- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – These five Florida players need to produce when the No. 24 Gators play at Texas A&M on Saturday:
LS Kyle Crofoot: I’m not kidding. This is an important spot, especially on FGs and PATs. The timing on Caleb Sturgis’ 27-yard FG try in the fourth quarter was off, and that played a big factor in Sturgis missing the kick, Muschamp said. Drew Ferris is out with a broken collarbone so it’s Crofoot’s job for the immediate future.
QB Jeff Driskel: Yes, it’s his first start. And yes, it comes on the road in perhaps the biggest home game in A&M history. But the Gators need a passing attack to go with RB Mike Gillislee. Driskel has to show he’s capable of making plays down the field.
DE Dominique Easley: UF got just one sack against Bowling Green, and Easley got it. Nothing affects a young QB more than pass rushers in his face. Consistent pressure is the key, and Easley’s the best the Gators have as a pass rusher until Ronald Powell returns. He needs to be in Johnny Manziel’s face all day.
WR Frankie Hammond: UF coach Will Muschamp has said throughout August that Hammond was UF’s most consistent receiver. He certainly wasn’t that against Bowling Green. He broke a tackle and scored on a 50-yard catch-and-run, but he also dropped two passes. Driskel needs a reliable target, and Hammond is the top candidate.
CB Loucheiz Purifoy: The sophomore missed two tackles on a Bowling Green drive and got replaced the following series by Jaylen Watkins. He’ll be on the field a lot because the Gators will use six DBs to combat A&M’s up-tempo, wide-open offense. He needs to tackle better.