It Starts In Knoxville

One good half, Gator Nation.

That’s all we’ve had so far this season. One good half. It’s enough to give everyone optimism, but it is not enough to provide everyone with some relief for the last two years. While that half was enough to bring some joy to Gator fanatics every where, let’s face it….that was Texas A&M. They might be a good team, but we’re going into Knoxville and playing Tennessee and that’s just a whole other football game. Let’s talk some football…

The Vols are starting to look like a more promising team. Their competition to date has not been fierce, but they can absolutely pitch and catch the ball with Tyler Bray at QB and Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson at WR. They are gigantic receivers compared to our secondary. Our defense has to do two things very, very well this weekend…stop the run and hit the QB. It is REALLY that simple. The team that runs the football wins this game. Tennessee has shown flashes of brilliance, but this is their first game against significant competition (I wish I could say it was top tier competition but we are far from that right now). I keep hearing from every media outlet that our defense is the strength of the team. Well, I haven’t seen it except for one half out of four so far. We have to have a complete game. The Vols have home field advantage, a strong passing attack that can rack up points quickly on us and motivation. They’ve lost seven in a row and have not even been a factor in the SEC East for quite some time. In the 90’s this was THE matchup in the SEC and now it has become an after thought. We need UT to be very good. We need them to bring a strong team to the SEC. We need them to be a competitor in the East. Then we need to go to Knoxville and lay waste and devastation on them.

Our secondary will have its hands full. If they play a first half like they did last week at any point, UT will go up on us quickly. I’m not inclined to believe that the Vols have a strong defense, but I’m not so sure they have to given how anemic our offense has performed. We obviously need to run the ball and Mike Gillislee getting close to 200 yards will be a big help. Jeff Driskel will get the nod again at QB and while I’d prefer he not get sacked 8 times in a game, he didn’t throw the ball away, so I’m going to go with that for now. We can’t afford turnovers, especially since it doesn’t look like we can force many either. I will be rooting for as many 3 and outs as we can get. The fact is we get down by too many points and we do not have the offense to comeback. Even last week, we had minimal offense to win that game. Our defense needs a complete game. They are going to be up against a no-huddle offense that wants a quick strike. We will load up the secondary and rush four and those four have to get pressure on the QB. This is a turning point in our season whether we like it or not. Starting 3-0 is a good step toward progress and it will be a more significant 3-0 start than it was last year. We find out a little more about this team this week and I know you want to find something good. Florida 21 Tennessee 19. Game time is 6pm EST, 3pm PST on ESPN with Game Day in attendance for a second straight week. We’re +1 in turnovers—would at least like to see that go to +2. I’ll be up past midnight to watch the game here in Kuwait. I honestly can’t wait because while the rivalry is not back, the relevance just might be. I hope you join your local Gator club where a Victory over the Vols is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

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