Hustle Belt: Due to some crazy weather, the Gators haven't actually played a full game yet. How do you think that's affected the team? What has been the reaction down in Florida?
Andy Hutchins: It's been a motivator if only because they are going stir-crazy, and it's like having Christmas cancelled when you can see the presents under the tree. That's what happened to Florida on Saturday, and both the team and the fans, though instinctively understand why the game didn't get played, have turned their anticipation to Florida's real opener.
HB: The only other meeting between these two teams was back in '04, with Florida terrorizing EMU 49-10. What is the mindset going into a game like this, facing an opponent that can be easily overlooked, especially with conference play starting the following week?
AH: I think Florida's less concerned with Eastern Michigan than it is with Florida, and doing what it needs to do to beat any team. The Gators might be treating EMU as a cupcake to devour, and after a year of famine, they're ready to feast. At this point, I don't really think the opponent matters all that much.
Also, the conference opponent is Kentucky. You don't look forward to Kentucky. This is football.
HB: With new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper calling the plays this season, what should we expect to see from this offense? Who are the playmakers we should watch out for?
AH: The offense is going to be much faster and more open than ones the previous three installments of Will Muschamp's tenure, and I think that's also going to lead to a much more successful offense, too. Florida is still going to try to be balanced and physical as it has strived to be under Muschamp, but the Gators will do so from a spread that promises to be more aggressive in the passing game and much faster in terms of tempo.
Jeff Driskel will be the most important playmaker for this offense, without question, but stud wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is finally positioned to make a splash on the field after 18 months of impressing on the practice field and taking a while to figure out everything else in his life to Muschamp's satisfaction. Florida's two lead running backs, Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor, could benefit greatly from a scheme that allows them to line up and find space.
HB: What are your keys to a Florida victory?
AH: Showing up.
HB: Final score?
AH: EMU needed serious help from special teams last week to edge an iffy FCS team at home. It ain't gonna be close this Saturday in The Swamp.
Florida 48, Eastern Michigan 10.