Florida football: Samford scouting report

David Whitley
Gator Sports
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Samford's Liam Welch

Who: Florida (4-5) vs. Samford (4-5)

When: Noon, Saturday

Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Online: SEC Network+. Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Last Week: The Bulldogs beat the Citadel 35-14 in entertaining fashion. They scored on a 68-yard punt return, a 69-yard run and a 94-yard fumble return. They also rushed for a season-high 252 yards and got two touchdowns from running back Demarcus Ware.

Best Offensive Player: Quarterback Liam Welch won the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Month award in September and October, so he must be pretty good. He’s averaging 299 yards passing and 43 yards rushing per game and has tossed 17 TDs. Alas, he’s also thrown 13 interceptions.

Best Defensive Player: Senior linebacker Nathan East leads the Bulldogs with 80 tackles. Samford’s defense has struggled all season and is giving up 35.9 points and 480 yards total offense per game.

Series: Florida leads 2-0, though you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who remembers either game. They were played in 1921 and 1922, with UF winning by a combined score of 91-0. If Samford fails to score Saturday, Florida might set an NCAA record for longest time between consecutive shutouts of an opponent.

Fun Fact: Samford punches far above its weight when it comes to coaching and quarterback legacies. Pat Sullivan, the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn, coached the Bulldogs from 2007-2014.  Bobby Bowden was an All-American QB at Samford (then called Howard College) in 1952 and coached the Bulldogs from 1959-62, going 31-6. When Bowden’s son, Terry, moved from Salem College to coach Samford in 1987, he brought along a transfer named Jimbo Fisher. That guy passed for a school-record 2,394 yards and 34 TDs. Like Bobby Bowden, he later coached at a school in Tallahassee.

Quote: "I think we have a really good team. Our record does not show that. I still believe that, and I may be the only one who does. But I do. I believe we have a really good team. And if we didn’t, I’d tell you.”  — Samford coach Chris Hatcher.

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