The view from Gainesville: Beat writer Q&A

semerson@macon.comOctober 31, 2013 

Florida LSU Football

Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) passes under pressure from LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter (94) in the second half of their Oct. 12 game.


Robbie Andreu is a mainstay of the media scene in Gainesville, Fla. He covered every game of Steve Spurrier's tenure, and only missed one home game since then, and that was because of the birth of his second child.

So yes, the man knows the Gators.

Each week of the SEC season we trouble another beat writer for insight on Georgia's next team, and this week Andreu's expertise is at our disposal. If you aren't already, you're encouraged to follow Andreu on Twitter at @RobbieAndreu. You can also follow the Sun's coverage of the Gators at this link.

Now, the questions and answers:

1. Just like Georgia, the injuries are the story of the year for the Gators. Is the prevailing sense among fans and powers-that-be that it's just a hard-luck year, or are there worries about deeper issues?

Some have questioned the practices of strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Dillman, who is big into Olympic lifting. But just a year ago, Dillman was getting a bunch of credit for how strong the Gators were in the second half of games. UF won the fourth quarter big and many of the players attributed it to the offseason conditioning program. I think the consensus is the Gators have just had terrible luck this season with injuries.

2. Left tackle D.J. Humphries is the latest injury, spraining his left knee in Monday's practice, and he'll be out. How big a loss is to that for a line that already gave up six sacks to Missouri?

It's a big loss, and here's why: it forces the staff to move Tyler Moore from right tackle to left tackle, and this is a guy who was about to get benched because of his poor pass protection. The Gators have so few offensive linemen left that they're pretty much out of options at this point.

3. Tyler Murphy provided a dose of excitement when he initially took over, but slipped a bit and now has been slowed by shoulder stiffness. Matt Jones has been out, and Andre Dubose has never played. What can Florida do to make trouble for Georgia's defense?

I think the Gators are pinning a lot of their hopes on true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor, who provided the only offensive spark in the Missouri loss with his 20-yard TD run and 74 yards rushing. He's making his first start Saturday, and with UF's passing game rapidly fading into oblivion, Taylor may be the Gators' only playmaking option.

4. Florida's defense has been very good, but it struggled against Missouri. Senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs is set to return for the Georgia game, and outside linebacker Ronald Powell could be too. Should that make a big difference against Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley and company?

Having Jacobs back could help solidify the interior run defense that was exploited so often in the loss to Missouri. Without his big, physical presence, the line failed to keep Missouri's offensive linemen off the UF linebackers, who then had problems making plays. Powell is a potentially dynamic player, but he is not expected to be 100 percent for this game because of a lingering ankle sprain.

5. Finally, what the main things (two or three) that Florida needs to do in order to overcome its injuries and win this game?

The first thing they have to do is take care of the football. Any chance the Gators had to win last year's game was lost with six turnovers. If the Gators can hold onto the football, generate some time-consuming drives with their running game, and maybe score a touchdown on defense or special teams, UF has a chance to hang around into the fourth quarter.

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