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Florida at South Carolina Preview: Quick Thoughts on USC's Defense vs. Florida's Offense

A couple of quick thoughts about what our defense needs to do against the Gators offense.

--The Gators coaching staff has repeatedly said that John Brantley will be full-strength this week. However, Brantley still looked very gimpy last week against Vanderbilt, and the Gators seem to be basing a lot of their scheme around not asking Brantley to move in the pocket. I think he's playing very hurt but that Muschamp and Weis think a hurt Brantley is better than their other options. They're right that he is, but I also think we really need to get after him in this game.The guy can't move around much and should be easily flustered. Our defensive line has been somewhat disappointing the last few weeks, and this would be a very nice time for it to get back to its early-season form.

--Because they know Brantley can't evade or take hits, the Gators will probably work the short passing game pretty hard. Arkansas had a lot of success with the shallow stuff last week by setting up some good matchups between its speedy receiving corps and our linebackers and safeties. Although they hardly have the QB, Florida has some players who can hurt us with this approach, too, and with Brison Williams likely starting this game in place of DeVonte Holloman, there will be additional matchups to exploit. It's really important that our line get in there and tip some balls at the line of scrimmage and that we play good assignments in pass defense. The same goes, really, for run defense. The Gators like to move the ball laterally to take advantage of their speed and to mask their obvious deficiencies in the downfield passing and blocking game. Again, playing smart off the blocks and not letting anyone get to the edge is key.

--All that said, the Florida offense has done very little against good defenses this year. This is Florida, to be sure, so there are plenty of playmakers on the roster, but the team simply seems to lack the personnel in certain spots (OL and receiver, mostly) to be able to play at the level Weis wants them to, and the injury to Brantley has made matters worse. A good performance out of our Gamecocks defense coupled with few turnovers on offense and no special teams gaffes should make it possible for us to hold this team under 20.