Florida Football: 5 Players Who Need a Big Day in LSU Showdown
If beating Tennessee was considered a signature win for Will Muschamp, then beating LSU would be a "John Hancock" sized signature on Muschamp's resumé.
Despite not looking their best the past two weeks, LSU is still a team that cannot be overlooked. They bring in one of the best defensive fronts in the nation and will give the Florida Gators all they can handle on Saturday in the Swamp.
The Tigers have won the past two contests, and if the Gators hope to end that streak they will need to play their best game of the season.
Let's take a look at the top five players who need to play well for the Gators to come away with a win over LSU.
5. Caleb Sturgis
Yeah, I know.
A kicker is on the list?
Yes, and here's why.
Caleb Sturgis is 8-of-10 on the year and is perfect on all 14 of his point-after attempts.
Both LSU and Florida rely on a steady running game and a tough physical defense. With both teams trying to establish the run it should leave this game pretty close late. If the game comes down to a field goal late, Caleb Sturgis is a player you can count on in crunch time.
4. Lerentee McCray
As mentioned before, LSU's offensive line has struggled protecting the quarterback.
Make no mistake about it, LSU is going to run the ball early and often, but the Gators should be able to slow down the Tigers' running game.
LSU was averaging 269.3 rushing yards a game going into their game against Auburn. They only managed to run for 182 yards against Auburn, the SEC's worst rushing defense. Then against FCS opponent Towson, the Tigers were only able to muster 153 rushing yards. Florida should be able to slow down the LSU rushing attack enough to force Mettenberger to throw the ball.
This is where Lerentee McCray comes into play. McCray has filled in at "Buck" linebacker and has become the Gators' best pass-rusher this season. On the year, McCray has 10 tackles, six for a loss, one sack, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
When Mettenberger drops back to pass, the Gators need to put pressure on the first-year starter. That starts with McCray.
3. The Offensive Line
So technically this is cheating, but the offensive line playing well will be crucial for the Gators to be successful this week.
LSU has a defensive line that has future NFL superstars all over it. Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery are two of the best defensive end prospects in the country and will give the offensive line all they can handle.
The offensive line will need to play as a unit, especially if D.J. Humphries makes his first start at left tackle on Saturday.
The offensive line playing well is essential for what the Gators will look to do on Saturday. If the Gators can run the ball successfully to begin the game, it will open up passing lanes for Driskel as the game goes on.
2. Jeff Driskel
The young signal-caller has progressed each and every game, but this will be the toughest test he has ever faced.
Driskel will need to be accurate, decisive and fast on Saturday.
Driskel has been extremely accurate this season. He is completing just under 70 percent of his pass attempts this season. Driskel has shown accuracy not only in the short and intermediate passing game but has shown the necessary touch on his deep ball.
Driskel will also need to be decisive. Holding onto the ball too long will lead to Mingo and Montgomery creating a home in the backfield. Driskel needs to have an internal clock and know when to take off and use his athleticism to his advantage.
Florida will look to get the running game going as the always do, but Driskel will have to make plays for the Gators on Saturday if they are going to win this football game.
1. Mike Gillislee
You've heard it throughout this slideshow. Both teams will look to get their running game going early.
In steps Mike Gillislee.
Gillislee has been the motor that makes the Gators offense run. Florida makes no attempt at hiding their intentions on offense, and that is why Florida needs Gillislee to have a big day.
Gillislee is averaging 5.83 yards per attempt and has scored five touchdowns on the year.
Although this defense is more stout against the run the Gators have faced all season, they will stick with the run even if it is getting stuffed early. LSU is allowing only 83 yards on the ground a game this season, and something tells me that Gillislee will be able to surpass that number on his own this week.
If Gilly can run silly, Florida should be able to come out on top this weekend.