Florida 16, Tennessee 0 -- 2Q, 8:27
Join us here Saturday afternoon as the Tennessee Volunteers visit Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators in a key SEC East matchup.
A few pregame notes:
-This is new UF coach Will Muschamp's first SEC game. Former Gator coach Urban Meyer went 5-0 against Tennessee.
-This game has added significance for three former local athletes. Gainesville High School products Ryan McGriff, Trevarris Saulsberry and Jordan Williams were 2011 prep graduates and have stakes in this game. McGriff is a walk-on quarterback for UF, while Saulsberry and Williams are scholarship defensive ends for the Volunteers. Saulsberry is redshirting this year after breaking his hand in the preseason (UT coaches also want him to get stronger). Williams is the son of former Gator Keith Williams. Meyer did not recruit the younger Williams very hard, but Muschamp (who liked Jordan Williams as a big OLB) took a late run at him, but by then Williams was all Vols. Later, Muschamp asked then-GHS coach Ryan Smith if UF had made a mistake letting Williams get away and was told yes.
-Look for Florida to blitz UT quarterback Tyler Bray a great deal. He is a tall, strong-armed passer, but he's hardly fleet of foot.
-Sophomore defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd is scheduled to return to the Gator lineup today. He missed the first two games serving an NCAA suspension.
-So far, so good for the Gaors. Their offensive skill players look far too fast for the Tennessee defense. Charlie Weis also has devised an early gameplan based on short and intermediate passes. The UT defense isn't reacting well.
-Barely three minutes in and there already has been two booth reviews on potential scores for UF. Both accurately went against the Gators.
-UT WR Justin Hunter came down badly and appears to have hurt his left knee. It didn't look good initially, but he is walking off on his own power. Happy to see he seems to be in too much pain. He did have to go to the lockerroom to be checked on by doctors. It would be surprising if he returns.
-Josh Evans earns a personal foul with a brutal shot out of bounds on a Tennessee player. Muschamp loves aggressiveness, but that was pretty dumb (also unnecessary). The Vols haven't needed any help moving the ball so far, but they got it there.
-Jaye Howard, who I think might be the most underrated player in the SEC, with a big stop to force fourth down. Field goal attempt then misses badly.
-Weis is having fun with his toys so far today. UF has utilized speedy Rainey and Demps, as well as versatile Burton on almost every snap. This should open up the game later on for the wideouts to become more involved as Tennessee has to focus more on the Gator backs.
-Sturgis continues to be a nice comeback story. After missing eight games last year with an injury, he has opened 2011 5-for-5.
-Bullard and Howard offering a preview of Mayweather-Ortiz or Ellenberger-Shields (whatever your preference) with a small brouhaha. Bullard flagged as first quarter ends. To show it is involved, CBS plays the theme to WWE Smackdown coming back from commercial.
-It's tough to think of a more valuable running back in college football than Chris Rainey. He carries the ball, catches passes, returns blocked punts, returns kicks and punts and just blocked the fifth punt of his career. I'm not sure what position he will play in the NFL (due to his diminutive size, my guess is in the slot), but someone will have a place for him.
-Who is Florida's special teams player of the year so far? Rainey and Sturgis (now 7-for-7 on the year) are running a tight race early.
-Spurrier is Aflac answer (1990).