Pat Dooley Grades the Gators after Tennessee
First half: Florida was able to run the ball as usual, but we still had to simply wonder about an offense with two quarterbacks and how much better it would be with Anthony Richardson. The fumble by Jacob Copeland kept Florida from a two-possession lead.
Second half: That drive to start the second half was the kind of things that great teams do. Florida basically had plays it knew would work and ran them until the Gators were celebrating in the end zone. The controlled the second half with the offense.
For the game: Another game, another 500-plus game for the offense. Remember, this is two straight games without the player most consider to be Florida’s most dangerous weapon. This offense is thriving under a new comfort level for Emory Jones.
First half: Screen pass for a 47-yard touchdown. Receiver gets wide open behind the defense for 75 yards. This is not an elite defense. Neither is a second half where you give up 261 yards. Florida gave up 143 passing yards to a team that was last in the SEC in passing. The truth is that the Vols had been getting guys open before, they just finally hit one.
Second half: Florida’s defense was able to shut things down in the second half. This is still a defense kind of trying to find itself after losing Ventrell Miller, but it’s not like the Gators have played poorly.
For the game: The two scores early were not good. It’s one thing to give up a drive, but two plays like there were really bad. That said, the defense gave up nothing else. Right now, this feels like a good defense, but not close to a great defense.
SPECIAL TEAMS B-
First half: Finally, some special teams things to write about. We saw what the first pressure kick of the season because Jace Christmann’s 47-yard field goal came with the score tied. I’ll give Jeremy Crawshaw credit for a 58-yard punt to the 11 but Tennessee only had nine players on the field on the play (therefore, no returner).
Second half: Not much happened. I will say that Xzavier Henderson is back there fielding punts for a reason because you feel awfully good when he’s trying to track the ball.
For the game: The Florida game plan is not big on special teams because in theory they won’t want to kick. But as we saw Saturday night, when it needed to be there it was.
Hey, it was still Tennessee. The Vols may not be very good, but Florida took the best punches of Team Orange Pumpkin and ended up putting them out like a used cigarette. Florida now leads the series 31-20 after losing the first 10 games back in the covered wagon days. This is no longer a rivalry.