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August 30, 2014

Game Day: Idaho Breakdown


  • 10 Fearless Predictions
  • Thursday Notebook
  • Predicting which freshmen play
  • 10 Questions Idaho
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    The Florida Gators have dealt with questions about their abysmal 2013 season for the last nine months. It's finally time move past that and start down the road to a season of redemption. The first stop is at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday against Idaho. Inside the Gators breaks down the Vandals with his answers to five burning questions as well previewing five Idaho players Gator fans should keep an eye on this weekend.

    BURNING QUESTIONS: Daniel Morales provides answers to these five burning questions
    1) Which Idaho player is likely to give the Gators the most trouble?

    Senior defensive tackle Quayshawne Buckley will give Florida trouble lining up across from the Gators new offensive guards. He had seven sacks and 16 tackles-for-loss in 2013. Idaho's leading receiver Dezmon Epps was dismissed from the program in June. He had 79 receptions for 980 yards and four touchdowns. The Vandals are going to struggle to gain yards against Florida without Epps. Their best bet is to give the ball to senior receiver Joshua McCain who is a Trey Burton type of player. He rushed for 223 yards last season and switched to receiver in 2014.

    2) What is Idaho's best chance to stay competitive in this game?

    An outright win is completely out of the question, but a morale victory for Idaho would be if the Vandals were able to stay competitive for at least the first quarter. While the Vandals have three time Rimington Award Watch List center Mike Marboe, the rest of their offensive line isn't anywhere nearly as talented. Idaho gave up 4.42 sacks a game last season. Florida is too deep on the defensive line of scrimmage and will wear out Idaho's offensive lines. The Vandals will be starting redshirt freshmen quarterback Matt Linehan and his best bet is to target Florida's freshmen defensive backs who will be looking to earn more playing time. He will he running for most of the game and struggle throwing the ball.

    3) Where can Florida exploit Idaho's defense?

    Running back Matt Jones called Idaho's linebackers "slow," on Wednesday and running back Kelvin Taylor said that the Gators plan on running the ball. Florida will attack a defense that gave up 529.4 yards per game, 213.6 of those yards came on the ground. The Gators will take a few shots down field and pound the rock.

    4) How will Idaho fare against the pressure of playing in the Swamp?

    When it is at its capacity, the Swamp is nearly four times the size of Moscow, the town where the University of Idaho is located. The Vandals are no strangers to playing in bigger venues, against Southeastern conference foes. The Vandals lost to Ole Miss 59-14 in 2013. They also lost to Louisiana State University 63-14 in 2012. This is also the third time that Idaho is playing in the state of Florida, losing 41-10 to the University of Central Florida in 1997 and 80-14 to FSU last year.

    5) How important will be field position be?

    Idaho has a weapon in punter Walter Camp First-Team punter Austin Rehkow who led the NCAA with 47.8 yards per kick. Rehkow also set an NCAA record for freshmen with 75 punts last season. At the very least, Idaho will force the Gators to sustain long drives, something that Florida struggled mightily with last season. The Vandals averaged 368.3 yards of offense per game last season, good for 90 in the NCAA and only 52 more yards than the Gators.

    FIVE TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Here's a list of five Bulldogs players Gator fans will want to keep an eye on
    1) Chad Chalich, a 6-foot, 208-pound sophomore quarterback
    Daniel Decrees: He carried Idaho to their lone victory last season with 416 yards of offense and is dangerous on the ground, carrying the ball 95 times in seven games. He is coming back from a season-ending shoulder injury and will get a lot of playing time as the backup.
    2) Jerrel Brown, a 6-foot, 219-pound senior running back
    Daniel Decrees: Brown will get the most carries of the running backs against Florida. He carried the ball 55 times for 216 yards last season.
    3) Marc Millan, a 6-foot-1, 218-pound junior linebacker
    Daniel Decrees: Millan is Idaho's leading tackler from last season with 91. He also had four sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss.
    4) Maxx Forde, a 6-foot-5, 272-pound senior defensive end
    Daniel Decrees: Forde, a preseason Second-Team All-Sun Belt selection had 5.5 sacks last season and added nine tackles-for-loss. He is a hard hitter who forces the ball loose and had two fumble recoveries last season.
    5) Richard Montgomery, a 5-foot-8, 163-pound sophomore running back/wide receiver
    Daniel Decrees: Montgomery felt that Florida over looked him in the recruiting process and is playing with a chip on his shoulder. Teammates call him a "dynamic threat," and head coach Paul Petrino plans on getting him the ball in space.

    1) The Gators have won 24 straight season openers, which is the second longest streak in the country and tops in the SEC. In the last eight openers, Florida has outscored opponents by a combined 327-58 (40.9-7.2 per game). Florida is 80-27 all time on opening day and 65-6 in Gainesville.
    2) The Vandals were voted to finish ninth in the preseason poll of the Sun Belt coaches.
    3) The Vandals have players from 17 states and four foreign nations. Seven of their players are from the state of Florida. The Vandals are tops in the nation in the number of foreign countries represented on the roster with players from Germany, Canada, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
    4) Defensive line coach Byron "Bam" Hardmon is a former Florida Gator. He played linebacker from 1999-2002.
    5) Idaho will have traveled 24,444 air miles and 488 from the airports to game cities by the end of the season. The trip to Florida is approximately 4,400 miles.

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