To nobody’s surprise who has studied history, Tennessee Football once again lost to the Florida Gators. It doesn’t matter how good or bad either team is, Florida seems to own this series, especially in The Swamp, and that was clearly on display in this one. Here are five things we learned from UT’s play.
Way too many mistakes on offense
Pre-snap penalties, a nearly-lost fumble off a miscommunication on a play-action, second half drops and too many delay of game penalties absolutely destroyed Tennessee Football. The Vols committed nine penalties for 74 yards, and they had to burn two timeouts on the opening drive of the second half. As the leader of the offense, you have to put a lot of this on Joe Milton III.
Interior blocking was horrendous
In addition to numerous false start penalties, the Vols’ interior blocking was terrible. They couldn’t run the ball in the first half, and Milton’s first interception with UT came because he was hit as he threw from both sides. For the first time all year, Cooper Mays was missed. Three penalties by Ollie Lane and multiple missed blocks by everybody on the inside proved costly.
Tennessee Football DL manhandled in first half
Maybe this was due to the offense not being able to sustain a drive, but defensive line was supposed to be an advantage for Tennessee Football. However, Florida torched the Vols on the ground, and Graham Mertz was highly efficient. UT should’ve had six or seven sacks on the night. They had 11 coming in, but they only had one in this game.
3rd down first half defense was awful
Even if Tennessee Football did make plays on the defensive line, the third down defense was awful. Florida was 7-of-8 on third downs in the first half, converting on multiple 3rd and long plays. That’s what built them the 26-7 first half lead. UT’s secondary was just as bad as the defensive line in that half, and everything spraled.
Kicking was one Tennessee Football advantage
The Vols do seem to have a punter in Jackson Ross, and Charles Campbell is a reliable kicker. Given the fact that Florida missed an extra point and a field goal, this is one aspect of the game that is a positive takeaway for Tennessee Football. It doesn’t mean much if you’re not competitive, but it could pove useful down the road.