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The latest on college sports in Florida

Gators prepared to defend the run vs. Alabama



With Alabama boasting two of the best running backs in the SEC, the Florida defense fully understands that it's most important assignment tonight is stopping the run.

Alabama averages 230 yards per game on the ground, led by Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy.

"It (the game) is going to be defined by how we play up front,'' DT Sharrif Floyd said. "They are going to run on us,
so we've got to defend the run before we defend the pass.''

Florida coach Will Muschamp said the Gators put extra emphasis on tackling this week, an area he felt needed improvement despite the Gators' 4-0 record. The players said they recognize how critical it will be tonight.

"That’s a big point of emphasis,'' S Matt Elam said. "Tackling is a big point of emphasis especially for Trent Richardson because he’s a big, powerful running back. So you have to get him on the ground the best way you can.
They’re similar (Richardson and Lacy). Both fast, physical, will run through you so you have to wrap them up. Lacy's very impressive but they’re very similar to me. Same running style, they’ll run hard and fast.''

But extra emphasis on Lacy and Richardson doesn't mean the Gators don't expect Alabama and first-year QB A.J. McCarron to utilize their passing game. The Gators have been susceptible to penalties with their aggressive style of play on defense, but said they don't plan to tone it down tonight.

"You can’t back off,'' S Pop Saunders said. "When you back off that’s when you get beat. So you have to stay aggressive and don’t worry about the penalties. Just play your game and let the refs call.''

[Last modified: Saturday, October 1, 2011 12:01pm]


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