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

Sep 24, 2021 | 0 comments

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During my time at Florida, I only lost to Tennessee one out of my five seasons, and that was a fluke second-half performance at Tennessee my true freshman season. Since then, we have gotten back to the trend of dominating the Volunteers in Ben Hill Griffin and at Neyland Stadium.

The Swamp should be rocking yet again Saturday night. This team proved that the defense is much more formidable than last season’s disaster. This team has a legit shot to make the CFB Playoff and they should beat the brakes off a Tennessee team that has turned into a laughingstock in the SEC.

Dio’s Dos

1) Run the Football

  • This is the first time under Dan Mullen that Florida’s identity is to run the ball. The balanced attack has worked well this season with Emory Jones, a legitimate dual-threat quarterback and a running back group that might be the best in the country. The Gators running back room is a three-headed monster of Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, and Nay’Quan Wright. All three of these backs have their own style of play that has allowed the Gators to currently own the second-best run offense in college football through three weeks this year. If the Gators can run the ball as effectively as they have thus far, they should dominate the Vols from start to finish.

2) Dominate in the trenches

  • The identity of this team is much more different than that of last year’s team. We knew we were going to be able to throw all over our opponent and the offense was going to have quick scoring drives. Fortunately, it seems that this year’s ground and pound offense might be just what the Gators need to win big-time games this year. The offensive and defensive line have dominated in the trenches thus far and proved their legitimacy this past week against Alabama. Guy’s like Ethan White and Zach Carter have turned into dominate linemen on their own sides of the ball and are crucial reasons why this Gator team has won their first three battles in the trenches. If the Gators can keep this trend going, I expect them to win in easy fashion Saturday.

3) Win the Special Teams Battle

  • Last week was a tough game for the special teams. Some costly mistakes had a negative impact on the game for the Gators. I’m not used to that. During my time as a long snapper for the team, we rarely lost the special team’s battle. Tennessee has always had a solid special teams. They were a top kick returning team whenever we played them and have beaten their opponents this year in return average and net punt average. The Gators need to win the field position battle and flip the field whenever the offense stalls.

Dio’s Don’ts

1) Allow Tennessee to Run the Football

  • Tennessee has not played good competition thus far this season. From what I’ve seen from the Volunteers so far, they have one of, if not the worst passing attack in the SEC. They are ranked dead last in the SEC in passing yards and passing yards per game. This is something that was an issue for their team during my last season as a Gator. The Vols focal point on offense is to run the football. They are currently the fifth-ranked rushing offense in the SEC. They will be going against a Florida run defense that held Alabama under 100 yards last week. The Gators need to reciprocate that same performance and contain the run Saturday. If they can do so then, they will force Tennessee to play opposite of their identity and throw the ball. I don’t see Tennessee being able to do much of anything against this Gator’s defensive unit that has looked ions better than last season.

Side note: Extremely frustrating because if last season’s defense played more like this year’s defense, we would’ve won the SEC Championship last year and been in the CFB Playoff.

2) Get Complacent

  • As I stated at the beginning of the article, the only time I lost to Tennessee during my time at UF was my true freshman year. We were up at half and came out slow in the second half and ultimately blew our lead and lost the game at Neyland Stadium. This is something I don’t expect from the Gators Saturday, but still, it is important to keep the foot on the gas pedal throughout the game. The Gators need to continue the trend of dominating Tennessee with a strong showing this weekend.


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

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