Florida PASSING DEFENSE
Senior receiver Jonathan Krause has had a superb year and is second on the team with 32 receptions for 608 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Krause has 30 career starts for the 'Dores but is enjoying his most productive year while setting career highs in each receiving category.
With Vanderbilt senior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels out, redshirt freshman Patton Robinette gets the nod against the Gators. Robinette helped lead the 'Dores to victory in a come from behind win against Georgia and has completed 28 for 48 pass attempts for 364 yards passing and a touchdown.
Senior safety Jaylen Watkins has made starts at both cornerback and safety this season and leads the secondary with 35 tackles and four passes defended. Next to him Cody Riggs has performed well in run stopping support, the redshirt junior has 28 tackles, including 6½ for a loss, 1½ sacks, and two passes defended.
Junior corners Loucheiz Purifoy returned an interception 42 yards for a score against Arkansas and has started three games for the Gators at cornerback. Sophomore nickel back Brian Poole is also dangerous with two interceptions and two tackles for a loss this year.
FLORIDA RUSHING DEFENSE
Speedy sophomore Brian Kimbrow has moved up a notch on the depth chart after a short lived moment in the dog house. Kimbrow had seen a drop in production from his true freshman season where he led the team averaging 6.3 yards per carry. After a wake up call Kimbrow appears to have gotten back to his old ways by earning himself the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Senior running back Wesley Tate is second on the team with 69 carries for 284 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Tate was second on the team behind Zac Stacy with eight touchdowns a season ago but has seen his production drop in the wake of the pair of sophomores.
The Commodores will have to give some extra attention to sophomore Dante Fowler, Jr. who has excelled at the hybrid defensive end position. Fowler leads the team with seven tackles for a loss, including three sacks, with four quarterback hurries, and a team high three forced fumbles. Sophomore defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard also has a knack for rushing the quarterback with 18 tackles, including 1½ sacks, and three quarterback hurries.
Sophomore middle linebacker Antonio Morrison leads the Florida defense with 39 tackles, including 17 solo stops. Morrison has started two games for the Gators who have struggled with injuries with season. Redshirt junior Michael Taylor could see time at middle or weak side linebacker and is second for the Gators with 37 tackles, including 2½ for a loss, and two fumble recoveries.
VANDERBILT PASSING DEFENSE
Florida recently lost sophomore offensive lineman Tyler Moore's to a broken elbow in a scooter accident. This may be a big blow to an offensive line unit that just seemed to find its identity against the Georgia defense.
Senior Florida receiver Solomon Patton is tied for first on the team with 31 receptions for 464 yards receiving and a team high four touchdown receptions. Senior Trey Burton follows closely behind with 31 receptions for 347 yards receiving and a touchdown. Redshirt junior Quinton Dunbar has also been productive with 26 receptions for 392 yards receiving, averaging 15.1 yards per reception.
The Vanderbilt passing defense had been a staple of defense in previous seasons under coach Franklin. The Commodores rank 55th in the country allowing opponents 227.4 yards passing per game. Senior strong safety Javon Marshall is third on the team with 52 tackles, including two for a loss, and an interception.
Free safety Kenny Ladler leads the conference with 46 solo tackles and four forced fumbles. The senior is fifth in the conference with 68 total tackles and is the team's current active leader with 268 tackles, 183 solo tackles, six interceptions, and six forced fumbles.
Senior cornerback Andre Hal is tied for second in the conference with 10 passes defended, averaging 1.3 per game. The senior defensive back also leads the secondary with 3½ tackles for a loss.
VANDERBILT RUSHING DEFENSE
Redshirt junior Mack Brown has 108 carries for 400 yards rushing and four touchdowns this season. Brown's best game this season was 25 carries for 112 yards rushing, and two touchdowns against Toledo. The Gators lost starting tailback Matt Jones for the season in the loss to LSU.
True freshman Kelvin Taylor leads the Gator running backs averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Taylor has 48 carries for 248 yards rushing and one touchdown this season. Florida will make it a goal to dominate the time of possession with an injury-laden offensive unit that continues to be stretched more thin as the season goes on.
Vanderbilt's rushing defense will be hard pressed to forget the damage Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel did running the read option against them a year ago. With Driskel out for the season and Tyler Murphy already being banged up, and freshman Skyler Mornhinweg waiting in the wings--the Gators may be reluctant to make Murphy run very often.
Sophomore linebacker Darreon Herring has been all over the field for the 'Dores. Herring is second on the team with 57 tackles, a sack, an interception, and is second on the team with nine passes defended. Last week senior Karl Butler, who had recently returned from an injury matched a career high of seven tackles and added a fumble recovery against the Aggies.
Sophomore middle linebacker Jake Sealand will get some help this week from senior Chase Garnham who had played in just one game for the 'Dores this season. Vanderbilt's defense sorely missed Garnham who had been one of the more vocal leaders on the defensive side of the ball from the middle linebacker spot.
The Commodore front four is led by junior defensive end Kyle Woestmann who leads the defensive line with 30 tackles, including 5½ for a loss, 4½ sacks, and a forced fumble. Sophomore defensive end Caleb Azubike has been just as disruptive on the defensive line with 26 tackles, including a team high 7½ for a loss, two sacks, and a quarterback hurry.
Senior place kicker Carey Spear has connected on 6 of 8 field goal attempts this season. Spear has not had the number of opportunities of a season ago but has made the most of them with a season long field goal of 54 yards.
Senior defensive back Andre Hal and sophomore running back Brian Kimbrow will handle the kick return duties with true freshman Darrius Sims potentially seeing time. Sims looks the most determined when given the opportunity and leads the team averaging 22.9 yards per kick return, with a season high of 42 yards.
Senior receiver Jonathan Krause handles punt return duties for the 'Dores averaging 3.3 yards per return, with a season long return of 18 yards.
Solomon Patton returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Missouri. Patton has averaged 28.8 yards per kick return this season.
Junior defensive back Marcus Roberson handles punt return duties for the Gators averaging 11.3 yards per return, with a season long of 38 yards.
Place kicker Frankie Velez has hit four of five field goal attempts this season, including a season long of 44 yards against LSU.
Freshman punter Johnny Townsend leads the Gators averaging 43.6 yards per punt, with a season long of 61 yards. Townsend has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line three times and has two punts of 50 yards or more.
Vanderbilt cannot afford to have a slow start against the Gators. Coming out strong like they did against Georgia is the best way to put the pressure on Florida from the beginning.
The Commodores are tied with Tennessee averaging only 36.6 penalty yards per game. Vanderbilt is last in the SEC allowing 26 sacks this season.
The Commodores are second in the conference, trailing only Kentucky, converting 70.6 percent of fourth-down conversion attempts.
The 'Dores are second in the conference trailing only Auburn in red zone offense. Vanderbilt has scored in 88.2 percent of trips to the red zone, with 26 touchdowns in 34 visits.
Florida leads the conference in time of possession, averaging 35:39 minutes per game. The Gators rank first in the SEC with opponents only converting 25 percent of fourth-down conversion attempts.
Florida is second to last behind only Arkansas, scoring an average of just 21 points per game. The Gators scoring defense trails only Alabama, with opponents scoring just 17.1 points per game.
The Gators average 334.6 total yards per game, ranking last in the conference.
Florida is currently riding a three game skid that includes losses to LSU, Missouri, and Georgia. A loss to the Commodores would put the Gators at 4-5 and put their bowl hopes in jeopardy with matches against No. 12 South Carolina and No. 2 Florida State left on the schedule.
The 'Dores have traditionally started slow throughout the 2013 campaign. Vanderbilt cannot afford to wait until the second half to start up against the Gators. Getting his team ready to come out of the gates running should also be a major goal for the Commodores this week.
For Florida's head coach Will Muschamp the Gators will need to focus improving an inconsistent offense that ranks near the bottom of the SEC. The Gator coach's seat is getting hotter with Florida on a three-game losing streak. Making it through the final four games of the season and becoming bowl eligible will be that much more difficult with a loss to Vanderbilt.
PREDICTION: Florida 24, Vanderbilt 20