Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.
A.J. Green reminds Teryl Austin of some players the Florida defensive coordinator used to coach against in the NFL. What Green, the Georgia junior standout, lags behind the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin in size, he makes up for in speed.
Austin coached defensive backs for the Arizona Cardinals and would regularly match his guys up with those two receivers. That Green is in their class presents a problem for Florida.
After a four-game suspension, Green has returned to spark the Georgia offense. The Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC) have won three in a row and Green is averaging 91.2 yards per game. He has four touchdowns.
“He’s a difference maker for them,” Austin said. “Their offense was functioning well without him, but he’s really opened some things up for him. Obviously, he has the big-play capability that he can make some catches you can’t defend. You can be in great shape and think you’ve got great coverage and he’ll make the catch anyway.”
The Gators’ secondary has been a strength this year, accounting for eight of the team’s 13 interceptions. But Florida has had one in its past three games, all losses.
At 6-foot-4, Green presents a problem for the Florida secondary. Safety Will Hill is the only starter taller than 6-foot-1, and Florida has had mixed results against big receivers. Against Alabama, the Gators contained 6-foot-4 Julio Jones.
A week later, LSU receiver Terrance Toliver (6-foot-5) had 111 yards on six catches and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score with six seconds remaining. On his first touchdown, Toliver dragged 5-foot-11 Janoris Jenkins, the Gators’ best corner, into the end zone.
Florida could get help if 6-foot-2 CB Moses Jenkins returns this weekend. He has been out with an elbow injury and would be a game-time decision, Austin said.
“(Green is) really difficult,” Austin said. “He’s kind of the complete package. He can run after the catch, he’s smooth, he can get open, he can do all those things.”