Be sure to check back to see what the IT staff has to say about the Tennessee game each Saturday this fall.
Randy Moore's thoughts
Losing to Florida is always tough for Tennessee fans but losing to Florida when Tennessee appears to have the better team is gut-wrenching. Saturday was a gut-wrenching loss. The Vols dominated the first half and easily could've led by two touchdowns, instead of 14-10. Tyler Bray wasn't sharp, missing some open receivers and throwing an interception that set up a short TD drive by Florida. He seemed to lose his composure as the game progressed.
A Vol defense that hadn't allowed a point in the third quarter through two games, suddenly forgot how to tackle. Trey Burton ran 80 yards for a TD that tied the score at 20, then Mike Gillislee raced 45 yards on the first play of Florida's next possession to set up a 23-yard TD pass that put the Gators on top 27-20. Tennessee allowed another big-play TD in the fourth quarter, a 75-yard catch/run by Frankie Hammond that pushed the score to 34-20 and sealed Tennessee's doom.
Tailback Rajion Neal ran hard and was a bright spot on offense; A.J. Johnson seemed to be everywhere and was a bright spot on defense. Otherwise, the Vols played as if they were unnerved by the national TV audience. Derrick Brodus missed Tennessee's third PAT of the season, a category in which the Vols surely lead the NCAA.
Special Teams: C-
Chris Price's thoughts
Tennessee came out hot, they played a solid first half of football and then just melted down in the second half. Florida's Trey Burton took over the game all by himself running the ball twice for 94 yards and two touchdowns at one point.
The Vols failed to make the necessary adjustments to stay in the football game. Tyler Bray looked like a 10-year-old girl throwing a temper tantrum late in the third and fourth quarter. He lost his composure and drew attention in all the wrong ways from important people on the Twitter world.
The special teams way relatively irrelevant with the exception of Derrick Brodus' missed extra point. The Vols just can't seem to find a kicker. This team flat laid down when they were very much still in the game.
Special Teams: C
Josh Woodward's thoughts
The tale of two halves is the basis of my take, the Vols looked good in the first half and looked lost most of the second. The Vols struggled against the read option with Trey Burton. Burton scorched the Vols with 94 yards rushing, including an 80 yard touchdown run. The defense lost containment on the outside, which is what cost them the long plays. Tennessee has to improve on staying at home on the edge and not allow the offensive player to get outside.
On offense, Tennessee was able to run the ball, which was a good sign. Neal ran well between the tackles and had some nice first down runs. The receivers dropped some key balls, with Patterson not being able to hold on to a long pass from Bray in the fourth quarter. When Florida was able to get pressure Bray got rattled and it showed in his throws. He needs to do a better with a man in his face. A nice wrinkle to the offense was AJ Johnson running the wildcat, the big man looked good running down hill and will be helpful in future games.
Special Teams was not up to par with Derek Brodus missing another PAT, while Florida was excellent in teams play. Florida was able to take away the return game with Sturgis, being able to kick it threw the endzone is a big plus. The Vols just have to get back to fundamental football and take their frustration out on Akron.
Special Teams: D
Danny Parker's thoughts
Getting outscored 27-6 in the second half of a 37-20 loss in front of your home crowd against arguably your biggest rival on the grandest stage your program has been on in several years is bad. Just bad. Real Bad.
What closely resembled the 2006 contest that Florida inched out at Neyland Stadium quickly evolved into a Tim Tebow-led type beating that left Tennessee fans heading to the exits with it a two-score game and over nine minutes to play.
The fourth quarter play by the Volunteers bore a striking resemblance to the 10-7 loss to Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium last November. Bad. Horribly bad.
The Gators were just 4 yards shy of having more net rushing yards than their hosts had total (and that's after the Vols went 500 in Weeks 1 and 2).
Coming in, the hoopla around Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson had all three dubbed as early entries into the NFL Draft. April is a long ways off, but they have much to prove if they want to be taken on the first or second day in 2013.
The advantage Florida had at placekicker was immense, but its running game made it mostly irrelevant in the end.
Long story short, the comparisons between this Tennessee team lean more toward the negative after starting the season 2-0 two straight years. Lots of wagon circling to do between now and Akron and the trip to Athens, Ga.
Special teams: C