Posted: 10:05 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
I do apologize for the lack of video, for some reason my computer's video card was having an off couple of days. I'll get things straightened out soon, I promise.
As the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers prepare to take the field on Saturday, for the first time in a long time the Vols feel like they've got a chance to come away with the victory. The Vols will arrive in Gainesville with a 2-1 record, having beaten Austin Peay (45-0) and Western Kentucky (52-20, which by the way that's probably my favorite scoreline ever) and losing to Oregon badly, 59-14.
There is no shame in losing to Oregon at all. They're going to beat quite a few teams this year 59-14 or close to it. As for the wins, well, the Vols have looked as their supposed to as well. Austin Peay proved no match and Western Kentucky turned the ball over on like nine (I think it was really five, but it could have been seven) straight plays.
The Vols are one of the few teams in the country with a less feared passing game than the Gators. The Vols rank somewhere in the neighborhood of 114th in the country passing the ball. The running game provides another story as is par for the course for the Vols. They do have a top 30 rushing attack, but if they struggle more than the Gators do at throwing the ball, teams (like the Gators will plan to do) will stack eight or nine defensive players in the box to stop the run.
We'll see how that goes.
The Volunteers have even tried to spice things up a bit by delaying the announcement of their starting quarterback for Saturday as well. Give me Justin Worley to start though, as he's taken all the meaningful snaps (aside from maybe two or three of them) this season. Worley has thrown for just 372 yards in three games on the year while adding five touchdowns to just one interception.
And people thought Jeff Driskel was struggling to throw the ball. Worley's average of 124 yards per game has the Gators' secondary drooling.
The receiving core for the Vols is about what you can expect with those quarterback numbers. If there is a team in the SEC who has by far a worse offense than the Gators this is it. They don't have a single receiver who has 100 yards receiving yet, through three games!
The rushing attack of the Vols is to be as expected with senior Rajion Neal leading the way. On the year, Neal has 257 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He's also averaging just under 6 yards per carry. The only other Vol who has run the ball all that much is Marlin Lane. Lane is averaging just under 6 yards per carry as well, but he's got about 60 less total yards and is down a touchdown to Neal.
On the defensive side of the ball, the only player of note (as was the case last year) is A.J. Johnson. He's one of the leading tacklers in the SEC again this year and he's better than ever. He'll try and make life difficult for Mack Brown and Matt Jones, but I don't think he'll have all that much success in doing so.
The Vols just don't have the depth or the general talent on the defensive side of the ball to stop a power running game (that sounds a lot like what I wrote about Miami, so there's that) so the Gators should be just fine.
I fully expect the Gators to control the clock with possession football and rely on their defense to set the tone. If you're looking for a breakout game from the offense, this could be it. As a Vol buddy of mine pointed out to me and I agree with him entirely: being down 14 to Florida is the exact same as being down 40 to Oregon, you just aren't coming back.