"They were hustling after the ball and just kept going so that is what we are trying to do — keep hustling, keep our rush lanes and get to the quarterback," Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson said. "I would say we are licking our chops with every quarterback, but I know he is a sophomore and this is his first year really playing so we are trying to get after him and hit him a lot."
The Vols have only been able to get to the quarterback four times in 2012, but they were been able to created pressure with 10 QB hurries in Week 2 against opponent Georgia State. Unfortunately, much to the dismay of head coach Derek Dooley, QB hurries were not tallied in the season opener with North Carolina State.
"We want to get a lot more (sacks)," defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore said. "We want to do better than that. We have been close, we are getting pressure up front, but we are never satisfied.
"I am not trying to talk about nobody. I just think that Texas A&M had a defensive line as far as rushing — they got after the quarterback. I think we can do a lot of things against (Florida) to get a lot of sacks."
Even with the low sack numbers, Dooley has seen a significant improvement over his 2011 squad that finished the season with just 16 sacks.
"We are getting some good pressure with the front for, but it is a little bit like everything — there are times when you do a great times and there are times when you screw up the game or we lose our pass rush lane," Dooley said Tuesday. "It is a work in progress, but I think it is much improved from last year.
"This game is going to be a little different. We have to keep that quarterback in the pocket because he runs well and they are going to be head butting us running the ball."
One thing that will aid the Vol defensive attack is the return of starting linebackers Herman Lathers and Curt Maggitt. Maggitt, a former Coaches All-SEC Freshmen team member, made a game-changing play in Week 1 forcing N.C. State QB Mike Glennon to fumble, resulting in a safety.
"Curt and Herman moved around pretty good," Dooley said. "They are not 100 percent, but they moved around out there. (Christian Harris) is activated too and he moved around pretty good — if he is not back this week he should be for next week."
Watch as members of the Tennessee defense talk about preparing for their SEC opener with the Florida Gators in Neyland Stadium: