Louisiana State Tigers vs. Florida Gators Preview and Predictions 10-17-2020

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Florida is not playing well on defense.

Neither is LSU.

The dueling defensive deficiencies could spark a shootout when the No. 10 Gators (2-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) play host to the Tigers (1-2, 1-2) on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla.

Both teams are coming off last-second losses.

Florida fell to 41-38 to Texas A&M on a last-second field goal while LSU came up short, 45-41, at Missouri when it failed on four consecutive plays from the opponent's 1-yard line.

When Florida coach Dan Mullen turned his attention to LSU and LSU coach Ed Orgeron turned his attention to Florida, both coaches zeroed in on their defense.

"I probably spent more time than normal with the defense," Mullen said.

The Gators are allowing an average of 495.0 yards per game, which ranks 72nd among the 76 FBS teams that have played this season. LSU is 71st at 494.7 yards per game.

Mullen is looking for more physicality up front, prompting his staff to evaluate personnel usage.

"We went through each guy," Mullen said. "We went through, 'Are we asking guys to do things they can do well? Where are we being mismatched? Where is, right at this moment, where is their strength? Where is their weakness? And are we highlighting their strengths and protecting their weaknesses?'"

Mullen said the Gators have been playing "short-handed defensively," but he hopes some players will return this week.

"We've got a great coaching staff, and I know our scheme is sound," Mullen said. "But now, as guys are performing here on a live basis within a game, there's a lot of new faces out there for us as well. Are we putting them in a position to make plays? What we've got to do is make sure we're moving the guys into the right spots to be able to make plays."

Orgeron and his staff have done a similar evaluation. The Tigers allowed an SEC-record 623 passing yards in a season-opening loss to Mississippi State.

In the loss at Missouri last week, LSU surrendered 406 passing yards and four touchdown passes.

"I told the players to put it on me," Orgeron said. "It starts with the coaches. I told the coaching staff that we've got to coach them better, got to get better. I'm not going to put it on the players. We've got to execute better, but we've got to practice better.

"There are some things going on in that film, some busts, guys running wide open."

Orgeron vowed to simplify the defense in hopes that the players can master some basics before returning to an expanded playbook.

"I don't care if we have to play one defense and one coverage. Play it, play it right, do whatever we need to do, put our athletes in a good position and let them make plays," Orgeron said. "I'm going to make sure that any defense that's called that we run it right all week and our guys understand it. If we don't understand it, we're not running it."

Orgeron said missed assignments were a major problem against Missouri.

"I do believe there was some miscommunication going on," he said. "Guys were out of position. Guys didn't play stuff right. We've got to make sure our guys know everything that we're going to do. If not, we're not going to run it.

"Not letting people run by us and score touchdowns uncontested -- that would be a great start. I don't want to single anybody out on defense. When you give up 45 points, nobody is playing well."

--Field Level Media

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Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Capacity: 88,548

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Last Injuries

Florida Gators

  • Ethan White

    Ques Sat | probable

    White has missed the last three games with an undetermined ailment, and it is unknown if he will dress against Missouri on Saturday.

  • Jahari Rogers

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Rogers has missed the last two games due to an unknown injury, and his availability for Saturday's tilt versus Missouri has yet to be established.

  • Jordan Pouncey

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Pouncey has missed the last three contests with an unspecified injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be active for Saturday's clash against Missouri.

  • Quincy Lenton

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Lenton has been inactive for the last three games due to an injury to an unlisted area, and it is unknown if he will be available for Saturday's battle against Missouri.

  • Joshua Tse

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Tse has missed the previous three contests due to an unspecified ailment, and it is undetermined if he will play Saturday against Missouri.

  • Kyle Pitts

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Pitts exited the previous game with a left foot injury, and his availability for Saturday's contest against Missouri is in question.

  • Fenley Graham

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Graham has missed the previous three contests with an unknown injury, and it has yet to be established if he will take the field against Missouri on Saturday.

  • Kevin Johnson

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Johnson has not participated in the last three games due to an unspecified ailment. It has yet to be determined if he will return Saturday versus Missouri.

Louisiana State Tigers

  • Dare Rosenthal

    Out indefinitely | out

    Rosenthal is serving an indefinite suspension for a violation of team rules, and it remains to be seen when he will return to the field.

  • Travez Moore

    out for season | out

    Moore has decided to opt-out for the remainder of the season due to a personal reason.

  • Lloyd Cole

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Cole left the previous game with an apparent foot injury, and it is unclear if he will be available against Auburn on Saturday.

  • Myles Brennan

    Doub Sat | doubtful

    Brennan has an oblique injury and has missed the last two games. He is not expected to bounce back in time for Saturday's clash against Auburn.

  • Tre'Davious White

    Prob Sun | probable

    White was confined to a limited role in practice with a back injury, but he is likely to suit up for Sunday's showdown versus the Jets.

  • Arik Gilbert

    Prob Sat | probable

    Gilbert is nursing an undefined injury, but it is anticipated that he will suit up against South Carolina on Saturday.

  • Terrace Marshall Jr.

    Prob Sat | probable

    Marshall Jr. is battling an unspecified injury, but it likely that he will face South Carolina on Saturday.

  • Derek Stingley Jr.

    Ques Sat | questionable

    Stingley Jr. has an ankle sprain, and it is is up in the air if he will play against South Carolina on Saturday.