Tennessee Prepares For The Florida Gators

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says his team will need to be very focused against Florida Saturday in Gainesville.

He said the noise level at the Swamp will probably be double what it was at Cal in Tennessee's season opener.

Meanwhile offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe says the Gators are no less threatening just because they lost nine starters on defense.

Tennessee is using a no-huddle offense designed to catch defenses like Florida's off guard and wear them down.

Florida is 2-0 and Tennessee 1-1.


"Our entire football team and staff is really excited about this opportunity that we have to play a really outstanding University of Florida football team. We have made progress from game one to game two. It was encouraging from a fundamental standpoint, and that is one area I am absolutely going to insist that we make strides in. If you're not careful, particular when you play a different style of offense, you can lose sight of the fundamentals and blocking and tackling and being responsible for your position and your assignment. We're going to work very hard this week to make sure we stay on that track. I think it is a track that we need to be on the entire football season, being as young as we are and the challenges we have with some of the youth out there.

"I do think that playing two tough opponents will help us. Certainly, we're going into an environment at Florida Field that is considerably different than even Cal was, which I think helped us. We need to understand that the decibel level will be considerably higher and we've got to be able to handle that, which is no different than when people come into Neyland Stadium."

"Florida is a very fine football team. Again, they're outstanding on offense and defense and a really good team in the kicking game. Playing on the road always has its challenges. We've been a good road team through the years. We are working diligently to continue to find our balance from an offensive standpoint. I thought the second half of the Southern Miss game was more like we would like to look. We will do what we need to do to move the football, whether that's with the passing game and ball control that way or if we have an opportunity to run the football, we will work toward that. I don't think last year we called (the run) nearly enough in the ball game, even though at the end of the third quarter we were leading 17-7. Its not how you get there, it's just a matter that you get there.

"Offensively, we'll have to do a great job of managing their two outstanding defensive ends, (Derrick) Harvey and (Jermaine) Cunningham; both guys that we tried to recruit. They lost a lot of people, but you sure can't tell it from watching the tape. They are a very gifted team. We've got to make our plays. One of the places that we've made really good strides since spring practice is at wide receiver. I think it showed up really nicely in the Southern Miss game. They played solid in both games, and I'm proud of those guys. They will certainly have an impact on this game if Florida tries to play a lot of man-to-man and pack it in. We have our challenges there. The running game, as I said, is crucial. You go back and see that the team that has rushed the best has won the most games. Well, you can look at any big game, and that's usually the case. We want to try and find our balance there.

"Their offense centers on their outstanding quarterback, (Tim) Tebow. He is a really special football player, a big guy that can run and throw it. We'll certainly have to do a good job with them. The wide receivers are special; the offensive line is very good. (Cornelius) Ingram is a guy that they call a tight end, but he is really a wide receiver playing tight end. He is just a really outstanding player. We've got to tackle well. We've got to play good assignment football because of the potential for the option and the other things that we will see.

"In practice, we started work yesterday. It is really important that we see, as close as we can, the speed from our scout team. We're actually sending our second team down there to give us some looks at close to their speed, the speed of the option, the speed of the wide receivers; on the other side, the speed of their rushers, the defensive ends particularly.

"It's always a big ball game. It has been since the start of divisional play. There are a lot of consequences to this football game always. I think us having played two physical football teams will be a plus for us. Certainly, playing on the road was a plus for us when we went to Cal. It won't be foreign to 26 young guys that we took on the road for the first time against Cal.

"We are still working to get more of our young guys involved. I'm really happy with the progress that Chris Walker has made at defensive end. To this point we have played four defensive ends and four defensive tackles. I would like to get that to five or six defensive ends and five or six defensive tackles. Ben Martin is returning. I'm anxious to see today if his knee is back close to 100 percent.

"In Brent's (Vinson) case, we made the decision on Sunday after we found out about Antonio Gaines, to play him both ways. He has considerable background in the secondary, and we worked him there quite a bit in camp. He's just one of those guys that can be a natural. We're not going to ask him to do everything that they do, but he is going to play both ways for us.

"To this point, the depth in our offensive line is paying dividends for us. Those guys went in and were on a really nice drive and provided our team a lift. I"m hoping they'll continue to make those strides and we can play more guys that way.
"Certainly, kicking will play a very important role in this game. I think Britton (Colquitt) will be there and ready to go this weekend. I'm really anxious to see Daniel Lincoln go on the road and handle himself."


Student-athletes from around the SEC will be conducting a food drive for regional food banks from Sept. 21-30. Student-athletes will be at home athletics events during those days for people to drop off canned food and take financial donations. Fans planning to attend SEC contests from the 21st through the 30th are asked to please bring a donation to help local food banks.

Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information & AP Wire Reports

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