Gators' Marco Wilson, Ventrell Miller 'Excited' To Face Ole Miss Saturday
Excited is only just one word to describe how the Gators must feel after spending the last month-and-a-half training for perhaps the most highly-anticipated start to a season yet.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there was speculation, discussion and active concern regarding the status of the 2020 collegiate season. While it won't be the same, the SEC decided to conduct its season internally, allowing for a 10-game, conference-only schedule that would allow all teams within the conference to undergo the same testing procedures and safety protocols.
With that, Florida will be playing its first game of the season this Saturday against the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, somewhere they haven't played since 2007 in a 30-24 victory. None of the players on the roster have played against Ole Miss, but they're excited to see what happens.
“I’m excited," Gators defensive back Marco Wilson said on Monday. "You know, the season got delayed so there’s been a lot of practice against our own team. So we’re excited to go against somebody else and just start competing."
Florida will have a tough ask on Saturday, not due to the perceived level of competition, but simply because they do not yet know how the Rebels will play. Ole Miss is entering the year with a completely new coaching staff led by head coach Lane Kiffin.
Wilson says Florida will have to go back and watch other teams to get a better handle on how Ole Miss might play on offense. "But you've just got to trust what you're watching on film, and if it turns out that that's not what we see, you've just gotta adjust during the game and just continue to play hard."
Its offense will be different, but Wilson understands the talent they have on the field, particularly John Rhys Plumlee, who is a quarterback and an offensive weapon for the Rebels.
“We just have to make sure that we contain him," Wilson said of Plumlee. "We’re well aware that he can run, the guy is fast. We’ve got to make sure we keep an eye on that. Don’t get lazy in our techniques up front and make sure we hone in on that.”
His speed is something the Gators will have to contend with throughout the day on Saturday. Gators head coach Dan Mullen said Plumlee might be faster than anyone on Florida's roster, which includes players such as Kaiir Elam who stated last week he could run faster than a 4.40 40-yard dash.
"I mean, he has elite, elite, elite speed and is a game-breaker," Mullen said on Monday. "He can break a game open at any time. But then you go to Matt, who can extend and scramble and play. So it’s going to be kind of that strain to play all the way to whistle on every snap. Don’t just assume."
Gators linebacker Ventrell Miller is ready for kickoff. He told members of the media on Monday he's been watching other teams play and is "glad" to be getting back out there.
"Definitely feels good," said Miller. "But also, you know, it's the first game, so you really [got to] lock in and make sure every day everybody is on the right cord and all that kind of stuff. So, definitely excited but definitely it’s time to focus as well."
Florida-Ole Miss will kickoff in Oxford at 12:00 p.m. ET. on Saturday.