BATON ROUGE, LA. (AP) - Tyrann Mathieu left little doubt about whether LSU’s defense was salivating at the prospect of Florida fielding a first-time starting quarterback in Death Valley.
“We just want to rattle that guy early, definitely confuse him,” the Tigers’ star cornerback said. “So it’s really about us just going out there and playing aggressive, playing physical and hopefully get him out of his game early.”
Top-ranked LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) is favored by nearly two touchdowns, a rarity in its annual rivalry game with Florida, which historically has been one of the Tigers’ toughest games on the schedule.
This year’s contest began to look more like a mismatch last weekend, when the Gators were handed a demoralizing 38-10 loss on their own field at the hands of second-ranked Alabama, who also knocked Brantley out of action at least through this weekend.
Now Florida (4-1, 2-1) must go into famously loud Tiger Stadium with an inexperienced signal-caller.
It looks like a nightmare scenario for the Gators. Yet offensive coordinator Charlie Weis suggested that Florida was not panicking and is eager to see whether the adversity could become a rallying point.
“We know it’s a formidable opponent, they are ranked first in the country, they’ve got a great defense, you’re playing them on the road, it’s loud and you’re playing without your starting quarterback,” Weis said. “Everyone knows that part of their responsibility with Brantley out is everyone on both sides of the ball and on special teams has to pick up some of the slack.”
“You devise a game plan really around John and when John goes down, you have to cut back in what you’re doing,” Weis said. “Now, at least with knowing that John’s out for this week, you can devise a game plan around less experienced guys.”
The key for Florida may have more to do with its offensive line than its quarterback. Last Saturday, Alabama was able to disrupt the passing game with pressure. Florida also struggled to run the ball, which is normally its strength, given the talents of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.
Rainey managed only 4 yards rushing on 11 carries against the Tide, while Demps had 4 yards on three attempts.
“We have to do a better job with our assignments as far as blocking the right guys,” said Florida coach Will Muschamp, a former defensive coordinator at LSU.
Muschamp has declined to name a starter this week, stressing that he is also giving quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Tyler Murphy their share of practice snaps. Yet Muschamp also conceded that Driskel is “ahead because of the playing experience.”View Entire Story
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