Here is the complete play-by-play and analysis of the defensive side of the ball.
(1-10 @UT 15) Hurd, J. rush for (2) yards tackled by Neiron Ball and Antonio Morrison. DLine gave maybe a yard and then stood their ground, the two tacklers filled their gaps nicely for the tackle. (2-8 @UT 17) Worley, J. pass complete to North, M. for 5 yards. Worley went right at Tabor who gave up some yards on a quick route, but was fast on the tackle after the catch and helped by Keanu Neal. Tennessee in quick mode causes some confusion for Florida who was substituting, Gators have to call time out with 12 men on the field. (3-3 @UT 22) Worley, J. pass incomplete to Malone, J. Vols run a pass play with three receivers left. Worley tries to go after Tabor again but good coverage on a Dig route in middle of the field. . Worley hit right when he threw the ball, Gators blitzed and almost got there. Linebacker blitzed which Florida hasn’t done a lot of. DRIVE STOPPER: Aggressive defense om 3rd and 3 and positive play from the freshman corner.
(1-10 @UT 06) Worley, J. scrambled for four yards. Florida only rushed three and dropped Fowler into coverage. Worley had nothing and Morrison chased him out. (2-6 @UT 10) Hurd, J. rush for no gain, DT’s playing tight for UF and Jonathan Bullard gets underneath the right guard to grab Hurd’s feet in the backfield and he gets just to the line of scrimmage. (3-6 @UT 10) Worley changes the play call after defensive alignment, but so does UF. Worley sacked for loss of 5 yards to the UT5. Fowler forced the issue from the right side of the defensive line and drew the attention of Worley and the blitz from Morrison came from the other side and got him. Willis in on long down and distance play this early and was almost in on the sack as well. DRIVE STOPPER: The line and Bullard stuffing the run on 2nd down getting it to 3rd and 6.
(1-10 @UT 07) Hurd, J. rush for 7 yards with a really good push from the Vol OL, Hurd just rode the backs of the interior linemen. (2-3 @UT 14) Hurd, J. rush for (2) yards Caleb Brantley blew up the middle and nearly had a tackle for loss, but Alex McCalister cleaned it up for the tackle. (3-1 @UT 16) Vols substitute and so do Gators, confusion on defense but they get set, then a false start by Vols. (3-6 @UT 11) Worley, J. pass complete to Helm, D. for 13 yards (Dawson,D.), jail break pass rush from Cox, Ivie, and especially Brantley forces Worley to scramble but finds Helm. The tight end was uncovered by Jarrad Davis who blitzed when he thought Helm was blocking only. Block in the back bailed Gators out here. And was a (PENALTY). (3-3 @UT 14)Tunnel screen and Worley, J. pass complete to North, M. for (8) yards. Good play call with most of secondary backed off. (1-10 @UT 22) Worley, J. pass complete to Malone, J. for (6) yards on another screen pass outside. Secondary again backed off about 7 yards from the line of scrimmage. (2-4 @UT 28) Lane, M. rush for (3) yards and credit Darious Cummings and Caleb Brantley who pushed their blockers back and forced Lane to slow down and run wider than he wanted to. (3-1 @UT 31) Another substitution on Tennessee and Florida subs as well, late getting lined up but Tennessee gets a (PENALTY) for false start. (3-5 @UT 27) Worley, J. pass complete to Helm, D. for (3) yards. Gators brought five including Morrison this time and the pressure forced a quick throw. Keanu Neal was right there to meet Helm when he caught the ball. DRIVE STOPPER: The penalty on the Vols.
4th SERIES(1-10 @UT47) Worley, J. pass incomplete to Malone, J.. Worley just overthrew the ball. (2-10 @UT 47) Worley, J. pass complete to Hurd, J. for no gain on a screen that Jarrad Davis sniffed out from the opposite side of the formation and made the tackle. (3-10 @UT 47) Worley, J. pass complete to North, M. for (13) yards. Runs a post pattern on Poole playing CB on this play and beats him after bumped at line. Jabari Gorman literally 25 yards beyond LOS when the ball is thrown. (1-10 @UF 40) Hurd, J. rush for (1) yard after Dante Fowler maintained the edge and made the tackle near the sideline. (2-9 @UF 39) Worley, J. with a slant pass complete to Malone, J. for 17 yards as they caught Florida in a zone and it was a really nice throw from Worley. (1-10 @UF 22) Lane, M. rush for loss of (-1) yard as Bullard and Cummings just blow up the middle of the line. (2-11 @UF 23) Worley, J. pass complete to Pearson, V. for (6) yards quick screen pass and Neiron Ball is a bullet to get to the receiver. (3-5 @UF 17 Worley, J. pass incomplete to Malone, J. on a dropped pass right at line with Hargreaves in tight coverage. TD STOPPER: Given good field position to start, they netted a field goal, and the big play that probably kept them out of the end zone was the big run stuff for (-1) yards on 1st down.
(1-10 @UT 19) Worley, J. screen pass complete to Hurd, J. for (9) yards and Morrison let Hurd get outside too fast and he got big yardage on the screen. (2-1 @UT 28) Worley, J. pass complete to Malone, J. for (2) yards on a quick screen, Vols at this point are obviously thonk they can’t run the ball. (1-10 @UT 30) Lane, M. rush for (1) yard as they try to run it again anyway. Tennessee simply got no push up the middle with Cummings and Bullard inside. (2-9 @UT 31) Worley, J. pass complete to Howard, A. for (25) yards on a fade to the sideline and as they went after Marcus Maye covering the slot position. It was a really nice throw and Neal couldn’t get there in time from his spot on the hash. (1-10 @UF 44) Howard, A. rush for (5) yards on a jet sweep. Gators were in position but nice blocking to allow the yardage. (2-5 @UF 39) Worley, J. pass complete to North, M. for no gain as they go back to the quick screen and Hargreaves sweeps in to make the quick tackle. (3-5 @UF 39) Worley, J. pass complete to Johnson, Jo. for (2) yards as the Vols line up in trips left and try to hit underneath. Keanu Neal was playing man and chased his guy down for little gain and they have to punt. DRIVE STOPPER: Hargreaves quick tackle on 2nd and 5 and North Got nothing on the play.
6th SERIES(1-10 @UT 18) Hurd, J. rush for (4) yards as Fowler has the edge and has him one on one and a nice tackle. (2-6 @UT 22) (penalty) Vols get a 10 yard pass, bu e ineligible man down field. (2-11 @UT 17) Lane, M. rush for (5) yards Fowler kind of gave up the edge a little bit. Everyone had good gap control and he was hesitant to get to the backfield where he could have an even better play. Still it was a win for defense there for allowing less than half the yardage needed on the play. (3-6 @UT 22) (PENALTY) UT false start. (3-11 @UT 17) Worley, J. pass complete to Howard, A. for (21) yards from the slot position and covered by Maye. Not good coverage, but both safeties were literally 25 yards deep when the pass was thrown. No way to help out there. (1-10 @UT 38) Lane, M. rush for (2) yards. (2-8 @UT 40) Worley, J. pass complete to Hurd, J. for loss of (-5) yards as Morrison learned from the last time this screen was thrown and got in there to make the tackle for big loss. (3-13 @UT 35) Worley, J. sacked for loss of (-13) yards. Intentional grounding called when Cox whipped his man and Ball did the same, both from the left side of the defensive line. DRIVE STOPPER: Could be the 2 yard gain on 1st down or the 5 yard loss on second down. Both were big in this series.
(1-10 @UF 13) Worley, J. pass intercepted by Hargreaves,V. in the end zone for a touchback. Tight end was supposed to chip block on Fowler and then release into flat which would have been easy throw, but he was well covered. Fowler hit the rockets and forced Worley to throw off of his back foot. Hargreaves on good coverage and undercuts North for the INT.
(1-10 @UT 15) Lane, M. rush for (4) yards and UF in a 3-down lineman setup knowing UT is going to throw. Bullard gets great penetration on the left side and on the sweep right he causes Lane to slow and cut back in where Bullard makes the tackle. (2-6 @UT 19) Lane, M. rush for no gain as Bullard just whips the right guard on the play gets Lane in the backfield but able to lean to get to the line of scrimmage. (3-6 @UT 19) Worley, J. pass incomplete to Howard, A. as the Gators blitzed and had the Vols had good protection. Deep pass on the money but Poole was in great coverage to break it up. DRIVE STOPPER: Bullard stuffing 2nd down for no gain.
(1-10 @UF 17) Worley, J. pass incomplete to North, M. Gators blitzed but it was a quick throw and Tabor had pretty good coverage would not allow North inside at all from the sideline and the ball was just overthrown. (2-10 @UF 17 Worley, J. pass complete to Young, D. for loss of (-3) yards Neiron Ball and Jabari Gorman sniffed out the screen pass and Gorman got to the back behind the line of scrimmage. (3-13 @UF 20) Worley, J. pass incomplete to Howard, A. Cox and McCalister supplied pressure and forced a bad throw, Hargreaves fell down covering the intended receiver. TD SAVING PLAY: Sniffing out the screen on 2nd-10 for negative yardage.
(1-10 @UT 32) Young, D. rush for (7) yards and a nice stretch run, Gators strung it wide but he used his speed to get around the edge at the sideline. (2-3 @UT 39) Worley, J. screen pass complete to Young, D. for (18) yards nice cutback by the speedster left Duke Dawson in no-man’s land and he hurried up field quickly. (1-10 @UF 43) Worley, J. pass complete to Howard, A. for (3) yards on another screen. Gators right there on the trips formation Maye and Morrison on the stop. (2-7 @UF 40) Worley, J. pass complete to Johnson, Jo. for (27) yards as Vols had trips right blown coverage by Maye on the play who lets his man blow by him. (1-10 @UF 13) Lane, M. rush for no gain as Cummings destroyed the center of the line of scrimmage and Maye comes off the edge to make the tackle. (2-10 @UF 13) Worley, J. pass complete to Hurd, J. for loss of (-1) yard on screen to short side of the field and Bullard comes from nowhere to make the tackle on the sideline. (3-11 @UF 14) Worley, J. sacked for loss of 7 yards by Cox. Jarrad Davis on a linebacker blitz forced the action inside and Cox cleaned up for the sack. TD STOPPER 1st down stuff by Cummings caused them to really have no option but to pass the ball and right into the pass rushers hands.
(1-10 @UT 38) Hurd, J. rush for 5 yards with the Gators in a 5-man box. Fowler actually lined up covering in the slot, makes a vicious tackle on Hurd. (2-5 @UT 43) Worley, J. sacked for loss of (-13) yards after Tabor comes on a corner blitz and levels him at the same time strips the ball and covers it up. A rare trifecta sack, forced fumble, and recovery. DRIVE STOPPER: Good play call and almost better than perfect execution from Tabor.
(1-10 @UT 16) Worley, J. quick out pass complete to Malone, J. for (3) yards, Gators with a 3-man line and really spread. Tabor makes a great break on the pass and gets Malone before any steps. (2-7 @UT 19) Lane, M. rush for (4) yards on a power run that was blocled pretty well. (3-3 @UT 23) Lane, M. rush for a hard (4) yards on a zone run. Defense was there, he just had more than Ball did on that play. (1-10 @UT 27) Hurd, J. rush for (11) yards on a zone stretch where he was patient and waited for a large lane to open up. Gators playing six in the box at this point. (1-10 @UT 38) Hurd, J. rush for (7) yards on another stretch, this time Fowler does the same thing as before as he waits on the edge instead of penetrating but maintaining the edge and allows the lineman to swallow him up. Durkin gets into him for that one. (2-3 @UT 45) Worley, J. sacked for loss of (-6) yards as Fowler and Ball force Worley to move to his right and Cox comes in from the blind side on the sack. Ball was a fifth man and blitzer. (3-9 @UT 39) Worley, J. pass complete to Wolf, E. for (3) yards as Dawson sniffs out the crosser for the tight end and follows him across the field to make the quick tackle. DRIVE STOPPER: Excellent play call and execution on the blitz and sack on 2nd down.
13th SERIESTENNESSEE drive start at 06:13. (1-10 @UT 22) Worley, J. pass incomplete to North, M. on a slant route covered well by Brian Poole. 2-10 @UT 22 Worley, J. pass incomplete to Malone, J., dropped pass behind the line of scrimmage. (3-10 @UT 22) Worley, J. sacked for loss of (-5) yards where both defensive ends, Fowler and McCalister, really brought the heat. DRIVE STOPPER: Poole stopping the slant pass on 1st down.
(1-10 @UT 22) Worley, J. pass incomplete to North, M, Worley threw into triple coverage but nobody was looking for the ball. (2-10 @UT 22) Worley, J. pass incomplete to Wolf, E., Cox held on the right side by the left tackle but still flushes Worley out on a 3-man rush. Worley basically throws it away. (3-10 @UT 22) Worley, J. pass complete to Howard, A. for 15 with Maye in coverage who lost him on the play. (1-10 @UT 37) Hurd, J. rush for no gain as the DT’s plugged the middle making Lane move slow to the hole and Cox comes backside for the tackle. (2-10 @UT 37) Worley, J. pass complete to Howard, A. for no gain as Cummings gets big time penetration and forces underneath pass with Maye in great coverage this time for the tackle. (3-10 @UT 37) Worley, J. pass incomplete to Malone, J. as Fowler whips the right tackle again and the throw is hurried and well defended by Hargreaves. (4-10 @UT 37) Worley, J. pass complete to Howard, A. for 15 yards as Worley buys times escaping the pass rush and finally Maye loses Howard for the catch. (1-10 @UF 48) Worley, J. pass intercepted by Neal,K. Actually well played by Maye on this one as the throw was a skinny post and Maye wouldn’t let the receiver have the inside path to the ball. That allowed Neal to dive and scoop it. DRIVE STOPPER: The interception. Well played by the defense and had Maye been a step behind could very well have been a long first down or a touchdown.
My Thoughts: There really isn’t much not to like about thus game from the defensive side. Florida completely obliterated 1st down giving up 60 yards rushing on 16 plays for a 3.75 yards per run, and a really amazing 21 yards and two interceptions on 10 first down pass attempts. In total, 1st down earned 81 yards and two INT’s on 28 plays. That is hard to do. All of that success forced them into 15, 3rd and long situations of which they did convert four, but also were sacked four times.
They made the change of Poole at NICKEL and that alleviated a lot of issues covering the slot, especially since Tabor played so well. I think they were in so many long down and distance situations that they had to substitute in Maye more than they wanted to and he continued to be a liability in coverage until the last play of the game.
The defensive line was stellar and they really outmatched the Vols up front. But, even the young guys played really well like Gerald Willis, Caleb Brantley, Alex McCalister, and of course Bryan Cox with his three sacks. Fowler was a beast, but one unsung hero in ths game was Darious Cummings who really was a huge headache for the Vols all day inside. I also thought it was Bullard’s best game.
I also think Morrison was a monster on the day. He really played well and with Michael Taylor out he seemed to step up his game. Jarrad Davis had some spots where he showed up and Neiron Ball as usual.
I can’t say enough about Tabor and how solid he played with a tough group of receivers to go against. Vernon was Vernon and had the key interception. Keanu Neal keeps showing up with big plays. He is going to make a mistake or two and he will get over that, but he will be a beast at free safety.
In the end, relying on the freshman corner is what it took. It allowed them to play defense like they like to call it and not cheat to help out the NICKEL because Poole moved to cover that. They had some lining up issues early in the game, but with all the changes, that was probably to be expected.
I think the defensive lie is starting to show what we thought in the beginning of the year. They are the most improved unit on the team. They play better as a unit than year’s past even if there is no Floyd or Easley in the middle. They are carrying out their assignments and it is paying dividends. Once that back nd of the defense gets polished up and if the linebackers played like they did Saturday, this defense will be really, really good.