New Defensive Look Stuffed the Vols

The Florida defense knew its objective throughout the week. Tennessee would aim to run the football with success. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin prepped his defense for facing the SEC's leading rusher in Tauren Poole, but the Florida defense also added a five-man defensive front that helped their execution.

"It came from our secret factory," Teryl Austin said with a smile. "That was the plan, to get big, solid, physical guys up front and try to neutralize their run game."

To call what the Florida defense did to the Volunteers' run game "neutralizing" would be an understatement. Tennessee ran for only 29 yards. Since Urban Meyer took over at Florida in 2005, the Gators have allowed Tennessee 55.7 rushing yards per game.

This looked to be one of the more difficult challenges in the previous six seasons. Tauren Poole came into the game averaging 136 rushing yards per game, including a 162-yard performance last weekend against Oregon. Poole rushed for only 23 yards on 10 carries Saturday.

"We knew he was an outstanding back and the focal point of their offense," Austin said. "This week we made a conscious effort to be gap sound and run to the ball. Our guys did a great job. At the end of the day, that's a good job against a really good rushing team."

The five-man defensive line allowed Florida to move Duke Lemmens all over the field. He played with his hand down as a pass rusher on some plays and would be a stand up rusher on the outside during other plays. Lemmens played all over the field Saturday, and he recorded one sack and five tackles. "We figured that Duke would be the guy," Austin said. "He's pretty athletic and has done some standup stuff for us before where he stands and rushes. He did a great job preparing and getting himself ready. His role is to be a big guy on the outside."

When a media member joked that the 5-2 scheme Florida ran hasn't been used since the 1970s, Austin quickly pointed out, "I'm an old guy."

It's not a scheme the Gators will use much of this season. They only worked on the details of it this week during practice.

"If it's schematically sound, you can run it any time," Austin said. "I don't know if it's something we would run against the spread."

The Florida secondary was lights out for the first two games of the season, but they experienced two lapses that almost cost the Gators the game. The first came when Jeremy Brown bit on a double move, leaving Denarius Moore wide open for a 49-yard touchdown.

The second mistake was something that Austin took the blame for. Janoris Jenkins let Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter run by him, expecting safety help. Hunter made a 35-yard touchdown reception with no one around him that cut the Florida lead to 24-17.

"There were a couple big ones for us," Austin said. "We had a couple coverage mistakes that gave up three long passes, and one was a bad coverage error from me. We'll get those cleaned up."

Brown gave up an easy touchdown to Moore, but he came back refocused. On the next drive, Brown jumped a slant route for an interception. Brown knew the route was coming because Tennessee ran it multiple times out of the formation they were in.

Brown wouldn't have made the play without the preparation he made during the week. "That's one of the things we try to do with our guys, trying to help them identify formations," Austin said. "(The offense won't) run every route out of every formation. If you can narrow it down as a defensive back, you can get a pretty good jump on things."
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