Chavis vows to 'test the water'

When you don't know how cold a swimming hole is, you've got to test the water.

Likewise, when you don't know how mature a quarterback is, you've got to test him, too.

That's what Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis is planning to do when the Vols face Florida's youthful quarterbacks this Saturday in Gainesville.

Asked if he'll blitz more to try and rattle Gator sophomore Ingle Martin and freshman Chris Leak, Chavis replied: ''It depends on what they do and how they handle it. You're always going to test the water. Sometimes we've been guilty of jumping in without testing it. That's OK, too, because sometimes it's refreshing. You're going to test the water with your pressure package. That's been a big part of us, and we're going to do it.''

Really, Chavis says there aren't that many differences between the two Florida QBs.

''There's not a lot there, in terms of what you see,'' he said.

What you DON'T see, though, is that Martin has had one more year in the system. Thus, he should be much more advanced in terms of grasping the Gators' attack.

''I don't know how much of the reins they've given Leak,'' Chavis said. ''He's still learning. It's obvious he can't have mastered the whole package because there's a lot of things there from a protection standpoint. They're feeding him with a long-handled spoon.

''He's a very talented athlete that can make plays. They're letting him do what he can do well but there's a little bit of limitation, whereas the other one (Martin) they've cut him loose and let him play.''

Playing Florida two weeks after playing Marshall was a stroke of scheduling luck. The Gator attack is coordinated by Ed Zaunbrecher, who previously held the same post at Marshall. Thus, Florida's offense is very similar to the Marshall offense Tennessee prepared for already.

''Florida's passing game is very, very simliar to Marshall,'' Chavis said. ''Their running game is a little different in what they try to do. Their offense starts with the running game because they really want to run the football. They want to do it from open sets (spread formations), but they take what you give 'em. If you don't put enough people in the box, they're going to run the football. If you spread out and try to play zone, you're asking for problems in the run game. You've got to pick and choose.''

Florida's best rushing threat is freshman DeShawn Wynn, a 5-11, 224-pounder with a nice blend of speed and power.

''He's a good player, really impressive,'' Chavis said. ''He played well against Miami and Florida A&M. He's physical for a freshman, runs extremely hard. You look at the film and you'll be impressed with him.''

Florida also has its usual glut of speedy pass-catchers.

''They're good quality receivers,'' Chavis said. ''I haven't seen them in a situation where they've been challenged, and I don't know if we're good enough to challenge them or not -- in terms of walking up and playing press coverage. (Dallas) Baker's a really big kid (6-3, 195) that runs great routes and catches the fade as well as anybody.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories