Quinn Eyes Tennessee Offense

The Gators will get their first crack at a traditional offense this weekend as they head to Knoxville. After facing quick pass offenses in the first two weeks, Tennessee will provide the first chance for the Florida defensive line to create a pass rush. The Tennessee wide receivers present problems for any secondary in the country, but the Gators know they also must stop the run.

"It's a huge deal, because once a team is able to successfully do both in the run game and in the pass game, that opens up all sorts of problems for the defense," Dan Quinn said. "For us it's going to be really important. From a philosophy standpoint, that's important for us to stop the run."

The strength of the Tennessee offense is the passing game, so if Florida struggles to stop the run, it creates multiple issues. The passing game is the heart of the Tennessee offense. With future NFL receivers like Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, it's no secret why the Volunteers throw it so much.

Those receivers are a part of why the Gators recruit big, physical cornerbacks. Quinn and the defensive staff want corners that have long arms and can take the ball away from the receivers.

"When you play a lot of press and bump like we do, you want some guys who have some length when there are some 50-50 balls that are up in the air and can go to either guy," Quinn said. "That's why with those two guys in particular, (Marcus) Roberson and (Loucheiz) Purifoy, with the length they have, we'll certainly get a lot of work at that."

The Tennessee passing attack created issues for the Florida secondary last season. The Gators committed seven pass interference penalties when the two met last year in The Swamp. It's no secret that Tennessee wants to throw the ball, but after the Gators jumped ahead early last season, the Volunteers were forced to throw even more.

The Florida defensive coaches preach aggressiveness, and that won't change this week or for any team. The Gators are more conscious about being smart and taking only risks that are worth it.

"We want to stay aggressive," Quinn said. "That's kind of our style. You change up your looks, whether it's by scheme of the defense or by technique of the player, so you're not just playing the same technique every single down moving forward in the game.

"They really have an explosive passing offense, I think that was evident from last year. It certainly carried over to this year. When you do your offseason studies, you do it for every club you play, and it certainly showed that from last year in what they carried over to this year. Explosive offense and experienced quarterback."

The challenge for the Florida defense will be getting to quarterback Tyler Bray. Setting his feet in the pocket gives him time to deliver sharp, accurate throws. Quinn and the Florida defense will do what they can to change that early in the game.

It wasn't easy in the past two weeks. Bowling Green and Texas A&M ran offenses that wanted to get the ball out of the quarterbacks hands as soon as possible. It was a quick passing game that tried to get the ball to the playmakers to gain yardage.

Tennessee features a drop back passing game that will give the Florida pass rush a chance to change the game.

"I think that's important in every game and certainly is when you play a quarterback who knows where to go with the ball and get it out of his hand fast," Quinn said. "Now, you throw in the hits and certainly it's an important part of our game plan this week going in."


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