Tennessee Football 2011: 11 Reasons Why the Vols Will Beat Florida
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. -Niccolo Machiavelli
The problem with vengeance is that it's something you can carry indefinitely. For the last four decades the University of Florida Gators have given more than they've gotten when it comes to playing Tennessee.
Since 1971 Florida has outmatched Tennessee 19-7. However, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer are no longer walking the field at Ben Griffin stadium. Will Muschamp carries a heavy burden like no other Florida coach before him.
Championship reputation is at stake as Muschamp helms the Gator flagship; offensive guru Charlie Weis is there to help but will it be enough? Here are 11 reason why the Vols will take the wind out of the Florida sails.
Weis Will Fall Short
As I said before Charlie Weis is a guru when it comes to offense and QB's, but truth be told he would be better off as a QB coach and not an OC, not right now.
I won't take a jab at any man for his health, but I don't believe he is physically able to survive in the grueling career of Florida football as the offensive taskmaster. I'm sure the mind is sharp but the body is failing him. Even at Notre Dame you could tell the man was tired.
And, when you get tired you make mistakes; Muschamp will only suffer so many snafu's before the pink slips start flying. Weis can be successful but the aging coach will fall behind and John Brantley will suffer the consequences and so will this guy...
Jeff Driskel Still Isn't Tebow
By the time Muschamp figures out how bad his offense is suffering he will bench Brantley, and Driskel won't be able to save his Gator offense.
It's really quite simple. Fulmer fell into the same trap with Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens. Fulmer thought Nick Stephens was even more talented than his starting QB and that when the ship started going down all he had to do was insert Stephens and wallah....savior of the day!
That didn't happen and at home the Gators handed yet another loss to the Vols to the tune of 30-6 at home.
Why did Fulmer assume that would be his ace up the sleeve? Because the OC (Dave Clawson) told him that Jonathan Crompton would be fine. He just had to work himself out of Eric Ainge's cleats. And that Nick Stephens could step in when the time came. That time came, and came, and came, and...
Muschamp is going to do the same thing. Why? Because he won't have a choice, and like the heading says Driskel still isn't Tim Tebow.
Tennessee DB's Are Underestimated
Whether or not DB Janzen Jackson returns is irrelevant.
With DB's like Prentiss Waggner, Brent Brewer, Marsalis Teague, Art Evans, CJ Fleming and 10 other DB's that make this season's depth chart look like a veritable who's who in young SEC talent, it's nothing but foolish to think that very many QB's, much less John Brantley or Jeff Driskel will be able to penetrate very far into the passing lanes.
There will be so many interceptions and broken pass plays that people will start to think that the Vol's corners and safeties are receiving for the Gators.
Remember, speed kills. Just watch for the orange and white blurs to identify the defense.
Offensive Line Coach Harry Hiestand Is a Perfectionist
When Derek Dooley hired Harry Hiestand to coach the offensive line it wasn't because he wanted to help the team in a pinch. It was because he wanted him to turn young men into a brick wall.
Last season the the line suffered because of youth and inexperience. This season it will still take a few hits, but the upside to that is Hiestand is training them to be NFL first rounders and not just SEC linemen.
From 2005-2010 Hiestand coached the line for the Chicago Bears and guided C Olin Kreutz, LG Josh Beekman, RG Roberto Garza, LT John St. Clair and RT John Tait to the 2006 NFC championship. And many of those men were happy to praise Hiestand for their success.
It was the same way 1999 at Illinois where the school's offense had their highest scoring season in school history.
His history in coaching documents that men under his command allow fewer sacks, less penetration, more rushing yards, and a higher percentage of All-American, and NFL drafted linemen in the past 15 years than any other coach.
Last year was growing pains, this season the kinks will be worked out and, hurries and sacks won't be on the menu for the Gators.
This Is Dan Quinn's First Rodeo
Dan Quinn the new Defensive Coordinator will be calling the shots for Will Muschamp. This in itself is a new ballgame for Florida's head coach, it will be very confusing when Quinn calls down a play only to have Muschamp make adjustments on the fly, which he will.
Everyone knows just how gifted Muschamp is in this department, so regardless of Quinn and Muschamps past affiliation with the Miami Dolphins there will be problems.
Since 1994 Quinn has only had one year of experience at the DC position, the rest of his career has been spent running the defensive line. Florida is not the place for this kind of promotion, my hat's off to Muschamp for giving a pal a break, but Gators will want his head on a platter by the end of the Tennessee game.
Yeah, I know they get a bunch back too, however the loss of the Gators' No.1 leading tackler in DB Ahmad Black is a heavy blow. It only gets worse as they also lost their No .4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 8 and No.9 leading tacklers in DL Juston Trattou and DB Will Hill, LB A.J. Jones, DL Duke Lemmens, and LB Brandon Hicks.
This alone should speak volumes for the obstacles that face Dan Quinn. I don't care how much talent you claim to have on your squad, you just don't lose that much leadership and experience and expect to be a dominant force in college football.
The Gator defense will resemble the same Tennessee squad they faced last season.
Again there are losses that are very hard to overcome.. With the departure of RB Emmanuel Moody, WR Carl Moore, OT Marcus Gilbert, OG Carl Johnson, C Mike Pouncey and OG Maurice Hurt it leaves a weak wall for John Brantley to get first downs.
Much like the Vols the Gators are young but Florida's depth chart was a tad bit more deep last season where the Vols depth chart per player was far younger.
All of those younger players for the Vols played more downs and saw more action because the Tennessee depth just wasn't able. These same guys are playing under the exact same coaches and will have the benefit of consistent guidance.
Vols Are Up to Their Necks in Receiver Talent
With a gunslinger QB waiting to unholster his arm, the Volunteer receivers are just as anxious to show their skill-sets as well.
Justin Hunter, Da Rick Rogers, Matt Milton, Zach Rogers, Vincent Dallas, DeAnthony Arnett, and even Cory Eicholtz is predicted to have a breakout season. All receivers are have amazing skills, but when you factor in the possibility of a Mychal Rivera and Brendan Downs also contributing it opens up the door to a receiving buffet.
The Gator secondary is fast, but there will be too many players on the field offering a bullseye for Tyler Bray. The tall, lanky QB will have at least 300 yards passing on the day, and....
Tyler Bray Cements His Legacy
....he will get the game ball.
Whether you love him or hate him you have to respect his talent. The California youth took the Vol stage last season by storm and left many doubters holding their hats.
His stats speak for themselves, 125/244 attempts, 1849 yards, 18 TD's and a final QB rating of 142.7.
Tennessee will always remember the QB's that beat Florida, but Bray will cement his legacy by tearing down the wall that Spurrier and Meyer built. You heard it here first.
Watch the video above to see why he will only get better with each down he plays.
Ron McKeefery Will Make the Difference
Pant...pant..pant, gasp. Water, pant...pant...gasp.
That was the language you might have heard last year if you were in a Tennessee huddle. This season it will be different. No more will the Vols be known for being slow and out of shape. The new head strength and conditioning coach will turn the Vols into Ferrari's and that's no joke.
He is taking the same public approach that Derek Dooley is. "We've got a long way to go...there is still a lot of work to be done."
Behind close doors it's an entirely different story. You think they keep an IV medic on hand for looks? Those poor kids will get the crap beat out of them every day and McKeefery is making sure of it. What's more, Dooley is observing it all from that elevated platform, much like the dark Emperor from Star Wars rubbing his hands together mumbling "Excellent, excellent!"
By the time they get to Gainesville, they will perform like Greek gods.
Dooley Has Learned from His Mistakes
Personally I thought Coach Dooley looked ridiculous at the Orange and White game pacing back and forth behind the offensive huddles, and then it came to me why. He cares.
This may seem like to much of a simplistic cause, but if you turn a blind eye to anything that involves your program catastrophe can happen from any angle.
It took me by surprise yet again, but I forgot that coaches did that kind of thing...you know caring? I always thought that it gave the offense confidence problems walking around observing every nuance of the play calling and huddle coordination, but then I remembered something that Vince Lombardi once said about Bart Starr.
One of his assistants asked him why he was following Starr so closely around the huddles during practice. Lombardi replied to him that he was afraid that his starting QB was going to get hurt. He asked him out of curiosity and he simply replied that Bart Starr kept forgetting to tie his shoes.
I have to believe Dooley is worried about something else, but last season he was content to watch from the sidelines and let the assistants work it out. Maybe what Dooley said is true.
Maybe this is year one.