The Florida Gators played it last Saturday night against Tennessee, there just wasn’t a whole lot of that first part.
“When we pulled clips from last week’s practice,” Jim McElwain began. “Usually what happens on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday shows up on Saturday. If they choose to not want to tackle, it will show up again.”
Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs came into the game last week with one 100-yard rushing performance on his résumé. Due in large part to Florida’s inability to tackle him effectively he left with his second.
“It wasn’t us. It wasn’t us,” junior safety Keanu Neal repeated. “We want to be BDN, we want to be best in the nation and we didn’t show that.”
Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly doesn’t pose the same rushing threat that Dobbs did and the Rebels don’t have a bruising back like Jalen Hurd but they do have big, physical receivers that Florida will need to match up with this week. The Gators are a big underdog to the visiting Rebels this week and it doesn’t take much of an argument to say that Ole Miss probably has a more talented roster. That puts even more emphasis on the little things, those things that can often be overlooked in the grand scheme of a gameplan or throughout the course of a season.
“We forgot the little things,” senior linebacker Antonio Morrison said. “The basics. Tackling and stuff. We just got back to the basics today, you know wrapping up, clubbing up, running your feet and bringing your feet [to] the tackle.”
Jim McElwain and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins devoted an entire period in practice to tackling on Tuesday. McElwain has stressed details to his football team every since he took over as head football coach of the Florida Gators and they got away from it for a week.
Missed tackles almost turned into a missed opportunity on the field. The way the defense tackled last week will serve as a glaring reminder of why you can’t take anything for granted. On Monday McElwain encouraged the media to keep writing about the missed tackles, “These are prideful guys,” he said. “I want you to keep writing about it. That helps us.”
The coaching staff doesn’t need the media to hammer home that point, they made it loud and clear during practice on Tuesday and in the film room.