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October 14, 2011

UF-AU: Five Keys to Victory




Florida (4-2) will try to snap a two-game losing streak when it takes on Auburn (4-2) on the road Saturday. Here are five keys to a UF victory this weekend:

1. Get back to running the ball against a bad defense. Florida's best playmakers are in the backfield and the Gators need to be able to rely on their run game to anchor their offensive attack. The offensive line has been manhandled in disappointing efforts the last two weeks, making it near impossible for UF's running backs to get going. Junior Mike Gillislee will get more carries this weekend and he has a chance to spark a sputtering rushing attack. With a true freshman at quarterback, it makes it that much more important that the Gators are able to move the ball on the ground against the worst defense in the conference.

2. Keep Michael Dyer and the Auburn rushing attack in check. The Tigers' passing offense comes in averaging just 170 yards per game. If Florida can keep Dyer and the run game under control, the Gators should feel pretty good about their chances against the Tigers' offense. Realistically, UF isn't going to completely shut down AU's ability to run the football, but it can't give up over 200 yards on the ground as it did to Alabama and LSU in the last two weeks. If the Gators can keep Auburn to 125 or so on the ground, they should count that as a win.

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3. Win the turnover margin. It's stressed by the coaching staff and almost every week in our Five Keys to Victory preview for a reason. Florida is now minus-four on the season after failing to cause a single turnover against Alabama and LSU. The Gators aren't good enough to overcome a turnover deficit in highly competitive conference games. Jacoby Brissett is likely to make a mistake or two, it's just part of the growing pains for a young quarterback. It's essential that UF's defense finds a way to make up for it.

4. Get out to an early lead. Can this team bounce back from early adversity? Why even risk it? If UF falls behind early, the team might have flashbacks to the blowout losses of the last two weeks and lose some confidence. Getting out to an early lead will do wonders to revitalize this young squad and give them the confidence needed to pull off this road victory.

5. Let Brissett throw it. Obviously, he wont -- and shouldn't -- "air it out," but offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has to keep the defense honest. The great majority of his throws against LSU were dump offs to backs or tight ends in the flat. Let him throw intermediate routes to his wide receivers or tight ends, it'll be good for Brissett's confidence in the long run and he might just have some success. Weis shouldn't have him throwing deep on every play, but there's a happy medium that Brissett should be able to execute against this Auburn defense.


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