Florida football: 5 players to watch for Saturday's matchup between the Gators and LSU Tigers
Five players to watch for Saturday's matchup between the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers at The Swamp (7 p.m., ESPN):
Quarterback Anthony Richardson
Richardson had one of his best games coming off the bench against LSU last season, passing for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns while also throwing two interceptions. He nearly led the Gators back from a 28-13 deficit in an eventual 49-42 loss. For the season, Richardson has passed for 1,182 yards with 5 TDs to 7 interceptions, with 282 yards rushing and 5 rushing TDs, which lead all SEC quarterbacks.
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Running back Montrell Johnson Jr.
Johnson has rushed for 368 yards on 6.0 yards per carry and his 5 rushing TDs are tied with Richardson for the team lead. A New Orleans native, Johnson should have extra incentive facing his home state team.
Defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr.
Dexter has often faced double teams this season, limiting his effectiveness getting to the quarterback. He got an interception against Kentucky and has 1.5 sacks, but chances for more big plays could come facing a banged-up LSU offensive line on Saturday. “As a unit we had some up and downs," Dexter said. "But I think we’re getting on the right track to where we need to be.”
Linebacker Ventrell Miller
Miller was all over the field last week against Missouri with 11 tackles, including 2 for loss, and pressured quarterback Brady Cook on the game-deciding 4th-and-2 incompletion that sealed the win. Miller's 40 tackles rank third on the team and his leadership on defense has been invaluable. "Ventrell is what being a Florida Gator football player is all about," Florida coach Billy Napier said. "He's the example."
Safety Trey Dean
Dean returned from injury last week against Missouri and had 7 tackles, but still had some issues in the back end on third-down plays. If Florida is to improve its third down defense (50.6 percent) it will need Dean and other players in the secondary to step up and be more accountable in zone coverages.