Jenkins Ignores Drops, Plays Well Against UT

Jelani Jenkins has lost count of the number of interceptions he should have this season. His teammates won't let him hear the end of it. Jenkins dropped two interceptions against Tennessee that could've turned the game into a blowout. His struggles then seemed to infect the secondary. Besides the drops, Jenkins was all over the field against the Volunteers.

"I don't even want to talk about it," Jelani Jenkins said with a laugh after the Saturday's game. "It's like I've got bad luck or something."

Two weeks ago, Florida middle linebacker Jon Bostic spoke to the media about how much the defensive players give Jenkins a hard time for his struggles catching the football. Since then, he has dropped four potential interceptions in two games.

When the Gators manage to get a stop after one of his dropped interceptions, Bostic has been the first one to make fun of Jenkins for it.

"You know he gave me a hard time," Jenkins quipped.

The ability of the back seven to have so many interception chances came because of what happened up front. The Gators showed a new blitz package with pressures that weren't on film from the first two games.

Most notably, those included opportunities for Bostic and Jenkins to hit the quarterback. Each recorded a sack of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray.

"The blitzes were real effective," Jenkins said. "Our coach did a real good job calling them, and we were just trying to get after the quarterback. They seemed to work well."

The blitzes also hurt a few times. Tennessee got on the board at the end of the first half when the Gators sold out on a blitz and left running back Marlin Lane wide open for an easy catch and run to the end zone. Jenkins said a player on defense made a mistake for Lane to be that open.

It was a risk the Florida defense was willing to take. They know that if Bray was able to sit back in the pocket and have plenty of time to read the Florida defense, he had the weapons capable of having success downfield. The inexperience in the Florida secondary meant defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had to dial up blitzes to get in Bray's face.

"With a quarterback like that, it's real good to get pressure and a lot of hits on him," Jenkins said. "The sacks going up definitely helped our momentum out. It helped out everybody in the back end. He's a great quarterback, so you need that."

The Gators were still able to get to Bray without blitzing all the time. When Florida stretched its lead out and made the Volunteers one-dimensional, that was important to leave as many players in the defensive backfield as possible.

"I thought they did well," Jenkins said of the defensive line's pass rush. "From what it looked like, they were able to keep pressure on their quarterback and help us out on the back end."

Despite the passing game being the strength of the Tennessee offense, the Volunteers came out running the football with running back Tauren Poole. He ran the ball on four of the first five plays during the first Tennessee drive.

Jenkins made his impact felt in the run game, but he also had the most impressive statistical day on the Florida defense. He was second on the team with six tackles and added a sack, two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.

"We knew they were going to try and run the ball," Jenkins said. "They're a good running team, so we put a lot of emphasis on it this week. The defensive line did a great job of keeping the offensive linemen off me, and I give all my praise to them."

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