Vols Game Preview: Tennessee Establishes Identity


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by Jordan Mayton of VFL Insider

Weekly Vols Game Preview

Florida Gators (0-1) vs Tennessee Volunteers (2-0)

Saturday, September 16, 2:30 PM on CBS

Ben Hill-Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida

What to Watch for:

Tennessee has played two games thus far, but it seems like we don’t know anymore about Tennessee than we did before the start of the season.

Who knows what you’re getting on offense. The one question the Vols have managed to answer is the quarterback situation, but outside Marquez Callaway, there are no standout options at receiver. Tennessee doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing at the running back position. Ty Chandler takes the opening kick back for a touchdown against Indiana State, then only carries the ball four times for the rest of the game. It’s anyone’s guess what you’re going to get from the offensive line on a given week.

Marquez Callaway blows past an Indiana State defender. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Defense isn’t much more clear. The Vols showing against Georgia Tech isn’t an indication of how the that unit will perform for the remainder of the season. It’s a triple option offense that’s hard to prepare for. Indiana State was no better indication. The Sycarmores are an FCS school that couldn’t hold their own against an SEC opponent. Tennessee played as vanilla as possible, so not to give away schemes to future opponents.

Florida is just as much of a head scratcher. The Gators struggled in the second half against Michigan without a solidified starter at quarterback. Both Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire took snaps against the Wolverines, but neither made a case to be the head signal caller going forward. Due to Hurricane Irma, Florida was forced to cancel a game last week against Northern Colorado.

Darrell Taylor makes the game-winning tackle against Georgia Tech. (YouTube)

Bottom line, it’s time for Tennessee to establish their identity.

The Vols know what they have in their experienced offensive line and play-making running back John Kelly, but now it’s time for the rest of the offense to step up. Marquez Callaway, Brandon Johnson and Latrell Williams all need to have an excellent game for the Vols. So many years it’s been the Vols receivers struggling against the Gators defensive backs.

On the defensive side of the ball, it’s time to limit the splash plays. The Vols gave up a school-record 655 yards of offense to Georgia Tech. They bounced back against the Sycamores and it’s time they keep the Gators in check. Look for a trio of sophomores in Daniel Bituli, Darrell Taylor and Nigel Warrior to lead the unit throughout the game. The Vols will also need big production from a trio of senior corners in Emmanuel Moseley, Justin Martin and Shaq Wiggins.

Emmanuel Moseley makes a cut. (Rocky Top Insider)

The Vols have a tall task against them, but with the question marks created by the Gators, it could be Tennessee’s year to get the W in the Swamp.

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