Despite some problems on defense a week ago, the Gators are a heavy favorite against Troy and should win going away this week. But of course, there will be some nervous moments, especially in the first half.
This Troy team is similar to Western Kentucky in that the Trojans will spread the field and try to take advantage of UF’s inexperienced cornerbacks. WKU took the opening drive deep into UF territory before being stopped short on fourth-and-1. The Hilltoppers also lost their starting quarterback to a concussion on the drive.
Had David Wolke not gone down with the injury, the Hilltoppers could have made things real difficult on the Gators.
Here’s some news: Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook is a much more athletic (and much better all-around) quarterback than Wolke. The Trojans probably will come up with a game plan similar to WKU’s and could create some real problems if the Gators haven’t shored up their play at cornerback and at defensive tackle.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment last Saturday was the lack of production (and inside rush) from veteran tackles Clint McMillan and Javier Estopinan. Estopinan admitted to Urban Meyer that he didn’t play well. But he will start the Troy game with true sophomore Brandon Antwine expected to see more playing time.
True freshman Torrey Davis also will see more playing time at tackle. He has a huge upside and just needs to learn how to play hard on every down. Lawrence Marsh also should help out inside after being suspended from the opener.
The thought here is that the situation at tackle will improve, which will make things easier for defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Jermaine Cunningham, which in turn, takes some of the pressure off the cornerbacks.
If that does indeed happen, the defense should show considerable improvement from game one.
Offensively, the Gators will show a little more of their total package. UF had no designed runs for quarterback Tim Tebow in the opener, and the receivers were not handed the ball on reverses. We’ll see some of both in this game as the Gators start expanding the playbook in preparation for Tennessee.
The offense should roll up some big numbers in this game. If Arkansas, which doesn’t have much of a passing game, can amass 500 yards on Troy, the Gators should be able to go up and down the field all night.
That’s going to happen.
Prediction: Florida 51, Troy 19