Gators center Jonotthan Harrison believes this week’s matchup with No. 3 Alabama will be all about the battle at the line of scrimmage.
And he has no doubts No. 12 Florida will find success running the ball come Saturday.
“We will get the run,” Harrison said Tuesday. “We will get the run. It starts with the offensive line, and that’s the position I play, and I have confidence in my unit.”
When asked if he was making a guarantee, Harrison wouldn’t take it that far, simply responding that he is confident in his position group.
Considering the numbers, it’s understandable that Harrison feels sure about Florida’s ability to run against Alabama. The Gators currently tout the top rushing offense in the Southeastern Conference and rank 10th in the nation with 259 yards per contest on the ground.
Florida also averages nearly 6 yards per carry behind its close-knit offensive line and a running back corps led by speedsters Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, who have combined for 765 rushing yards and six scores on the ground.
Although Harrison said he is sure Florida will be able to establish the run against Alabama, the Gators will be facing a tough test, as the Crimson Tide’s run defense ranks third in the nation (45.75 yards per game allowed).
“It’s a line-of-scrimmage game,” Harrison said. “If the offensive line does their job, and does their job successfully, then the offense in general will have more success.”
Patience key: Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said Tuesday that Alabama’s defense is solid at all 11 spots on the field and that the Gators need to play fundamentally sound against the Tide if they want to come out on top.
“Sometimes when you’re playing football you have to realize that punting isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Weis said. “What you have to do is make sure you make good decisions in the game where you don’t make a critical mistake … and all of a sudden give one to them.”
While Weis said the Gators need to be cautious in not making bad decisions, he added Florida will be sure to empty its playbook on the field Saturday night.
“You have to go ahead and throw the kitchen sink at them now,” he said. “They’re going to get the kitchen sink. You guys have been writing about holding things back, well you won’t have to worry about that this week.”
Brantley fine: Weis said quarterback John Brantley, who briefly exited the Kentucky game after taking a couple of hard hits, is healthy and took “most of the reps” in practice Tuesday, an encouraging sign for the offensive coordinator.
“He’s glad the game is still a few days away,” Weis said. “But he’s moving along nicely. He’s progressing nicely. He threw the ball well [Tuesday].”
Etc.: Defensive tackle Omar Hunter said the injured finger in his right hand is getting better and that he hopes the protective mitt he has been wearing during games will be even smaller this weekend.