GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Jeff Driskel #16 of the Florida Gators runs for yardage during a game against the UAB Blazers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel will make his first start at Death Valley against the LSU Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Florida Gators would have been considered serious threats to the LSU Tigers. Unfortunately for the Gators, this matchup doesn't fall during a particularly advantageous time. Starting quarterback Jeff Brantley is out, meaning freshman Jeff Driskel will start at Death Valley on Saturday. Meanwhile, LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson has had his suspension lifted and is back with the team. Jarrett Lee will remain the starting quarterback this week, but Jefferson is likely to be integrated into the offense a bit in this game.
LSU's offense hasn't been spectacular so far this season, but their defense is so good that they're still favorites to beat just about anyone. Driskel is an extremely talented two-way threat at quarterback, but the freshman probably isn't going to be able to do much in his first start, on the road, against an elite LSU defense.
Florida Gators blog Alligator Army points out why the Gators have nothing to lose.
Will Muschamp can and will play the "Nobody believes in us!" card, because that's what the coach of a team that is a double-digit underdog on the road does. But Muschamp's no dummy, and likely knows that his team can win the SEC East without a win at LSU. In fact, the Gators all but control their own destiny in the SEC East whether or not they win at LSU.
LSU fans aren't too worried about their defense, but LSU Tigers blog And The Valley Shook has some ideas for helping the offense mix up the running game.
Diversifying the rushing attack could help. So far most of what we've seen have been plays like the inside zone, the stretch, the toss, the trap and the draw. Counters and jet sweeps would help keep opposing d-lines from pinching down on the A and B gaps, and also provide the speed guys like Russell Shepard and Odell Beckham, Jr., the ball with some room to operate. More running out of the spread sets might force the defense to give Spencer Ware and Michael Ford a little more room as well. Will Jordan Jefferson's return help shake that up? We saw a little of that last week, maybe we will again. Given Florida's tendency to stand up Powell in an overhang position, look for a lot of two-TE sets.
Game date, time: 3:30 P.M. ET, Saturday, October 8
Location: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
TV channel: CBS
Spread: LSU favored by 12
Series history: Florida leads, 30-24
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit Florida Gators blog Alligator Army and LSU Tigers blog And The Valley Shook. Here’s this week’s college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.