University of Florida

Gators will try to tune out this distraction before their Seminoles showdown

A UM fan flashes the ‘U’ while surrounded by FSU fans doing the tomahawk chop as the Seminoles host the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, October 7, 2017.
A UM fan flashes the ‘U’ while surrounded by FSU fans doing the tomahawk chop as the Seminoles host the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, October 7, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Part of the Florida Gators’ preparation to face the Florida State includes preparing to face one of the most daunting aspects of the environment in Tallahassee: the war chant.

FSU’s war chant is a melody opposing teams dread hearing when they play in Doak Campbell Stadium, but Florida will blast it through the speakers at every practice leading up to Saturday’s game.

“Coach [Dan Mullen] does a good job of playing that every single time, we’re in indy [individual drills], team, whatever, we hear the song,” Florida linebacker David Reese said after Monday’s practice. “So it was interesting, and we’re probably gonna have a little video to see the stadium and stuff before the game.”

Reese, a Farmington, Michigan, native, remembers his first time being a part of the Florida-Florida State rivalry as a freshman.

The intensity didn’t hit him until he witnessed the Seminoles’ mascots Osceola and Renegade take the field at Doak Campbell Stadium. He still remembers the image of the horse in the middle of the field and the fans screaming from the stands with their faces completely covered in their teams’ colors.

“It was just a crazy atmosphere,” Reese said. “I’m prepared for it now, and I just want our fans to come out to the Doak and just you know be there to support us… Try to get more Gator fans than Florida State fans there, that’ll be interesting.”

Rivalry week will bring out the best these two teams have to offer no matter their records, especially with the bowl implications that this game carries.

The No. 13 Gators (8-3) will enter the noon matchup against their in-state rival in position to reach a New Year’s Six bowl game with a win.

And Florida State (5-6) will carry a couple streaks into the game that it hopes to keep intact. The Seminoles have an NCAA-record 36 consecutive bowl appearances on the line and they have a five-game winning streak against the Gators.

Mullen never lost to the Seminoles when he was the Gators’ offensive coordinator (2005-08), and he’s hoping to reset that narrative as well as end their bowl streak in his first year as Florida’s head coach.

“That’d be great,” he said. “I’d love to do it. But that’s what rivalry games are all about, right?”

And with the success his team has had, the Gators seem to have all the tools this season to pull it off.

The Gators have consecutive games with 500 yards of total offense and have seven games this year with 200 rushing yards.

And they will lean on their offense that is tied for 30th in the nation in scoring and their 13th- ranked passing defense to lead them to their first victory over Florida State since 2012 on Saturday.

Until then, they will focus on intensity in each of their practices, and they’ll let the preparation speak for itself come game time.

“We hear them boys talking,” defensive tackle Kyree Campbell said. “But … we don’t talk. We talk with our pads, so we’ll see em’ on Saturday.”

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