GAINESVILLE -- OK, so Tim Tebow has had plenty of headlines this season and linebacker Brandon Spikes has been a pretty popular guy, too. This Saturday, the Florida Gators defensive backs have the potential to steal a little of the spotlight.
Arkansas (3-2, 1-2 SEC) might have a losing record in the Southeastern Conference but the Razorbacks defeated Auburn last week. The Hogs are confident and visit Gainesville this Saturday boasting the best passing offense in the SEC (318.2 yards per game). That factoid is interesting because the Gators have the nation's best passing defense (115.2 yards per game), according to the stat book, but haven't played a quarterback with the ability and potential of Arkansas passer Ryan Mallet.
Florida thinks it has one of the best sets of defensive backs in the nation. Major Wright, Ahmad Black, Will Hill, Janoris Jenkins and Joe Haden will get their chance to prove it on Saturday. On Tuesday, UF's secondary began preparing for their toughest test of the season.
"The DBs are very excited about this," said Wright, who has two interceptions this season along with Haden and Jenkins. "Today we started off with overlapping and playing the quarterback and doing things different."
Florida safeties coach Chuck Heater said on Tuesday that the Gators' secondary is expecting a challenge in shutting down Mallet, who transferred from Michigan to Arkansas when the Wolverines hired former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez. Mallet has thrown 13 touchdowns this season, leads the SEC with 1,422 passing yards through five games and is second only to Tebow among SEC quarterbacks in passing efficiency.
"This is the best offense we've faced and this is the best skill we've faced in my opinion," Heater said. "So, it's a real challenge for us and schematically just how they do things is very impressive. It's a challenge for us on defense and we're excited about it but it will be a challenge for us."