Gator defense expecting strong play from South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery
His statistics don't jump out at you like they did last season, but South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery is still a serious threat to be reckoned with, Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. Jeffery, who had 1,517 yards last season, is ranked No. 8 in the league right now with 36 receptions for 487 yards. But Quinn said the Gators realize Jeffery could be a key factor in Saturday's game.
"He's a really important factor, and so we’ve been working hard,'' Quinn said. "We’ve had some opportunities, we’ve got some taller guys here that we get a chance to work on a guy (in practice) like Stephen Alli, so that’s a good thing to get that kind of experience going in practice. Certainly not making any comparison other than the fact that he’s tall and athletic and stuff like that. Sometimes it’s a coverage that you may play, sometimes it’s a technique, and the third part of it is parts of the field. When do the jump balls and those kind of things take place. So new challenge for us and certainly one we’ve had through the year. Tennessee had some really tall guys who were playing at a high level at the time. Good challenge, good player. I think the guys, when you’re going against a good player you kind of say, 'OK, let’s go.” You want a guy at their best. You know what I mean? That’s the competitive side of you that you like that brings it out to you and I think you guys could all relate to that. So I know they’re excited for the challenge.''
Quinn said part of the reason Jeffery's numbers are down this season compared to last is that opponents recognize how dangerous he is, and make containing him a priority.
"There are certainly some times when people are, even though he doesn’t have maybe the same production, a lot of the times it’s because people are trying to take care of him,' Quinn said. "And that’s a real credit to him and what people think of him and the respect that people have for this guy in games saying: 'Alright, we’re not going to let this player try to beat us in the ball game.' Each week, like we always say, has unique challenges as a game plan and certainly with this offense they have a bunch in terms of the way they can throw it and the style of guys.''