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AoG Defensive Preview: Florida

Good news and bad news...

Vanderbilt v Kentucky
Can these guys create a little magic for the Dores?
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Unlike the pretty extreme mismatch on the other side of the ball, this one is a bit more even. Florida came in as a highly touted defense, but they have not been a shut down crew as they allow 411 ypg and 30 ppg. Particularly surprising is the relative mediocrity of Florida’s secondary. The Gators are allowing 260 ypg in the air, actually worse than Vanderbilt’s secondary. However, the Gators have had issues with injury this year and have not had the unit at full strength. It looks as though Vanderbilt will see all of their projected starters this time around, so the stats could certainly be misleading. That being said, Ken Seals could take advantage of this unit.

The Gators front seven hasn’t been overbearing in the run game either, as they give up 150 ypg on the ground. It’s unclear whether Keyon Henry-Brooks is going to play this week, but the Dores do get back Ja’veon Marlow, and this unit has performed above expectations (which were admittedly not high, but I digress). The point is that the Gators can and will give up yards and points, even if their offensive ability allows them to double up the opposition’s efforts.

What Florida does a great job of is getting after the QB. Todd Grantham is notorious for pressure schemes (and for being a raging jacka$$), and the Gators have gotten success with 19 sacks on the year and 41 Tackles for Loss. With an opportunistic offense the Gators can afford a little bend but don’t break as long as their defense can produce some big plays, and that’s exactly what you have with their squad. That being said, Florida doesn’t force too many turnovers, which is good news for our young offense going into the game.

Vanderbilt has consistently outperformed offensive expectations this year. Florida’s defense is not as formidable although it is very talented. I expect the Dores will be able to move the ball around well. Whether they can score touchdowns in the red zone is what will make the difference in the game. This will be a shootout, with Florida most likely holding the upper hand.