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If you were watching the Alabama vs Florida game this past weekend, well I just feel sorry for you if you turned it off after it got a bit out of hand in the early stages. Turns out, the Gators looked like a team that could face the Tide again in the SEC Championship Game in December. But first, they have to focus on what’s ahead, which is Tennessee, as head coach Dan Mullen mentioned.
“I know people think this is crazy, but next week becomes an even bigger game. This [Alabama] game has no effect on our Eastern Conference record. We control everything we want to do still for the rest of the season.”
This is the interesting thing about college football. When teams come off such a monumental game, coaches are always worried about their group bouncing back with emotion. This could be said for Florida, who gave everything they had against Alabama last week. The wild environment is something Dan Mullen is hoping to see again on Saturday night against the Vols.
“I’ll sing, if they wanna give me a mic pregame. I’ll go sing or do a little dance routine. Whatever we need if it will help people come.”
That right there is a coach who knows he’ll need some juice from the crowd to keep his team focused against the Vols.
There are some other positives to look towards this week for the Gators. Dan Mullen said there is a chance that Anthony Richardson, who suffered a hamstring injury, could be at 100% this Saturday. However, Mullen mentioned there is no reason to rush him back and risk a setback. Tennessee WR Velus Jones Jr. went through a similar situation the past few weeks, but he looked 100% on Saturday.
There’s no denying the talent this Florida team has, especially on defense, where they held Alabama to under 100 yards rushing on 28 attempts. On offense, this Florida team must improve on 3rd downs. They went just 4-12. If the Vols let the Florida quarterback get outside the pocket and use his legs, it could spell trouble.
We should all be impressed with what the Gators did on the ground, rushing for 245 yards against the Tide. I haven’t seen a number like that against a Nick Saban team in a while, and it might not happen again anytime soon. So, that’s where Florida must attack, even though the Tennessee defense has actually been more effective than the offense. The Vols might lack depth at certain positions, but their ability to attack the run game is something to watch on Saturday. They have speed, just not a lot of it.
It’s early in the week, and we will get a few injury updates before the Vols and Gators kickoff on Saturday night. But right now, you have to like where the Gators stand as they open SEC East competition.
I really hope we don’t have to see Dan Mullen singing and dancing to get the crowd to show up. That is a picture I don’t want stuck in my head.