What’s at risk in Gainesville for Tennessee football against Florida?

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: A general view of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as seen during a game between the Florida Gators and the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: A general view of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as seen during a game between the Florida Gators and the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Tennessee football and the Gators are pretty evenly matched. What should we expect to see when the Volunteers take the field in Gainesville on Saturday?

Related Story: 5 Vols to watch for vs. Florida

Tennessee football will, indeed, be playing on the road in Gainesville against the Florida Gators on Saturday. Now the question is what we can expect from Butch Jones and team 121.

We obviously have no idea what’s going to happen on Saturday. Florida heavily underperformed against Michigan, a game of turnovers if you will. However, they received the upper hand with an extra BYE week when the game against Northern Colorado was canceled.

Tennessee heavily underperformed against Georgia Tech. However, you can only expect so much from them when their defense is on the field for 41 out of 60 minutes. Even still, they came out with a win. The following week, the Vols held Indiana St. on every single 3rd down, making them 0/11 in their conversions.

When you look at the stats, both teams are fairly and evenly ranked. They have a lot more similarities than one might believe.


Interestingly enough, the two defenses stack up pretty evenly. Both Florida and UT have demonstrated their ability to maintain strong defenses in the beginning. Then, as the game progresses, they dwindle.

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Florida wore down the Michigan offense with two pick six’s. That’s when Michigan found their stride and turned the tables. The Gators didn’t score one offensive touchdown. It wasn’t long after that the Wolverines began throwing all over the field, forcing turnovers and just overall exposing Jim McElwain’s defense.

The Gators allowed 433 overall yards to Michigan, split pretty evenly among passing and rushing. Tennessee football allowed over 500 yards rushing, 655 total to Ga. Tech. However, the difference in circumstances are worth noting.

The Vols only had the ball for just over 18 minutes. Georgia Tech has a specific rhythm of chewing clock with the triple option, which is difficult to stop for any team. They’re a one dimensional offense that knows their strongest suit.

While Tennessee was able to stop the option for the entire first quarter, it began to take hold of them in the 2nd.

Michigan is just an overall balanced team…a really good one, too. They’re going to be difficult to stop any time you play them, and they were able to force a lot of fumbles on a somewhat sloppy Florida offense.

Meanwhile, Tennessee didn’t force one takeaway on Indiana St., a lowly ranked FCS school.

If both teams know what’s good for them, we may see a lot of rushing plays this Saturday in Gainesville.

Florida proved its weakness in passing offense but a strength in passing defense. Quarterback Feleipe Franks was forced to run with the ball many times because of tough defensive coverage. Two pick six’s against Michigan is definitely worth writing home about, though.

Tennessee proved its weakness in rushing defense but a strength in passing offense once Quarterback Quinten Dormady is able to find his mojo.

So the strengths and weaknesses offset each other. This will be fought tooth and nail and the loser may see themselves fall out of the Top 25.


While it seems highly unlikely that Florida could start their season 0-2, it could happen if they’re not careful. Tennessee football players are hungry to prove themselves. Dormady is starting to find his rhythm. John Kelly is as scrappy as ever. Marquez Calloway’s lightning quickness could leave Florida defenders in the dust.

UT has a bit more confidence in their rushing attack now that Ty Chandler, Carlin Fils-Aime and even Tim Jordan have proven their capabilities.

Additionally, Tennessee will return a trio of WR’s for this game: Tyler Byrd, Josh Smith and Latrell Williams. The offense is ready, and I believe Dormady will play the whole game (unless he’s just awful, which is unlikely).

Then again, Florida knows what happened last year. You can be sure that they’re unhappy with their 0-1 right now. They are itching to get a victory over their SEC rivals, and they want to prove what the media has been saying about Tennessee football is true: that they can’t win big games. With the 12th man on their side, it very well could happen.

Next: Top 5 Vols all-time individual performances vs. Florida

The Vols need their defense to step it up. There’s no slacking. So far, there’s been very limited 1-on-1 tackling. It’s taking multiple orange jerseys to get players down, including against Indiana St., and that is bad. Florida can shake those in a heartbeat.

So, will the duck keep pulling the truck? We’ll find out on Saturday.