 field goals of 20, 25, and 49 yards against Tennessee.

In four punt returns junior receiver Andre Debose has a long return of 13 yards and 22 punt return yards in 4 returns. Debose has also handled kick return responsibilities for the Gators averaging 19.8 yards per kick return and was a man away from bringing one back at the end of the first half against LSU.

Though Florida had a bye week before LSU, the Gators have been brilliant in five games that included trips to Texas A&M and Tennessee, and a visit from the Tigers last week. UF's schedule doesn't get much easier when the Gamecocks visit the next week.

This is a Florida team that is punishing teams with a hard-nosed defense and bleeding them dry with a suffocating running game. Florida seems to play angry on both sides of the ball. It might be because they were written off as a non-contender for the battle in the SEC East behind Georgia and South Carolina. Top Stories