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3 things to know about Florida at Ole Miss

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports

WHO: No. 6 Florida at Ole Miss | TV:Noon Saturday, ESPN | Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850 | Favorite: Gators by 14. 

Florida and the SEC finally get into the swing of things in college football on Saturday. A look at some of the storylines:

It's been a while since the Gators were in action. The season starts Saturday in Oxford, Miss.

1. Unexpected starter for Gators

 There is one surprise starter for the Gators on Saturday. That would be redshirt senior C.J. McWilliams, who seemingly came out of nowhere to get the nod at the very important star position in the defensive secondary. Williams is probably best remembered for his struggle in a loss to Georgia two years ago, when he gave up two touchdown passes. He disappeared altogether last season after missing the year with an injury. Now, he's not only back — he's in the starting lineup. "He's really earned it," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "He's done a good job of making himself into a guy that we feel that we can count on in certain situations. He'll be able to contribute to what we do." 

2. Familiar with those QBs

Matt Corral (2) and John Rhys Plumlee (10) are expected to share time today at quarterback for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss likely will play two quarterbacks — Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee. The Florida coaching staff knows both pretty well, because they recruited both. Plumlee, who is from Mississippi, attended Florida coach Dan Mullen's summer camp when Mullen was at Mississippi State. And after Mullen left MSU to take over at Florida, one of the first things he did was send quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson to California to meet with Corral, who had committed to UF and Jim McElwain. The Gators, of course, landed neither and will have to face both in Oxford.

3. Four quarterback day

 Just like the Rebels, the Gators are going to play two quarterbacks Saturday — starter Kyle Trask and sophomore Emory Jones. Both are coming off a strong preseason camp, and Mullen and Johnson are determined to get Jones more involved in the offense. There was talk of doing that last season, but his playing time was somewhat sporadic. Jones fits with what Mullen wants in his offense, and he's going to get his snaps. As for Trask, the coaches have talked about turning him loose, which is intriguing, to say the least.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown against Virginia during the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Game questions

• Both teams likely will play two quarterbacks. Which team’s system is the most effective?

• Given all that’s happened, and the relatively small crowd at the game, will the Gators’ energy level be high, low, or somewhere in between?

• The word is the UF ground game is going to be better this season. Is it?

• Which of UF’s young receivers step up and make plays today?

• Will Georgia transfer and former five-star recruit Brenton Cox have a noticeable impact?

Check back Sunday for Andreu’s answers

Andreu’s pick

Florida 28, Ole Miss 21

(Last season’s record: 11-2)

Key matchup

Florida’s rushing offense vs. the Ole Miss run defense:  

 After finishing 13th in the SEC in rushing last season, averaging just 129.8 yards a game, the Gators are determined to put together a consistent and productive running game this season. They'll find out if they're heading in the right direction Saturday. Ole Miss has struggled in recent years on defense, but the Rebels really sealed up the middle last season, giving up only 138.5 yards a game on the ground. Here are two things to look for from Florida: the line is deeper and more experienced than a year ago and has been getting push in the running game in preseason camp; and running back Malik Davis appears to have regained the form he flashed in his freshman year and has really impressed the coaches with his performances in the two scrimmages. The Gators think they're going to be better on the ground this season.