Regardless of the opponent, the Florida Gators’ No. 1 goal always remains the same. To show improvement from week to week over the course of the season.
The Gators met their goal in the 34-3 win over Tennessee, UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday. Now, it’s time to move on to a new week and the next game, which is Towson in The Swamp on Saturday.
“Look at the steps we took. I thought we took some really good steps,” Mullen said. “I thought we played a lot better against Tennessee than we had in the previous weeks. That had a lot to do with we practiced better. Our scout teams executed a little bit cleaner, the defense finished plays at practice a little bit better.
“I thought we did an amazing job of our Friday night and early Saturday morning (routine), it was a quick turnaround and preparation going into the game, of guys really honing into their routine and getting ready to go perform on a Saturday.”
With Auburn coming to Gainesville in two weeks for a matchup between Top-10 teams, Mullen said it’s vital for the Gators to keep their focus on achieving their goal of getting better this week. Because if they don’t, it likely will have a negative impact on that big SEC showdown the following week.
“We talked to the team this week,” Mullen said. “Obviously, there will be a lot more hype on next week’s game, national hype, it will be the CBS game of the week.
“But for us to even have an opportunity to win that game, we have got to improve this week. It’s one of those things. If we don’t continue to take a step forward with that this week, it’ll show. And it’ll show not just this week, it’ll show the next week and the week after that and the week after that as you continue to move forward.”
The Gators stayed on course with their goal last week, showing appreciable improvement from the come-from-behind win at Lexington two weeks ago to the one-sided victory over the Vols. It was UF’s best and most complete game of the season.
The Gators want to be able to say the same thing coming off the Towson game, heading into the game with Auburn.
“We have great goals for this season, and they all include continually improving from one week to the next,” Mullen said. “And that’s got to be the focus, on focusing on what’s important. What’s important is, ‘Am I getting better as a player?’
“It’s on our exact attention to detail and our development and our improvement from one day to the next of getting better. And that’s what we can control and that’s what we need to worry about. If we’re worried about other things, we’re worried about the wrong thing and we’re not going to be able to accomplish the goals we have as a team.”
The Gators’ attempt to take more positive steps forward this week starts where it always does, in the film room and on the practice field. That’s where the improvement in the UT win was hatched, Mullen said.
“I think in every area (we improved),” he said. “Really, though, our preparation was the biggest one. Our preparation, how we practiced, how we managed our walk throughs, how we managed on leading into the game on Friday and Saturday. I thought those were probably the biggest improvement steps.”
Towson will definitely have the Gators’ attention this week. The Tigers are a top-10 FCS team that is averaging 40 points and 423.8 total yards a game on offense.
“Being a top-10 team, they know how to win,” Mullen said. “They expect to win. And you can see that on how they play and how they are in games.
“They can put up numbers now. They are an explosive offense. They do a good job. They mix up personnel. They give you different looks. They have yet to play a game this year when they didn’t put up big numbers. It is a group that understands their system, understands their offense and executes it very well. They distribute the ball around. They are a very good football team.”
Who: Towson (3-1) vs. No. 9 Florida (4-0)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850