Despite losing defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebackers Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, and safety Matt Elam to the NFL, the Florida Gators will be just fine on defense. In fact, Florida appears to have another dominant defensive unit this year. The Gators yielded a mere 205 total yards to Toledo in its Week 1 win. The Rockets were held to only 50 rushing yards and converted only one of 13 third downs.
Will Muschamp and company are using the same formula that led to success in 2012 – controlling time of possession with a tough rushing attack, protecting the football and suffocating opponents on defense. With Matt Jones back this week, the Gators will have another viable option in a backfield that was extremely productive in his absence last week. Florida rushed for 262 yards on 48 attempts, averaging 5.5 yards per rush.
Also, Quarterback Jeff Driskel looks even more efficient this year, going 17 for 22 with 153 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, he didn’t throw any interceptions. His numbers could steadily improve if a few playmakers other than Trey Burton emerge on the perimeter.
It doesn’t appear Florida will beat itself this season, putting that onus on its opponents.
What to look for in Week 2: Can the Gators replicate this success, especially defensively, against the Miami Hurricanes? Canes QB Stephen Morris is a potential NFL franchise player and running back Duke Johnson is one of the best in the ACC, if not college football, so the strength of the Gators’ defense will be tested much more thoroughly in Week 2.