Defensive notebook

If everyone on Tennessee's defense played as hard and as well as Nick Reveiz, the Vol stop unit might be virtually impregnable.

The senior middle linebacker was spectacular in Saturday's 31-17 loss to Florida, recording game highs for tackles (5), assists (9) and total hits (14). He also recovered a fumble and contributed one-half of a tackle for loss.

"He played his heart out on every snap," head coach Derek Dooley said. "That's Nick. He's going to do it every week. He's a great leader, a great example."

- The Vols' third-down defense was awful vs. Florida after being outstanding (2 of 17) vs. UT Martin in Game 1 and mediocre (5 of 12) in Game 2 vs. Oregon. Tennessee allowed the Gators to convert on 8 of 14 third-down tries, including several third-and-longs. Included were a 16-yard completion by John Brantley on third-and-15, a 16-yard completion on third-and-11, a 14-yard completion on third-and-eight and a 12-yard completion on third-and-nine that extended Florida's game-clinching touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

"We could never get any pressure on the guy," Dooley said. "When we blitzed, they blocked it up and we couldn't hold up in coverage. When we played coverage, it just stuck.

"That's a concern. If you can't get a little heat on the quarterback, you can't hold up. They were pushing us around on the back end and throwing it right at the (first-down) stick. They just out-executed us. They were better than us on third down."

- Victor Thomas got his second career start at defensive tackle vs. Florida. He started Game 1 vs. UT Martin but freshman Corey Miller started Game 2 vs. Oregon. Thomas finished with a solo tackle and three assists.

- Sophomore Marsalis Teague, who played exclusively wide receiver as a freshman in 2009, got his second consecutive start at right cornerback. Redshirt freshman Eric Gordon started Game 1 vs. UT Martin. Teague and Gordon recorded five tackles each vs. Florida.

- Sophomore safety Janzen Jackson, who got more attention in Game 2 for a couple of tackles he missed than the six he made, registered nine stops in Game 3, including a minus-yardage tackle.

- Gerald Williams recorded an eight-yard sack vs. Florida and now has two of the Vols' three sacks through the first three games. Tackle Montori Hughes has the other.

- Joseph Ayres, a 6-3, 262-pound redshirt freshman walk-on, saw some backup action at defensive tackle, contributing one assist. He played his first two seasons of high school ball at Knoxville Webb before finishing up at Chattanooga McCallie. His great-great grandfather, Brown Ayres, was president of UT from 1904-19 and is the man for whom Ayres Hall is named.


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