Florida Team News

3 players most on the spot on Saturday

Joshua Dobbs

Welcome to our Friday List, a weekly look at three SEC football players who will be most in the spotlight in that weekend’s games. Suffice it to say, if these guys shirk from the glare, their teams are in trouble.

3. LSU QB Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris needs to prove he can be an effective passer. Will that happen this week vs. South Carolina? DERICK E. HINGLE/USA TODAY SPORTS

The skinny: OK, we’re stretching it a bit here because Harris can play poorly and LSU still can win — and win easily. Still, at some point this season, Harris going to have to show he can complete an important pass, right? Right? The guy has thrown only 61 passes in four games and is completing just 54.1 percent of them. We get that his main job is to turn around and either hand off or pitch the ball to Leonard Fournette, and that has worked quite well. But it would behoove LSU coaches to let Harris unlimber his right arm to make sure he is ready for next week against Florida and huge games in November against Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. South Carolina’s defense isn’t much, and maybe this is the week for Harris to have some success as a passer. (Then again, Fournette has been compared to Herschel Walker, and Walker carried Georgia to the national title in 1980 with Georgia QB Buck Belue completing 77 passes all season. Yep, 77.)

2. Missouri QB Drew Lock

The skinny: The touted true freshman — a consensus four-star recruit from the Kansas City area — makes his second career start. He was 21-of-28 for 136 yards and two TDs in last week’s win over South Carolina, but he will see a much better defense — and a secondary that is one of the best in the nation — this week against Florida. Mizzou coaches had a perfect game plan for Lock last week, having him dink-and-dunk his way to success. He was helped mightily by a strong Tigers defense, which meant the offense wasn’t under pressure to score scads of points. Mizzou’s defense should bother Florida, and it’s doubtful the Gators have the same kind of offensive success they had last week against Ole Miss. But how effective will Lock be against Florida’s aggressive defense? If he plays as well as he did last week, Mizzou will win and be right back in the hunt for the SEC East title.

1. Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs

The skinny: Dobbs was supposed to be the next big thing. He and Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson were expected to push Dak Prescott for all-league honors at quarterback. Well, Johnson has been benched and Dobbs — except for a big game on the ground at Florida — has been merely adequate. He scares no one as a passer, and the coaching staff has not helped him develop that facet of his game. Dobbs is shifty and explosive, and is going to have some success on the ground Saturday against Georgia. But it’s hard to imagine Tennessee winning unless Dobbs also can be effective through the air. Nothing he has shown this season — and, frankly, nothing he has shown since last season’s matchup with Kentucky, which was eight games ago — should make anyone think that will happen.

(Follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)

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