Ladies and gentlemen, college football is back! The 150th season of college football will begin Saturday on August 24, 2019 as the Florida Gators will take on the Miami Hurricanes. The game will be played in Orlando, Florida at Camping World Stadium. Florida’s head coach, Dan Mullen, is entering his second year as Florida’s head coach. As for Miami, their former defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, will be making his head coaching debut. The Florida Gators have started the 2019 season as the eighth ranked team in the country on the AP Polls. If Florida wants to reach and exceed their goals and expectations, it all starts with a national televised game against an in-state rival. Here are three keys for the Florida Gators to defeat the Miami Hurricanes in their Week 0 matchup.
Win in the trenches
Both teams come into this game with question marks at the offensive line position. Florida is replacing four out of five starters from last season and Miami is trying to improve from a very rough 2018 season from their offensive line. On the other side of the ball, both teams have top tier defensive lines that have the ability to change the game at the line of scrimmage. Florida returns key defensive lineman like Jabari Zuniga, Adam Shuler and Jeremiah Moon. With Miami’s offensive line issues, Florida will need to put pressure on Williams without blitzing. If you can get to the QB and stop the run without sending 6-7 players, it leaves more defenders in coverage and would force Williams to hold on to the football longer. This game will very likely be decided in the trenches.
Win the turnover battle
The Miami Hurricanes defense is a good defense but a lot of what makes them good is their Turnover Chain. The Canes defense thrives on turnovers and gets the team and fan base juiced once they see the Turnover Chain. If Feleipe Franks and the Florida Gators offense can do a good job of protecting the football, it will frustrate the Miami defense and would give their defense less energy as the game goes on. Florida’s defense will need to force some turnovers and early in the game. With an inexperience quarterback, getting a quick turnover can do a lot mentally and might get the redshirt-freshman tentative. Florida has two shutdown corners in C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson which will definitely help Florida’s odds in getting some turnovers on Saturday night.
Establish the running game
A big part of the Florida Gators’ 2018 offensive success was due to their ability to run the ball. Florida had a very strong running back core featuring Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine and a little bit of Dameon Pierce. With Scarlett in the NFL, Perine has emerged as the top back with Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce as his backups. Florida’s offense will need to have a solid rushing attack from their back in order to take some of the pressure off Franks. In order for Florida’s offense to run smoothly, Florida would need to make Miami respect their rushing attack which would open up the playbook to some play actions. Mullen will need to find a way to make Miami’s defense keep on guessing and try to exploit them for some explosive plays.