Tennessee vs. Florida


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tennessee Offense vs. Florida Defense
Florida's team speed on defense is excellent, but it's a relatively inexperienced unit. Meanwhile, Tennessee has a seasoned quarterback, depth at running back and an emerging receiving corps. Look for Volunteer offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe to take advantage by keeping the Gators off balance with his play calling. Passing on first down and situations with run-heavy tendencies will make it difficult for Florida's front four to fly upfield. Running on downs with pass-heavy tendencies could create running lanes and help keep the linebackers on their heels. The goal should be getting the defense to react rather than attack. However, don't expect Cutclife to take too many chances downfield. Tennessee's defense has looked suspect over the first two weeks. With that in mind, controlling the clock and limiting Florida's opportunities to put points on the board is critical. So unless the Volunteers fall behind early, quick scores don't have as much value as sustained drives.

Tennessee should have its most success pounding the ball between the tackles when it does run. RB Arian Foster is a powerful runner who rarely goes down with the first hit and has excellent size. Arguably more important, he runs behind an offensive line that has a substantial size advantage over the Gator defensive front but isn't as quick or agile. Attacking the heart of the run defense cuts down on the front five's blocking angles giving the offensive linemen the best opportunity to get into position against the front four. That said, the Volunteers have to get outside at times to keep Florida honest and look for Cutcliffe to turn to reserves LaMarcus Coker, Montario Hardesty and Lennon Creer when they do. All three are quicker around the corner than Foster and can shift to another gear when they get a seam. Cutcliffe should try to exploit the Gators' youth at linebacker by running misdirection with these backs as well. If LBs A.J. Jones, Brandon Spikes and Dustin Doe get caught overreacting to the initial action of the ball, Tennessee could break some long runs. Finally, it's important to note that the Volunteers can help their linemen by altering the cadence and using quick counts. However, The Swamp will be rocking and Tennessee has to avoid penalties that put QB Erik Ainge in situations with pass-heavy tendencies so discipline is a key to success.
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