Alabama Football News

Three important factors for Alabama heading into contest versus Florida

Pete Golding coaching Alabama's defensive players during practice
Photo by Kent Gidley of Alabama Athletics

Everyone’s focus will be on Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this weekend.

Alabama football opens its Southeastern Conference schedule in “The Swamp” against the Florida Gators. We have seen a defensive player for the Gators challenge the Crimson Tide and Nick Saban challenge his players for a statement game.

RELATED: Alabama LB Will Anderson is trending towards playing against Florida

SEC Nation is on the University of Florida campus, and it is ready to rock. Alabama’s journey to an SEC Championship and College Football Playoff starts Saturday. Listed below are three important keys to victory for the Tide.

1. Alabama’s offensive line: Protect QB Bryce Young

Alabama’s offensive line has a chance to defend its crown as the Joe Moore Award winner.

Chris Owens and his teammates were not pleased with how they performed against Mercer.

Bryce Young has been hit a few times during the first two games of the season. As he enters a hostile environment, Todd Grantham sees this as an opportunity to pressure him all game long.

Florida will not have its defensive captain, Ventrell Miller, but Jeremiah Moon, Brenton Cox Jr., and Zachary Carter will be coming after Young. Grantham knows Florida’s best shot to execute an upset is making the Crimson Tide’s sophomore quarterback feel uncomfortable and force turnovers.

Alabama’s offensive front must have its best game.

2. Alabama’s offense: Have a fast start

Bill O’Brien took over the offensive play-calling for Alabama with Steve Sarkisian gone.

RELATED: Revisiting John Metchie’s jarring hit on Florida’s Trey Dean

He can either open the playbook up or lean on the run game. It took a blocked punt for a touchdown to get it going in its home opener, but the Crimson Tide needs to start fast this week. The crowd at Gainesville (Fla.) will play a critical role, and Alabama must take it out of the game. O’Brien has been calling plays from the booth, so we will see what he draws up for Saturday.

3. Pete Golding: Prove to fans you were the right choice for defensive coordinator

Florida’s offense totaled 46 points against Pete Golding and Alabama’s defense last year.

Fans want to believe that Golding was the right choice for defensive coordinator, but he needs to prove it. This matchup allows him a chance to out coach Dan Mullen. Mullen is one of the best offensive strategists in college football.

He has two athletic quarterbacks, depth at running back, and talented players at wide receiver.

The Gators will take shots in the passing game, so Golding’s play-calling must be on point.

If he can hold Florida under 20 points, then it would be huge for him moving forward.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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