Knowing the Enemy 2016
Record: 4-1 Overall, 2-1 SEC
The Purple and Gold visit Florida and will meet a team resembling a conundrum. The more you know about them, the less you know about them.
The Gators have piled up some good stats this season. On the defensive side of the line of scrimmage, Florida is second in the nation in total defense, allowing 230.4 yards per game. They have given up 90.4 yards per game on the ground, and 2.52 yards per rush. They have allowed 139.8 yards per game through the air, fifth stingiest in the country. Florida leads the SEC in sacks with 19, which is tied for seventh best in the country.
The bad news for the Gators is a lot of the people responsible for these stats are injured, especially on the defensive line. Senior defensive tackle Joel Ivie is injured and out for the year. Junior Jordan Sherit is reportedly out with an injured knee. Senior defensive end Bryan Cox, Jr and senior defensive tackle Caleb Brantley have an injured leg and injured hand respectively, but they have not been ruled out for Saturday’s game.
It must be noted Florida plays a lot of people on the defensive line, so people stepping in for injured players have logged ample playing time this season. Freshman Jabari Zuniga, for instance, has five sacks, over a third of the total sacks on the team. Freshman Jachai Polite has two sacks this season.
Senior linebacker Jarrad Davis is the leading tackler on the team with 40 total, 21 solos, and two sacks. Junior linebacker Alex Anzalone is the second leading tackler on the team with 32 overall, 16 unassisted, and 2.5 sacks.
Players responsible for 12.5 of Florida’s 19 sacks will be available to play Saturday.
The Tigers will have to be careful passing the ball. The Gators have picked off eight passes this year. Junior Teez Tabor leads the SEC in interceptions with three. Junior defensive back Quincy Wilson has two picks. Wilson also has a sack. The Gators have big, active players in their defensive secondary.
The Florida offensive line has been inconsistent. In their 45-7 win over Kentucky, the Gators rushed for 244 yards. In the 38-28 loss to Tennessee, Florida ran for 106 yards. In the 13-6 win at Vanderbilt the Gators rushed for a paltry 92 yards.
Junior David Sharpe and junior center Cam Dillard are the anchors of the offensive line.
The leading rusher for the Gators is sophomore Jordan Scarlett. He has only 274 yards after five games, which averages out to 54.8 yards per contest. That is not very good.
The starting quarterback in the last two contests has been graduate student Austin Appleby, who has filled in for sophomore Luke Del Rio. Appleby had an impressive outing in the loss against Tennessee, throwing for three touchdowns and 296 yards. He threw for 144 yards against Vanderbilt last Saturday. Del Rio was impressive before being injured in the North Texas game. He threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in the Florida win over Kentucky. Del Rio’s status for this week’s game has not been announced by Florida.
The Gators have one of the best wide receivers in SEC. He is sophomore Antonio Callaway. He had five receptions for 129 yards against Kentucky and four catches for 134 yards against Tennessee. Calloway also returns punts and kickoffs. He has 456 all-purpose yards. Callway averages over 30 yards per kickoff return.
The Gators have used two quarterbacks, and lots of players on defense. They are struggling with injuries. However, they have good players. Even though the defensive line is beat up, they have capable backups, and their linebackers and defensive backs are very active.
The Gators will provide stiff competition for the Purple and Gold Saturday.