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October 10, 2012
Jordan Rodgers nearly did the unthinkable last season.
Vanderbilt's quarterback largely had his way with Florida's defense in the second half of last year's meeting between the two sides.. He did it with both his arm and his legs. He finished with 297 yards and two touchdowns through the air and a touchdown on the ground.
Rodgers was possibly a successful onside kick away from leading the Commodores to a victory against eh Gators for the first time since 1988. He didn't and Vanderbilt lost 26-21.
"We certainly have a lot of respect for the way Rodgers can run," Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. "Having seen him do it against us, I don't think you have to tell anybody on our club that. We know this guy can run."
Luckily for the Gators, there is a greater body of work to go off of to prepare for Rodgers this go-round. Last season, he was an essentially unknown junior college transfer and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' little brother. This year, not only will Rodgers not surprise them, but they have previous time game experience against mobile quarterbacks.
Florida was caught off-guard by freshman Johnny Manziel's mobility at Texas A&M before lessening the aggression of its pass rush and blocking off his running lanes in the second half. On a daily basis in practice, the Gators' defense goes against a mobile quarterback in sophomore starter Jeff Driskel.
"That dual-threat certainly is something we have to work hard on in practice," Quinn said. "Fortunately our QBs can run, so when we get a chance to go against them we know what that feels like. ? We need to do a better job against that."
Jenkins' status: It's becoming a weekly thing to check in on the injury status of junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins, and Wednesday was no different. UF coach Will Muschamp announced Monday that Jenkins is "probable" for Saturday's game with a hamstring injury.
Quinn said Florida is taking it "day-by-day" with Jenkins but would like to see him play against the Commodores.
"We're pushing Jelani as hard as he can to get him ready to play," he said. "We certainly need him to."
Limiting penalties: Muschamp has said in the past he is alright with "aggressive" penalties, but procedural penalties are what he wants to see cut down. Quinn said he is happy with what he has seen in regard to the latter issue lately.
"We have the officials at practice who throw the flag," he said. "Each day at practice, we try to create as much of game-like situations as we can to let them know you can't line up both sides or you can't jump or that's illegal contact or whatever it might have been. So, I think that's a big emphasis for us."
Respecting Easley: On some teams, an abrasive on-field personality like junior defensive end Dominique Easley might not be a coach's favorite player. But at Florida, Quinn said he likes the kind of demeanor Easley brings to the field with his dancing, trash talking and overall aura.
"They all respect him because of the attitude and stuff that he brings," he said. "To me when you have that part of your team, yeah, I think that's a good thing. All teams are made up of a whole bunch of different guys."