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Fightin' Gators asks Tennessee Vols editor Danny Parker about the Vols

InsideTennessee.com editor Danny Parker took some time to answer some questions from the members here at Fightin' Gators about the big game on Saturday. He gives you an inside look at what Tennessee insiders think about the contest.

Danny Parker answers the following questions for our members here on Fightin' Gators.


Fightin' Gators Member: Where does Florida rank on the list of opponents the Vols most want to beat? I suppose Alabama is at the top.

Danny Parker: "Has to be No. 1. Given how wide open the SEC East is again, how much a victory in Gainesville would mean in getting to Atlanta, breaking the 10-game losing streak and getting fans fully on board with Butch Jones, just don't think it's that close. Yes, Alabama is more of a historic rival and there's an eight-game losing streak there but everything that goes with beating a divisional opponent and the animosity between the fan bases points toward Florida being No. 1. To add to it, it's hard to find a Tennessee fan that has gone to a game in Gainesville and hasn't come back with a story involving an altercation, disrespect or urine."


FG Member: Has the team met expectations on offense and defense?

Danny Parker: "Rare is it that expectations are met in Knoxville. Some fans fired defensive coordinator John Jancek after surrendering 30 points to Bowling Green, while others fired offensive coordinator Mike DeBord after just 17 points in regulation versus Oklahoma. So, depends on whose expectations you're trying to meet. Personally predicted the Vols to lose to both the Gators and the Sooners and finish 7-5."

"The Tennessee passing game still lacks, which shouldn't happen with the talent at tight end and wide receiver. The defense should be good enough to keep the Vols in some tight contest versus talented teams. Tennessee has a chance to win every game on its schedule now but lacks the killer instinct and the know-how to win."


FG Member: Who are the two best players on Tennessee's defense and who should we watch for when the Vols are on defense?

Danny Parker: "Defensive end Derek Barnett and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Barnett is a future NFL Draft first-round selection and this looks to be his breakout game if Florida doesn't stress the quick-passing. Reeves-Maybin may be the league's most underrated defensive player, totaling over 100 tackles as a sophomore and 21 more stops against Oklahoma. In the secondary, Cameron Sutton and Todd Kelly Jr. have been the playmakers this year. Sutton, who doubles as the No. 1 punt returner, is Tennessee's version of Vernon Hargreaves. Kelly had two picks against Oklahoma."


FG Member: What is your assessment of Tennessee's greatest strength and weakness?

Danny Parker: "Strength: defensive line. Weakness: offensive line. Tennessee finally has a legit two-deep along the defensive front and that's with fifth-year senior and All-SEC standout Curt Maggitt (hip) out. Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle arrived with expectations aplenty but neither is a starter, which shows the progress the Volunteers have made at defensive tackle. On the other side, Tennessee lacks length and athleticism at both tackle spots. Brett Kendrick and Kyler Kerbyson are the starters but both would be much better served playing guard and both struggle with supremely athletic edge rushers. Coleman Thomas taking over at center for Mack Crowder gives Tennessee someone who can reach the second level and make blocks in space."


FG Member: If you could take one Gator offensive and defensive player off the field for the whole game who would they be and why?

Danny Parker: "Assuming you're asking in terms of what would help Tennessee, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (14-105, 1) and defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (12 tackles, 3 sacks). Have long thought highly of Robinson's talent and even one "splash" play on the perimeter could be a game-changer. Bullard is a terror on the interior and should be a first- or second-day NFL Draft selection. Bullard's quickness of the snap is unteachable and he figures to be in the Vol backfield often."


FG Member: How would you attack Tennessee and how would you attack UF? Game prediction?

Danny Parker: "Bring added pressure from start to finish. Load the box. Make Joshua Dobbs beat me with his arm. Take away Tennessee's ground attack and leave it all up to receivers and tight ends to out man the Florida secondary and linebackers. When the Gators are on offense, attack the nickelback and the cornerback opposite Cameron Sutton. Emmanuel Moseley has improved each game this year, but he still isn't aggressive enough. Florida 13, Tennessee 10."

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