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Previewing Florida at South Carolina: Checking in on the Gators' Defense

What is there left to say about the Gators defense? It's probably the best in the nation. Florida is first in pass efficiency defense, second in pass defense, first in scoring defense, second in total defense, and thirteenth in rushing defense. This is the best defense we'll play all year, and the way our offense is playing, it's hard for me to see us moving the ball well on these guys. Let's hope our coaches find some inspiration between now and Saturday.

Can we protect the ball? The Gators turnover margin rating has been devalued somewhat by the fact that their offense turns it over more than in years past. Don't be fooled. Aggressive play and turnovers are the hallmark of the Charlie Strong approach, and this defense is still one of the best around when it comes to creating turnovers. If we put the ball on the ground or if Stephen Garcia throws interceptions, we're toast. I will say that I have some confidence in this part of our game, so hopefully our guys can prove me right.

Can we run the ball? Will we, even if we can? It's not impossible to run the ball against Florida. Certainly, the Gators aren't reliving the 1996 Fiesta Bowl; their run defense is good. But considering that a handful of teams have been able to average around four ypc as well as that you're running some major risks throwing the ball too much, running the ball might be at least worth a shot. Sadly, I'm not at all confident that our coaching staff is willing to commit to doing that for more than a few first-half plays. It's a shame, because we have the best stable of running backs that we've had here in years.