The 22nd ranked Florida Gators (4-1, 2-1) are gearing up to host the 5th ranked LSU Tigers (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday in what will be a hostile environment inside The Swamp. The rivalry between the Gators and Tigers has been growing in recent years as tensions have gotten high. Gainesville will be rocking on Saturday, as aside from the Tigers coming to town, former Gator-great Tim Tebow will be inducted into the program’s Ring of Honor at halftime.
Gameday Initiatives: #LSUvsUF
Dan Mullen got a huge win last week against his former team, the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and now, Mullen and the Gators hope their big win last week can carry over to this week. However, the Gators need to quickly put last week’s win behind them, as their toughest test thus far this season awaits them Saturday. Armchair takes a look at some keys to victory for the Gators:
Successful Game Plan by Mullen
Last week’s win in Starkville wasn’t the prettiest, however the Gators entered the game knowing where to beat the Bulldogs and it paid off. Obviously, Mullen is very familiar with the Bulldog players, and that showed as he crafted a game plan for his team to leave with a victory.
The Gators relied heavily on screen passes to their playmakers who would gain chunks of yards last week. Along with that, Mullen called a good game for quarterback Feleipe Franks, who looked as composed as he ever has in his college career last week. Facing another tough defense in LSU, Mullen will need to create another successful game plan on Saturday.
Not nearly as familiar with LSU as he is with Mississippi State, Mullen has still played against the Tigers the past 9 seasons. Most recently in 2017, Mullen’s Bulldogs beat up on LSU last year, drubbing the Tigers 37-7. Albeit the 2018 are a much different team than last year, Mullen still saw success against Ed Orgeron’s Tigers last season and knows what his team will have to do to beat LSU.
Pressure Joe Burrow
Florida’s defense has impressed in almost all statistical categories thus far this season and a glaring improvement has been the Gators ability to get after the quarterback. Jachai Polite has arguably been the Gators MVP so far, with 4 sacks this season and seemingly always in the opposing team’s backfield. Polite and company will have to do just that again on Saturday against LSU and their new quarterback, Joe Burrow.
Burrow, the Ohio State transfer, has played well this year and has certainly looked like an upgrade from previous LSU quarterbacks. Burrow has already surpassed the 1000-yard passing mark this season and picked up a huge win on the against Auburn. However, there is one knock on Burrow thus far this year and that’s his play when under duress. Against the blitz, Burrow is just completing around 40 percent of his passes. For someone who loves to bring the pressure as much as Gators Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham, you can bet he’s gearing up to send some blitz packages. That being said, Burrow is a smart QB at the line of scrimmage and isn’t afraid to make pre-play adjustments if he can sense the blitz is coming.
Control the Game from the First Whistle
In a game like this, the Gators can’t afford a slow start. As the ball is kicked off on Saturday, the Gators need be fast, physical and aggressive from the jump in order to get off to a quick start. Having to play from behind too late in the game could bite the Gators.
Fortunately for the Gators, this game will be played in Gainesville and the Swamp is going to be absolutely rocking. Mullen and the Gators need to use that to their advantage come Saturday by getting the Florida faithful involved early in the game. Early points on offense and stout defense will do just that, as a fast start will be imperative to the Gators success come Saturday.
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