Florida’s defense has been getting steady pressure rushing just four players, which is allowing the Gators to drop more defenders into pass coverage. One of the reasons for the success is opposing offenses don’t know where the fourth rusher is coming from in a 3-4 defense, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said.
It could be a linebacker, safety or cornerback.
“Anytime you can get pressure with four guys, it’s a good thing,” Grantham said. “You just try to mix it up to be able to make quarterbacks uneasy.
“I was with Peyton Manning for three years (when Grantham was the defensive line coach for the Colts), and he never could beat the Patriots for a long time. And I’d sit there at practice and watch, and he never could figure out where the fourth rusher was coming from.
“It really bothered him, but when we played four-down teams he’d start dialing it up. And he could tell the scout team, ‘You’re wrong. You should be here, you should be there.’ And he knew pre-snap where to go with the ball. Once I saw that I was pretty sold on what you needed to do.”
Grantham sends pass rushers from multiple positions. As a result, 17 different Gators have sacks this season.
“It’s really exciting just knowing everybody on the defense is going to make plays because that’s how it’s supposed to work,” outside linebacker/end Jeremiah Moon said. “Everybody is going to feed off of each other. The energy is going to be up and when the energy is up in the moment, everybody just takes off.”
The case for DBU
It’s Florida-LSU week, so of course, the argument will go back and forth as to which school is the real DBU.
UF coach Dan Mullen makes a strong case for Florida.
“It’s pretty easy when you look at all the players who have come here, all the players who have had success here and gone on to the NFL,” Mullen said. “It’s not just over the last five-10 years. It goes back and back and back of great defensive backs who have played here.
“We have some pretty good DB s here this year. They are continuing that tradition. We have some young guys we expect to continue the tradition in the future. There are a lot of players in America who want to come be part of that here and continue the tradition in the secondary.”
Once a Gator
Ja’Marr Chase, who is rapidly emerging as a star at wide receiver for LSU, was a long-time Florida commitment before flipping to his home-state school. Chase has caught 23 passes for 451 yards and six touchdowns this season.
“I actually had him as a host (on his recruiting visit to UF),” middle linebacker David Reese II said. “We were just talking. He was committed for a long time actually. I actually took him on his official visit and built a little relationship with him.
“We still hit each other up on social media. I wish him the best, he’s a good guy, he’s been having a great season, so I’m happy for him. I hope he doesn’t do anything too crazy against us but, happy for the kid.”
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on defensive tackle Kyree Campbell following UF’s recovery of a muffed punt against Auburn was for pulling a player off the pile. It was not for a celebration of any kind.
“Yeah, actually Coach Mullen explained to me afterwards, because I had no idea,” Campbell said. “I didn’t know you couldn’t pull nobody off. I saw opponents rolling on my teammates so I’m trying to get them off. Now I know, so it won’t happen again.”