"It's easy to be comfortable when you're not getting touched," Del Rio said.
Florida is quickly learning from prior mistakes. During last week’s expected blowout against UMass, Del Rio was sacked once and hurried five times. This week Del Rio was well protected without any sacks and only being hurried twice for the SEC opener.
The offensive line did their job and the guy in the middle making the line calls up front and getting the ball to Del Rio every time is junior center Cameron Dillard.
“Coach Mac always preaches to do our job,” Cam Dillard said. “And, you know what, we did our job. Luke didn’t get touched so he’s not going to feel sore tomorrow.”
This was the first game since November 2014 that the Gators did not allow any sacks. The SEC opener maybe offered a glimpse that this line is starting to mature. Dillard says that throughout the week, Coach Summers had a strong message for his line: to be dominant.
“Finish and dominate,” Dillard said. “Coach Summers preached all week telling us how we need to dominate. How we can be a dominant offensive line and why don’t we show the country that. So I feel like that’s what we tried to focus on as we tried to go out and win this weekend.”
This mindset seems it will be ingrained for the rest of the season. Dillard says that the preparation for this game has set the tone for the season.
“I think we approached this week a lot differently,” Dillard said. “This week we set the standard for how the Florida Gators are going to play and how they should play. I think we can carry that over to next week and through the rest of the season.”
The 2015 edition of the Gators allowed 45 sacks, and this game has proven there is nowhere to look but up. If Florida keeps correcting their mistakes every week, it will be exciting to see where they arrive at the end of the season.
“We set the standard,” Dillard said. “We showed what we could do and what we are capable of so we have to continue to do that each week if we want to win the National Championship”... “You can’t just roll your helmet out there and say ‘We’re the SEC. We’re the Florida Gators.’ It doesn’t work like that. Every game you have to show up prepared like it’s a National Championship.”
Head Coach Jim McElwain was not completely satisfied with the Gator victory, but he definitely had a lot to take away and work with going into the next week.
“I thought today we took a big step in coming together as a true football team with a common goal,” McElwain said. “We had a lot of guys do their job today, yet they not only did their job, but they did it at a higher level. An extra sense of urgency. I thought we came out aggressive on both sides of the ball and we’re not going to take ‘no’ for an answer. That’s the edge the Gators have to play with to be successful as we move forward.”
Nice and tidy.