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

Sep 16, 2021 | 0 comments


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Prior to sharing this week’s Dio’s Do’s & Don’ts, I just want to say that this one is personal. The Crimson Tide are the main reason why I am not wearing an SEC championship ring on my way to the game this Saturday. I know plenty of guys who graduated with me last year that would want nothing more than the team to get revenge against this Alabama team.

Luckily for Florida, the Tide have a ton of new faces in key roles like UF this year. It’ll be a tough test for my Gators though as they are already more than two-touchdown underdogs, however, if they can accomplish these goals I have below, I believe they have the potential to pull off the upset.

Dio’s Dos:

1) Play Disciplined Football

  • In the few times I played against Nick Saban, one thing was evident – his team rarely makes mistakes, whether it be through turnovers or penalties. Alabama is the more disciplined team in 99% of the games they play. Last year in the SEC Championship, we committed a handful of mistakes such as the penalties in the first half or turning the ball over late. Little hiccups like this are all that needs to happen for Saban and his systematic team to take advantage. If the Gators turn the ball over or commit penalties on either side of the ball, Alabama will take advantage and it will be a long day for UF. The players must stay laser-focused the entire game. They need to feed off the crowd but cannot lose focus and make careless mistakes.

2) Offensive Line Needs to Play Damn Near Perfect


  • Thinking back to last year’s game I remember vividly when Jean DeLance got beat off the edge and it resulted in a strip-sack of Kyle Trask. Plays like that that can derail any chance UF has of beating Alabama. This offensive line must be stout and cannot let Alabama’s playmakers pressure the quarterback. DeLance is going to have to play his best game as a Gator for UF to win this game. The Gators must be able to run the ball consistently and chew the clock. We are going to need multiple long play, time-consuming drives that can keep the ball out of Bryce Young’s hands. This will be the first real test for this newly assembled Gators’ starting five. Earlier this week Dan Mullen stated that he has kept the game plan simple thus far. He needs to back up his statement by demonstrating some formations and calls that keep Alabama on their heels throughout the game. Unfortunately for the Gators this game will not be won on one side of the ball though. The Gators will need to play a complete game on both sides of the ball and win the special teams battle as well.

3) Come Out Firing on All Cylinders

  • The Gators need to come into this matchup as if it were the SEC Championship game. The locker room needs to be juiced pregame and the guys must genuinely believe that they can beat this Alabama team. Over my time at UF there were plenty of times where everyone was doing their own thing in the locker room and there wasn’t enough of a spark prior to running onto the field. There should be no reason why the guys shouldn’t be fired up for this one. Not many people get to play Alabama in their lifetime let alone on your own home field. Ben Hill Griffin is going to be rocking and we need to feed off that energy and get the crowd involved early by executing and getting off to a fast start. Mullen needs to stop with the complacency about Anthony Richardson. He needs to find a happy medium between the quarterbacks and if one is playing better than the other one, he needs to let them make plays. As I’ve said earlier you must play a damn near-perfect game to beat Alabama and Mullen and company need to pull out all the stops to give this team a chance to upset the Crimson Tide.

Dio’s Don’ts:

1) Lose the Special Teams Battle

  • In a game against Saban and Alabama not only do you have to have your best performance of the season, but you must win the special team’s battle. Flipping the field will be key for the Gators in this one. Jeremy Crawshaw will need to have a great game and pin the Alabama returner whenever he gets the opportunity to do so. Chris Howard should be getting his first field goal attempts of the season. He and Crawshaw need to outperform the specialists for Alabama in this game. The kickoff team must make plays and make Alabama start deep in their own territory. There is no better feeling on the sideline than after a big hit on a kickoff. It immediately fires up the team as well as the fans. Plays like this can alter an outcome of a game. Special teams need to make plays and have a game-changing type play whether it be a recovered muffed punt or a big-time kickoff return. It’s tough to win on both sides of the ball in a game, but if you win the special teams battle, your team has a much better chance of winning the game.

2)– Get Bhind Early

  • The Gators cannot afford to dig themselves in a deep hole early in this one. Mullen will need to pull out his best opening drive script he has to get the Gators on the board early. A stop early on the defensive end will be a confidence boost to everyone on the team and allow them to believe they can pull off the upset. In last year’s SEC championship game, the few stops we had on the defensive end gave us an additional boost mentally that we were going to win the game. If Trey Dean doesn’t get blindsided on his interception return, our offense comes down and scores and it completely changes the outlook of that game. Especially now that Ventrell Miller is out for the season, the Gators will need to play together. Miller is the leader of the defense and now that he is out players like Brenton Cox and Mohamoud Diabate are going to have to step up and have big time games.

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

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