Vols must keep 'contain'

One of the lasting impressions of the 2002 Tennessee-Florida football game was Vol defenders flushing Gator QB Rex Grossman out of the pocket, only to see Grossman ramble for positive yardage.

Keeping containment thus looms as a key issue in this Saturday's rematch, especially since current Florida quarterback Ingle Martin is even more elusive than Grossman. So, what can Vol defenders do to keep Martin from scrambling for yards the way Grossman did?

''The main thing is we missed too many tackles last year,'' Vol linebacker Robert Peace said. ''It goes back to getting in good football position, which has been a key emphasis since the Marshall game. When you get to the quarterback, you have to make the tackle. You have to keep your hips low. As long as we do that and don't miss tackles, we'll be fine.''

When the opposing quarterback is a running threat, some teams throttle back on their pass rush a bit in order to keep him contained. Might Tennessee try this approach?

''No,'' Peace said, shaking his head emphatically. ''We're going to pin our ears back just like we do every game and try to put pressure on the quarterback. We're not going to change our gameplan for anybody.''

Whereas Florida was a pass first/run second offense under Steve Spurrier, the Gators have become more run-oriented under current head man Ron Zook.

''They definitely want to establish the running game, and that gets their passing game going,'' Peace said. ''They've got two good backs (Ran Carthon, DeShawn Wynn) and a big offensive line. It's a challenge to stop the running game. You could see by the success they had against Miami that they're a good running team.''

Wynn, a 5-11, 224-pound freshman, might be the SEC's next superstar tailback.

''He's a great speed back that you really have to gang-tackle,'' Peace said. ''It's tough for one person to bring him down. He's going to be one of the better backs we face, so we have to bring our A-Game to him.''

Against Marshall 11 days ago, the Vol defense DID NOT bring its A-Game ... or its B-Game or even its C-Game. The Vol stop unit was exploited at times and looked nothing like the unit that held Fresno State to 117 total yards just a week earlier. Perhaps the bad outing against Marshall reminded UT's defenders that they aren't invincible, which could be a good thing.

''Definitely. That's always good,'' Peace said. ''You can't get too confident. Marshall is a team similar to Florida, so coming out with a tough win was really good for us. It showed we came together and played as a team, which sometimes we didn't do last year.''

Although Marshall pushed Tennessee around early, the Vols showed some grit by shutting down the Thundering Herd as the game progressed. That's another positive sign heading into Saturday's game at Gainesville.

''We definitely responded and came together and kept playing hard,'' Peace said. ''We never quit, never gave up, and that was a key factor for us.''

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