Randy Sartin / USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators' opponent preview: Tennessee

Florida will attempt to extend its 10-game winning streak over a talented Tennessee team on Saturday.


Josh Dobbs came into the season with a lot of hype after a strong close to 2014. Through three games this season, Dobbs is competing 58.1 percent (43-74) of his passes for 474 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. That’s only part of Dobbs’ game. He has gained 158 yards with his feet and scored two rushing touchdowns this season. Dobbs’ decision making in the passing game will go a long way in determining the winner on Saturday.

Tennessee’s backup quarterback is true freshman Quinten Dormady, who has completed six of nine passes this year for 93 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

Running back

Jalen Hurd has 300 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season, and he has scored multiple touchdowns in three of Tennessee’s last four games. Hurd has also gone over 100 rushing yards in the last three games, the longest streak by a Tennessee running back since Arian Foster did it for five straight games in 2005.

Whenever Hurd is out, the Volunteers have an equally talented back in Alvin Kamara. The former Alabama running back played at Hutchinson Community College last season before transferring to Tennessee as a redshirt sophomore. For the Volunteers, Kamara is averaging 7.5 yards per carry with 195 yards and three touchdowns through the first three games.

Wide Receiver

Sophomore Josh Malone leads the Tennessee receivers with 92 yards on nine catches for one touchdown. The other two starters on the Tennessee depth chart are junior Marquez North (four catches for 38 yards in three starts) and true freshman Jauan Jennings (six catches for 76 yards in three starters)

Although he hasn’t started any of the first three games, Pig Howard has the full attention of the Florida coaching staff this week. Florida coach Jim McElwain said Howard has Olympic speed and remembered being impressed with Howard when he came out of high school in Orlando.

Tight End

Sophomore Ethan Wolf has seven catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns on the season. In the season opener against Bowling Green, Wolf had five catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first Tennessee tight end to catch two touchdowns since Luke Stocker in 2009.

Offensive line

Senior Kyler Kerbyson starts at left tackle and has started the last 16 games for Tennessee at three different positions. Left guard Jashon Robertson is listed as the starter at left guard after Marcus Jackson suffered a bicep injury. Robertson started all 13 games at right guard last season as a true freshman.

Coleman Thomas is listed as the starter at center after playing 11 games and starting five at right tackle last season.

Right guard Dylan Wiesman played in every game during the 2014 season, including two starts at center. Right tackle Brett Kendrick started two games at left tackle last season.

Defensive line 

Defensive end Derek Barnett was a Freshman All-American last season and voted to the preseason All-SEC second team this fall. Against Oklahoma on September 12, Barnett set a career high with 15 tackles and leads all Southeastern Conference defensive linemen with 19 tackles. Last season, Barnett set the Tennessee record for tackles for a loss (20.5) and sacks (10) by a true freshman.

LaTroy Lewis started at defensive end last week against Western Carolina, but Corey Vereen is listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart. Lewis made four tackles in his start last week. Vereen started 11 games last season with four tackles for a los and 1.5 sacks.

The Volunteers reinstated defensive tackle Danny O’Brien for Saturday after he served a two-game suspension. O’Brien had a sack in the win over Bowling Green in the season opener. Kendal Vickers and Owen Williams are still listed as the starters on the Tennessee depth chart.

Vickers has eight tackles, including one tackle for a loss this season. Williams started the last two games in place of O’Brien, and he made three tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss against Oklahoma.


Jalen Reeves-Maybin leads Tennessee and is third in the SEC with 33 tackles, sparked by a 21-tackle performance against Oklahoma. Reeves-Maybin made 101 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss last season.

Freshman Darrin Kirkland, Jr. earned his first career start last week against West Carolina and made four tackles. He has nine tackles and one sack on the season.

Tennessee opened in the nickel with only two linebackers on the field last weekend against Western Carolina, and that will likely be the case against Florida on Saturday. However, when the Volunteers use three linebackers, Austin Smith is the third linebacker on the field. Smith, another true freshman, is playing in place of the injury Curt Maggitt.


Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley start for the Volunteers. Sutton was voted to the preseason All-SEC second team. He had 16 passes defended last season, the third-most in a season in Tennessee history. His 27 career passes defended are ninth most in Tennessee history.

Last season as a true freshman, Moseley had 18 tackles and was second on the team with six passes defended. This year, Moseley has 10 tackles, four passes defended and one tackle for a loss.


Todd Kelly Jr. is third on the team with 15 tackles, and he had two interceptions against Oklahoma in the second game of the season. He was voted to the 2014 Freshman All-SEC team and led all league freshmen with three interceptions, the most by a Tennessee player since Eric Berry had five in 2007.

Brian Randolph starts alongside Kelly, and he’s fourth on the team with 14 tackles. Last season, Randolph was third in the SEC in tackles by a defensive back with 88.

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