Tennessee has faced one very mobile SEC quarterback this season. That didn’t go very well. The Vols have a chance to improve this week in that regard.
LSU’s Jayden Daniels isn’t exactly the same kind of quarterback as Florida’s Anthony Richardson, who had a career day against the Vols in Neyland Stadium. Daniels is quicker, but not as big as Richardson. Both have been questioned as passers.
The latter was said by Richardson before he completed 24-of-44 passes for 453 yards against the Vols and nearly pulled off an upset win before falling short 38-33 in UT’s last game.
“They are very similar,” Tennessee linebacker coach Brian Jean-Mary said on Tuesday. “Different body types. Obviously (Richardson) is a little heavier, in the 230-plus range. Jayden is probably a little lighter, but still runs as hard and is as elusive.
“We obviously didn’t do as great of a job as we wanted to versus Anthony, so that’s been a big point of emphasis for us, trying to keep the quarterback contained. But (Daniels) is a super talented kid; they probably had a couple more designed runs in the last game, obviously trying to take advantage of his elusiveness. But we have to do a great job.
“I think they are comparable as athletes and as runners, but Anthony being a little bigger might be a little bit more of a ‘between the tackles’ guy, where Jayden is probably a little more off tackle.”
That presents an entirely different challenge for the Vols even though both quarterbacks can make plays with their legs. The key to containing Richardson’s running ability was keeping him in the pocket. For the most part, the Vols did that. Richardson ran for 62 yards on 17 carries, but his longest run was only 11 yards. Surprisingly, it was Richardson’s passing, which was questioned before the Tennessee game, that kept Florida in the game.
LSU coach Brian Kelly said Daniels needs to be a “little more aggressive” during his press conference on Tuesday. There’s room for that. Daniels has thrown six touchdown passes and zero interceptions. However, he’s missed some open receivers downfield more often times than not. With LSU’s talent at receiver, those missed opportunities could have been big plays. Instead, Daniels has been more likely to tuck and run.
That means the Vols can make Daniels uncomfortable by forcing him to throw to beat them. Daniels is most comfortable running the ball, as evident by the fact that he’s LSU’s leading rushing in attempts (60) and yards (321). How important is containing Daniels on the ground.
“It’s very important because going into this game,” Tennessee defensive end/linebacker Byron Young said. “He’s a leading rusher for their team, so our number one job is to contain them, make them uncomfortable, contain the pocket (and) just keep him in the pocket as much as you can.”
That sounds eerily familiar.