Throughout its first four games of the season the Florida Gators defense has arguably been the best defensive unit in all of college football.
The Gators boast the No. 1 rush defense in the nation, allowing just 53.5 yards per game. They have already kept the likes of Miami (Fla.) running back Duke Johnson in check this season and hope to do the same this weekend when they face the Arkansas Razorbacks and their two-headed running back tandem of freshman Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams.
Collins, who was heavily recruited by Florida coming out of high school, has run for over 100 yards in four of five games this year. Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin knows how good Collins is and says it will take solid play from his whole unit to slow him and the rest of the Razorback rushing attack down.
Similar to Florida, Arkansas is a run first team and averages nearly 240 rushing yards per game. But, the Razorbacks still provide different looks and try to mix in the pass with the run game as well. Durkin says his team is preparing to deal with any situation.
Before he suffered a season ending knee injury, Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley was a major part of Florida’s success in stopping the run. However, Durkin says even without Easley his defense still has the personnel to get the job done.
One key player who will be on the field for the Gators on Saturday is linebacker Mike Taylor. After racking up eight tackles last weekend at Kentucky, the junior is now listed on the depth chart as a possible starter at both the middle and weakside linebacker positions. Durkin says with the way Taylor has played this year, it is essential to have him on the field in as many situations as possible.
Also listed as a starter on the Florida depth chart is junior Marcus Roberson. Roberson has not played the last two weeks because of a sprained knee.
The Florida-Arkansas game can be heard on ESPN 850 WRUF. Coverage starts on Saturday at 3 p.m. Kick off is set for 7 p.m.