Now that we are back into SEC play, it is easy to find qualified bloggers that will do a Q & A about the upcoming game with you. To prep for the match-up against the Florida Gators this Saturday, I sent a few questions over to fellow SBNation blog Alligator Army. Here are their answers.
Note: When my answers to their questions are posted, I will update this post with a link.
1. After racking up big points in non-conference play early in the season, the Gators have had low scoring games against a terrible Tennessee team, as well as at LSU and against Arkansas. Is this just the offense running up against stiffer defensive challengers as Florida gets into the heart of SEC play, or is it a lack of play makers on offense aside from Tebow?
It is a lack of guys who can catch the ball and an offensive coordinator who is in over his head. Tennessee and LSU have very good defenses and Arkansas forced four fumbles, but Florida was never comfortable in those games. That's the biggest difference. I think a lot of Gator fans would take an Alabama-style beatdown (win by 21 but allow less than 10) because Alabama looks damn good even scoring less than 28 points.
2. Speaking of offense, Percy Harvin left a pretty big whole in the Gator offense after his departure to the NFL. Who has stepped in to fill those shoes and how are they measuring up?
Tim Tebow has stepped up. Seriously, they knew UF would be in trouble without Harvin and Louis Murphy, 2008's top recievers. WR Riley Cooper has played well in spots and TE Aaron Hernandez is an NFL-ready tight end, but that's it. When you promote your 3 and 4 men to 1 and 2, with no one to fill in at 3 and 4, you are in trouble. Florida still has great backs in Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody and Chris Rainey, but they are not pass catchers. RB Brandon James has been used in the slot, but he is struggling as he has gone from a game changing returner to nothing on special teams.
3. Brandon Spikes is one of the most terrifying defensive players I have seen in this SEC this year. He suffered an injury in the game against Arkansas. Will he miss the Mississippi State game and what effect will that have on your defense.
He is reported to be healthy enough for the Miss State game. Spikes has struggled with Achilles' tendonitis and now a groin pull, but he should be fine. Aside from guys out for the season, Florida should have a full staff. But Florida is deep on defense, unless the offense puts the ball on the floor four times and they have to take the field every two minutes.
4. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has worked with Florida HC Urban Meyer since he was at Bowling Green. Does his familiarity with the Gator's offense give the Bulldogs an advantage going in to this game?
Huge advantage, especially that Florida's current offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio, calls games like an eight-year old on Madden. I'm sure the signals have changed as Meyer is detail orientated and would guess Mullen would try to get the signals. But Mullen's familaritity makes this less of a blowout possibility.
5. The Gators are 0-4 in their last 4 trips to Starkville. Will the Gators break that streak or will the Bulldogs push Florida out of the #1 slot in the polls?
I think Florida wins. Compared to the other trips to Starkville, Zook was an unfocused dumbass and Florida's other losses were not with teams as good as this one. Yes, Mississippi State could win, and I think Mullen will build a decent program. But they won't beat Florida this season.