Florida vs. Tennessee in The Swamp is less than 24 hours away. Here are five Gators that we hope will shine on Saturday.
DE/LB Ronald Powell
Doesn't it seem sort of odd that Ronald Powell has become the forgotten man of Florida's Big Three pass-rushers? Dominique Easley dances; Sharrif Floyd gets ruled ineligible; Ronald Powell hears "We're certainly looking for more production." That's not really a knock on Powell alone — that phrase from Dan Quinn could just as easily have ended with "from the entire defensive line" — but it is troubling that Powell, who would get a curve-breaking grade on the "Is this guy a football player?" eye test, hasn't brought much heat off the edge. We'll see if Quinn and Will Muschamp unleash him with blitzes on Saturday.
RB Chris Rainey
True story: Rainey has 18 carries for 101 yards (5.61 yards per carry) in his two games against Tennessee. (He missed last year's contest after the "Time to die" text, in case this is the first thing you have ever read on the Internet.) That's not Rainey-like production, either for his career (7.15 yards per carry) or his impressive start to the 2011 season (7.33 yards per carry), so it would certainly be a boost if the quarkback could do some stat-padding against the most athletic defense the Gators have seen thus far.
I suspect Marcus Roberson will be matched up on Justin Hunter, because I think the coaches trust Roberson enough to give him Tennessee's best receiver. Hunter is 6'4", weighs about 200 pounds, and jumps like the Kriss Kross song; Roberson's 6'1" and more like 170 pounds. Let's hope Hunter isn't fed a steady diet of fades.
SS Matt Elam
Elam's got all the physical tools to be Florida's next great safety, and I think he will eventually be a hybrid of Reggie Nelson and Ahmad Black. (You may salivate.) But to make good on that potential, Elam has to start making big plays; that could be by forcing fumbles, as he did for the Gators' only turnover of 2011 against UAB, or by breaking up a deep throw or two. But there's really no better time than the present for Elam to start doing something.
WR/KR Andre Debose
Remember how crippling Brandon James' proficiency in the return game was against the Vols? Debose, who will probably factor into this game more as a returner than a pass-catcher, could deliver a similar shot or two with a long return.
Who else are you hoping for a big game from?
For more on the Vols, head to Rocky Top Talk.