Consistency is key.
With the Florida Gators taking their biennial trip to Knoxville this Saturday to take on the Tennessee Volunteers, UF will be looking to increase their consistency as they start its push towards the postseason.
Coming off two slow starts against the likes of Kentucky and Vanderbilt, barely making it to halftime with the lead against two of the worst the SEC has had to offer in 2020, Florida is given the opportunity to have another shot at finding their rhythm early and often against an all-around lackluster Tennessee squad.
Unable to constantly stay on the gas pedal whether early on or late in ball games (usually due to a large lead entering the final minutes of play), consistency has been an issue throughout the season on both sides of the football. Therefore, a matchup with the reeling Vols is a significant opportunity for the team as a whole to make a much-needed statement with a dominant performance and lopsided victory.
As a result, this week’s Florida Gators X-Factor is taking an unorthodox route and looking to consistency as an imperative aspect of their contest at Neyland Stadium.
To this point in the year, Florida’s offense has been spectacular. Averaging 43.4 points per game and scoring no less than 34 points in any contest, an offensive explosion of sorts has come out of Gainesville for the first time in over a decade.
However, despite their success, that doesn’t mean improvements cannot be made to make them better.
Specifically, the Gators offense led by Heisman contender Kyle Trask has experienced one quarter of explosion compared to three quarters of cruising in each game that they have played.
Dominating the second or third quarter on the offensive end to this point in the season, Florida has given themselves a fast track to contend with any team they face off against.
However, finding scoring consistency in a greater way than one explosive quarter can pay dividends against the heavyweight opponents soon to be added to their schedule.
Getting off to fast starts at the beginning of the season, the Gators offense has begun to regress in recent weeks but have had the leniency to do so.
Against Tennessee, the room for error early on remains, but controlling the game from the kickoff to final kneel down could be an essential confidence booster for a Gators team looking to compete in Atlanta just two weekends from Saturday.
Defensively, the Gators have been the epitome of inconsistent on the season.
With early-season questions on if the defense would be a liability for the team despite withholding the best offensive production statistically since 2001, the Gators defense struggled in nearly every facet of the game but began to show slight signs of improvement last week.
Following the most complete half of football that Todd Grantham's defense has put together on the season against Kentucky, Florida looks to carry that momentum into Knoxville against the Vols. Having yet to put a solid performance together throughout the course of a full game, Florida will have a great opportunity to do so against the stagnant Tennessee offense.
With a necessity to contain Eric Gray and limit the number of missed tackles at the second level—a struggle so far this year for the unit—Florida's defense will have its hands full in the rushing department. However, given the one-dimensional offense that Tennessee possesses, anchoring down to stop the one should be priority number one.
In an attempt to not look over the teams Florida will face in the next two weeks with Tennessee and LSU, making significant adjustments now for their future is an important factor in the development of a championship-level squad.
If the Gators are to roll the Tide in two weekends, a strong, consistent effort on both sides of the ball with have to occur. Coaches always say practice how you play, and there’s no better way to start establishing their complete identity than on the road in Knoxville.