The Tennessee Volunteers took to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for what is arguably the biggest week of the year: Florida week.
As would be expected, head coach Butch Jones limited what the media could see since this is the first big SEC game of the year. Media was allowed to view three periods, but could only shoot in period one.
Because of that, I didn’t get to see much but here are some of my quick observations:
- Florida’s “Go Gators” stand tune was played several times over the speakers
- Ty Chandler and Nigel Warrior were returning kicks, with Chandler obviously getting first reps
- Josh Smith was back in practice full-go without a green, non-contact jersey
- Dormady and Guarantano were delivering accurate, high velocity passes to the wideouts
- Trey Smith looked really good in run block drills; Richmond, Kendrick, Robertson and Jack Jones also received some praise from Walt Wells
- Carlin Fils-aime looked to be getting second team reps with the running backs with Chandler being third
- The overall atmosphere seemed to be tense and focused; not much talking from players
Florida enters the week ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll, just one spot below Tennessee. The Gators were slated to play Northern Colorado this past Saturday, but the game was cancelled in light of Hurricane Irma. There were questions as to if this week’s game would be played in Gainesville or a neutral site, but it was announced earlier today by the SEC and both schools that it will still be played in Gainesville during the 3:30 CBS slot.
Although the Gators have only played one game so far, the Vols still lead in most statistical categories. The Vols have averaged 382 yards/game while Florida averages 192. Florida has also averaged just 11 yards rushing, compared to Tennessee’s 154 yards/game. The Gators also gave up 33 points to a questionable Michigan offense, whereas UT has only allowed an average of 24 points per game (Indiana State skews this, but still).
In terms of total defense, the Vols have given up an average of 435 ypg and fans have been worried about that for good reason. However, the Gators ‘heralded’ defense gave up 433 yards to the Wolverines. From those numbers (including recruiting rankings), Tennessee should have the upper hand in this game. But, as we all have come to wearily embrace as Vol fans, anything can happen in this series.
Butch will speak to the media again tomorrow around noon. Stay tuned for updates.