RCS Sidelines

October 22, 2007 5:26 PM

Defensive Breakdown: Florida Gators

Florida’s defensive strengths and weaknesses were exposed Saturday against Kentucky. Kentucky’s Andre’ Woodson put up over 400 yards for just the second time in his career and 5 touchdowns matching his career high set earlier this year against Florida Atlantic. Yeah, Florida’s secondary is pretty bad. Andre’ Woodson is a great quarterback, but that 400 yards could have easily been 500 yards. He missed 2 wide open touchdowns when Florida’s cornerbacks weren’t within 3 yards of Kentucky’s wide receivers.

Florida’s secondary is very young with just one cornerback and two safeties that are upperclassmen. They were beaten deep time after time and couldn’t tackle very well on the screen passes that Kentucky throws all the time. Florida has just 5 interceptions this season. Only eight teams in Division 1 have less interceptions than the Gators.

But, while Florida’s secondary is weak, they make up for it with great quarterback pressure from their front four and linebackers. Last week, LSU, perhaps the best defense in football, couldn’t sack Woodson once. Kentucky’s offensive line is very solid and gave Woodson plenty of time to work. But, Florida managed to sack Woodson 6 times. Florida applies pressure with speed pass rushers whereas LSU’s pressure usually comes from being stronger than their opponents. Kentucky’s offensive line is big and physical and was able to stop LSU’s pressure, but they couldn’t handle Florida’s speed.

Look for teams to continue to try and exploit Florida’s secondary and use a lot of screen passes and delayed draws to keep Florida’s pass rushers honest.

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