IT's Take

Every week the staff will bring you its reactions to each week's game. Read to see what Danny, Chris, Josh and Randy all have to say about Tennessee's 33-23 loss to Florida.

The staff will bring you its point of view each week.

Be sure to check back to see what the IT staff has to say about the Tennessee game every Saturday this fall.

Randy Moore's thoughts

Tennessee might've been able to win without a running game but the Vols couldn't without Justin Hunter AND a running game. I thought Tennessee looked lost when Hunter limped off the field in the first period. By the time the Vols found their composure they were down 16-0.

Tennessee struggled to match Florida's speed but most teams in college football will have the same problem. I thought world-class sprinter Chris Rainey's 83-yard catch/run for a touchdown that bumped the lead to 30-7 in the third quarter was the kill shot. He also ran for 100-plus yards to give the Gators an effective ground game. Tennessee, conversely, had no ground game, and that enabled Florida to pin its ears back and rush Tyler Bray. Bray was throwing off his back foot all day but still passed for nearly 300 yards. I've been raving about DeAnthony Arnett since the first time I saw him at Lane Kiffin's 2009 summer camp, and now fans see why. Arnett caught eight passes for 59 yards in his first extensive college action and is going to be a star.

For the second week in a row Tennessee's defense got off to an awful start, then recovered to play pretty well after the first quarter. It seemed that end Jacques Smith was in the Gator backfield all day long. There were two special-teams miscues - a missed field goal and a blocked punt - but they wound up making only a six-point difference in the score.

I still think the Vols are headed for a good season but this loss was a disappointment.


Offense: Passing game B+, running game F

Defense: B-

Special Teams: C

Danny Parker's thoughts

Florida jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead, kept over 90,000 fans at "The Swamp" involved from start to finish and it mattered — a lot.

The freshmen- and sophomore- laden Tennessee team took an early punch to the mouth and never fully got off the mat.

There was some fight as the team could have tuck tail and ran when it fell behind 30-7 with just over 23 minutes to play. However, there are no moral victories and this team simply didn't match its divisional rival's intensity, especially after wide receiver Justin Hunter went down with what could be a season-ending injury.

The cloud of dust around Gen. Neyland's grave still hasn't settled after his spinning for four hours given how Tennessee ignored most every Game Maxim, including its worst showing on special teams in a long time and in field position.

The defense had its moments in obvious run situations but totally and completely busted covering backs out the backfield from the game's first play forward. The secondary is completely out of five-star prospects that can run down ball carriers in the open field, so mental lapses turn into touchdowns in a hurry.

It's hard to be too positive about the offense given how the unit netted minus-9 yards rushing and center James Stone burned worms all afternoon with his horrid snaps, nearly giving offensive line coach Harry Hiestand a heart attack as he was halfway onto the field "coaching."

Finding a silver lining is tough to do. The Vols got a taste of a hostile environment. That's about it. Even the coaching had some questionable parts, starting with the decision to go for two down 30-13.


Offense: C-

Defense: D+

Special Teams: F-

Chris Price's thoughts

It is hard to say a whole lot positive about this football game. From the second that wide receiver Justin Hunter left the game you felt the wind come out of the sails of the Tennessee team. Offense, defense, special teams, coaches — everyone was affected.

They knew exactly what to expect with Chris Rainey on the punt block unit and he came through to almost pick the ball out of the air. Place kicker Michael Palardy missed another field goal inside of 40 yards and the punts that Tennessee did get off didn't result with a much better result than the one that was blocked.

Center James Stone could barely get the ball back to quarterback Tyler Bray and was single handily responsible for two huge losses on offense. Bray couldn't recover from losing his ‘go-to guy' and made some terrible decisions with the football.

The defense got run over early by the two backs early in the game, but eventually did their best to keep Tennessee is the game with several key stops that held Florida to field goals.

Overall, this was an embarrassing performance by the Tennessee football team. It finished as a 10-point game, but at no point did it ever feel that close.


Offense: D

Defense: C-

Special Teams: F

Josh Woodward's thoughts

Derek Dooley said after the game his team hit a "buzz saw" and he was exactly right. Tennessee has likely lost its best offensive weapon for the season in Justin Hunter, who went down early in the 1st quarter with a knee injury. Tennessee was only down seven when Hunter was hurt, but the Vols weren't able to keep their composure.

Offensively, Tennessee had one hand tied behind its back when Hunter went down. Florida was then able to have safety help over the top of Rogers and took out the deep play. The running game for Tennessee stayed on the bus, Poole played sparingly in the second half as the Vols looked to freshman Marlin Lane. The offensive line got hit with a bunch of stunts and looked lost at times, James Stone had multiply snap issues that looked to throw Bray off on his rhythm.

The saying is "Speed kills" and the Vols defense got hit with a lot of speed on the edge with Rainey and Demps. The defense continued to miss tackles and was not able to get much pressure on John Brantley. A positive did come out of this game defensively was Curt Maggitt. Maggitt played extremely well as did Jacques Smith.

Special Teams continues to hurt the Vols as Florida had a blocked punt and Michael Palardy struggles with anything longer than 30 yards. Marlin Lane did look good returning the ball and we didn't see freshman Devrin Young.


Offense: C

Defense: D

Special Teams: F

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