Sunday, February 25, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators prepare for Vanderbilt Commodores' mobile QB

GAINESVILLE — Saturday marks the first time since the Texas A&M game on Sept. 8 that Florida faces a dual-threat QB, Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers.

"Not only do they have a mobile QB, they also have a quarterback running game package where there are some direct quarterback runs," Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said Wednesday. "You have to do a really good job of setting the edges because sometimes when you face a guy who has the speed to get outside, he'll break contain and then try to create a play that way.

"Fortunately, our QBs can run. So when we get a chance to go against them, we know what it feels like."

No looking ahead: The Gators enter on a high after defeating LSU. But after beating the Commodores by only five points last season, they aren't overlooking them with an eye toward the following game against South Carolina.

"They are much improved," Florida senior LB Jon Bostic said. "They've got some guys that really are pretty good. A lot of people always look over them, but this Vanderbilt team has been improving pretty much since my freshman year."

USF: Finding inspiration

TAMPA — If USF, mired in a four-game skid, needed a reminder a team can bounce back from a 2-4 start, it finds one next week when it travels to face Louisville.

The Cardinals started 2-4 last season, including losing to Florida International. Then they clicked, winning five of six to finish tied for first in the Big East.

"There's a lot we can still play for, a lot more we can still accomplish," Bulls QB B.J. Daniels said. "Our goals, fortunately, we're still able to attain them."

Senior G Danous Estenor said players have talked about Louisville's turnaround.

"There's a lot of optimism in the locker room," he said. "(Louisville) gives us a lot of hope: 'Okay, it's been done before. It's not something out of reach.' We're trying to take that to the next game, fix our mistakes and correct them all in the next game."

THIS AND THAT: The bye week lets younger players get reps with the first teams. Wednesday, that included LB Zack Bullock, walk-on S Trevon Griffin and LT Darrell Williams. … Freshman LB Tashon Whitehurst, who missed Saturday's game with a knee injury, returned to practice. … One current positional experiment: shifting redshirt freshman C.J. Garye from safety to weakside linebacker. … Coach Skip Holtz's father, Lou, watched practice from a golf cart. "He's pretty feisty," Daniels said. "He has a big voice. When he speaks, you listen to him."

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

FSU: Change on punts

TALLAHASSEE — After two straight opponents blocked Florida State punts, including Saturday's that helped N.C. State win, senior DT Everett Dawkins grew impatient. So he persuaded special teams coach Eddie Gran to make him a punt protector.

"Special teams is a big part of our game," said Dawkins, who has prior experience on special teams. "It was like, 'If I have to run down the field or whatever I have to do, I don't care. I just want you to put me back on it.' "

Tuesday at practice, Dawkins was among three positioned in front of P Cason Beatty.

"It's not as simple as people may think, especially when you have multiple people coming at you," Dawkins said about punt protection. "But at the end of the day, while the other team does all that (twisting, stunting and overloading on the line), the object is to stop them."

Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel

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