The last time Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper played Alabama was in 2010 when he was the offensive coordinator at Duke. Roper doesn’t have fond memories of that game.
“It was a long day,” Roper joked.
Alabama won 62-13.
Roper is hoping this time around the result will be different. Florida ran 81 plays on offense against Kentucky, but Roper knows it’s going to take more to beat an SEC powerhouse like Alabama.
“Obviously it’s something we want to try to go in and get accomplished. We want to try to play the game fast to maximize as many plays as we possibly can, while being efficient. That’s the biggest thing that you look at.”
Florida was 5 of 17 on third down against Kentucky and Roper says they have to be more efficient on first and second down to avoid third and long.
“Long down and distances with these guys[Alabama] are going to bring a lot of issues on third down. So you definitely want to stay on schedule, as everybody likes to say. But at the same time, you ‘ve got to try to be aggressive and make plays down the field, too. It’s a balance.”
With a lot of young Florida players on the team, it will be the first time for many to experience what it’s like to play in a hostile environment. Florida left tackle Chaz Green remembered what his first trip to Tuscaloosa was like.
“It’s going to be a crazy environment. Last time I went there I was a freshman. I was a red-shirt, I didn’t play, but it was a crazy environment. Real hectic, very very loud. They got good fan support. So it’s just something we have to prepare for and make sure everybody knows what they’re doing because communication is going to be an issue again with the noise.”
At last look, the Gators are 15 point underdogs coming into this match up with the Crimson Tide. An upset victory for the Orange and Blue could be quite a statement and that’s exactly what defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. wants to happen.
“It’s a statement game. Second SEC game. Our job is to be the number one team in the SEC and win. So it’s just another W that we gotta get.”
Florida and Alabama will do battle this Saturday at 3:30 in the heart of Roll Tide Country. You catch pre-game coverage beginning at 12:30 on ESPN 850 WRUF.
For audio of the above quotes click below: