Dio's Do's & Don'ts: Florida v Florida Atlantic

Sep 3, 2021 | 0 comments

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Brett DioGuardi's football career at Florida spanned five years, two head coaches, three SEC East winning squads, and two NY6 bowl appearances. After suiting up in the Orange & Blue for 12 games last year, he is as familiar with the coaches, players, and routine as any analyst out there.

Today, leading up to Florida's season opener against Florida Atlantic, he breaks down three Do's and Don'ts if the Gators are to come out of the weekend victorious.

Dio’s Do’s:

1) – Get Emory Jones comfortable

  • Emory Jones is set to make his first official start as the Kyle Trask era is over. Dan Mullen and Garrick McGee need to make sure to let their dual-threat quarterback get off to a nice start with a mixture of some quick read throws and designed runs. However, they shouldn’t be afraid to let him throw the ball downfield. The Redshirt Junior is eager to finally get the keys to the offense and the coaching staff needs to let him gain some confidence by giving him the freedom to make plays through the air. In his experience prior to this season, Jones has been used primarily as a running quarterback. You may not have seen it yet in games, but he showed every day in practice that arm talent is not an issue, and they should use the season opener as a way for Jones to demonstrate that part of his game.

2) – Establish the run game

  • The run game was abysmal for the Gators this past season. The team didn’t have many issues when passing the ball in an offense filled with playmakers such as Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. Kyle Trask averaged over 350 yards per game in 2020. Don’t expect the Gators to be so pass-heavy this season. The strength of this team is the running back room, and the coaching staff needs to find ways to get as much production from that group as possible. The offensive line will need to be productive in the run game to create space for Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, and Nay’Quan Wright. If they can do so, this season’s offense will exemplify a much more balanced attack that can help them win a lot of games this year.

3) – Get to the Quarterback

  • The Gators need to make life miserable for N’kosi Perry right from the get-go. The Gators should boast a much improved defensive unit in 2021. The defensive line has plenty of depth and should be able to get to the quarterback in a hurry. This unit should have a clear advantage over the FAU offensive line. If the Gators can disrupt Perry and force the Owls to run the ball or fall behind the chains, then Todd Grantham can pack the box and let linebackers such as Ventrell Miller have an absolute field day. I expect the Gators to get at least 4+ sacks in the season opener. Between Zach Carter, Brenton Cox, and some new names set to make some noise in the trenches, I have high expectations for this group.

4) – Force Turnovers

  • The Gators need to do a much better job in turnover differential this season. If the offense can get off to a hot start, they will force the Owls to throw the ball more than they may want to. I have no doubt that Jim Thorpe Award watch list cornerback Kair Elam will lock down his side of the field from start to finish in this one. Avery Helm was a surprise starter in this week’s depth chart, but I’ve seen him up close in practice and he has the tools to be a top corner. Guys such as himself need to make some plays for the Gators. Ultimately, if the Gators can force some turnovers during this game, they should blow out the Owls.

Dio’s Don’ts:

1) – Start off slow

  • The Gators need to score early and often. They can’t afford to start off slow and let the Owls believe that they can hang with this Gators team. I would like to see Florida have a dominant first series on offense and run up the scoreboard on their in-state opponent. The Gators shouldn’t have much trouble in this one if they execute their game plans on both sides of the ball. The key part is to start fast and don’t look back. Make the Owl’s uncomfortable and force them to play catch up.

2) – Sloppy tackling

  • The Gators need to use this season opener to establish their form tackling. Missed tackles can absolutely kill a defense. The Gators return their top two leading tacklers in Ventrell Miller and Mohamoud Diabate. Look for these guys to rack up plenty of tackles Saturday night. I hope to see plenty of TFLs for the Gators as well. Look for the defensive line to win upfront and get into that backfield. If the Gators can avoid arm tackles and play discipline football, I don’t see FAU being able to stay in this game.


Be sure to tune into Brett DioGuardi’s Bleav in Florida Football podcast by clicking HERE

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