UF-UM: What a rush

Florida running back Mack Brown scores a touchdown during the first half against Toledo in Gainesville on Saturday.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.

Saturday's matchup between Florida and Miami will be all about the ground game.

It features a two-headed rushing attack on one side and the nation's leading rusher on the other. UM's Duke Johnson had the most rushing yards (186) in the first week of the 2013 college football season.

On his Thursday night radio show, UF coach Will Muschamp called Johnson one of the better players in the country.

“We've got a lot of respect for him,” Muschamp said. “He's an outstanding returner and a very competitive young man. For Florida fans, he's very similar to Chris Rainey. A little more bulked up at 190 pounds.

“He can stick his foot in the ground and change direction. We certainly need to be gap discipline on him. He's got big-time top end speed. He catches the ball extremely well. We have to be careful about our matchups with him down the field.”

For the Gators, Matt Jones is back in the starting lineup after missing the season opener and all of fall training camp with a viral infection.

Regardless of Jones' return, Muschamp will still give carries to Mack Brown, who rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns in the 24-6 win over Toledo last Saturday.

“Matt Jones will start this weekend, but we're going to get Mack in early,” Muschamp said.

“Whoever has the hot hand, we'll ride. Both of those guys are very good football players. They both deserve to play, they both deserve to start and they both have played well.

“Matt really distanced himself at the end of last season with his play in bowl practice, his preparation toward the end of the year and his play in spring ball. Mack Brown did an outstanding job in the first ball game. Both will carry the ball Saturday. I'm not worried about who starts as much as I am who finishes it. We have confidence in both guys.”

Muschamp also has confidence in quarterback Jeff Driskel and the passing game, even though Florida didn't show much through the air last weekend.

“We had some things dialed up in the first ball game and never felt like we needed to go to them,” Muschamp said. “We're going to be fine throwing the football. We've got confidence in what we're trying to do. When you run as well as we do, you continue to create some opportunities down the field.”

When asked why he chooses to run more than pass, Muschamp responded, “We choose to win the game. And we're going to do what it takes to be successful.”

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