University of Florida

UF defensive coordinator perplexed by unit’s early game woes

UF defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin coaches from the sideline during a game against Georgia in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.
UF defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin coaches from the sideline during a game against Georgia in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. AP

The University of Florida’s defense has overcome slows starts this season, but coordinator D.J. Durkin is ready for the troubling trend to end.

The Gators have been outscored a combined 38-7 in the first quarter in the past four games.

“If I knew how to [fix the problem], I would,” Durkin said, jokingly. “It’s good news, bad news. There’s three weeks in a row where we gave up an early touchdown. You’d say we probably shouldn’t have, but teams are executing against us, too. Give them credit. But our guys have bounced back in each one of those and really tied those down and made some adjustments on the side and they played well on the side of it.”

Florida rallied from early deficits to knock off Georgia and Vanderbilt, as the defense’s adjustments worked and the offense eventually found its footing.

But often times, with the Gators’ inconsistent attack, the defense’s poor starts have been too much to overcome.

Despite a defense ranked No. 20 nationally, opponents have scored first in six of UF’s nine games – with Florida losing three of those contests.

The Gators aim to turn the tide Saturday against Eastern Kentucky (noon, SEC Network).

“I’d like for us to start faster and not give up that quick seven,” Durkin said. “I think it’s a combination of a couple things. It’s a different issue each time, not the same issue popping up. We’ve talked about it and addressed it with our guys.”

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