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Checking the Film: A Closer Look at UT’s 28-27 Loss to Florida


1st Quarter:

14:39: With the Gators facing third and six, we see a look that appeared several times on Saturday for Tennessee’s defense. They pulled all the defensive tackles off the field, going with a defensive line that consisted of Kyle Phillips, Derek Barnett, LaTroy Lewis and Chris Weatherd. This more athletic bunch was able to keep Florida quarterback Will Grier in the pocket and pulled him down before he could run for the first down, forcing a three and out on Florida’s first series.

13:51: Strong run by Jalen Hurd right out of the gates. The left side of Kyler Kerbyson and Jashon Robertson does a great job of covering their men up to get him some room, Hurd gets outside after clearing the first down, gets some down-field blocking help from Josh Malone and picks up a first down on UT’s first play from scrimmage.

12:51: Dobbs goes down for the sack to end the first drive. It looks like Brett Kendrick got a little confused as the Gators walked linebacker Antonio Morrison up to the line. Kerbyson steps in to help at first, but then tries to pick up Morrison off the edge after he’d already turned his body. By then it’s too late, Dobbs goes down, actually does a good job of holding onto the ball, but the Vols must punt.

11:40: The Vols simply don’t get off blocks here and Florida’s Kelvin Taylor busts a huge run to set up his own touchdown a couple plays later. The question must be asked: after he struggled so much the first couple games and lost his starting job. He (among others) gets driven out several yards out of the play, Brian Randolph stepped up to try to make the tackle from his safety position, but slips, and Taylor is off to the races.

9:10: Just fantastic effort from Dobbs to get the first down. The passing game wasn’t there consistently all day, but Dobbs showed early in the game that he was ready to do whatever it took to help win this game.

8:18: The Vols did a good job on these two plays getting Alvin Kamara involved, even though they didn’t do that well enough the rest of the game, honestly. After splitting him out for a screen pass on the prior play, he gets the carry here and has a hard run, bouncing off several Florida players to earn another tough first down for the Vols.

7:04: Dobbs goes down for his second sack on this play. It looks more like Brett Kendrick just got beat straight up on this one by a good pass rusher, Alex McCalister. Kendrick did some good things in the game, but didn’t have his best effort overall, particularly early.

5:39: Vols bring out the no defensive tackles look again on third down and get the stop again, forcing another punt. Decent coverage on the play by Darrin Kirkland Jr., though it was really a poor throw by Grier that was the biggest factor in the play failing.

5:22: For all the frustrations from this game, the double pass from Dobbs to Jauan Jennings, back to Dobbs, was still a thing of beauty. Let’s look a little deeper into the design. The Vols motion Jalen Hurd out of the backfield, giving them a two-man wall of Hurd and Marquez North – two of their bigger skill players, to block for Jennings while he takes the backwards pass and looks to throw. Dobbs sneaks out to the right, Jennings throws a great ball to him and credit the offensive linemen for hustling over to give Dobbs a wall to the right sideline. Dobbs turns on the jets, Ethan Wolf seals the last man off and the Vols run one of their best overall plays of the year to tie the game early.

4:37: This is just an example of Jalen Reeves-Maybin being better than the back trying to pick up. Grier starts to run out of the pocket, Kelvin Taylor is between JRM and the quarterback, but Reeves-Maybin shoots past him, grabs Grier and takes him down for the sack, keeping the momentum going for the Vols after that touchdown a few plays earlier.

3:11: Great down-line pursuit and persistency by Shy Tuttle here to get a third-down stop and force Florida to punt it back to UT after the Vols tied it up 7-7 on the previous play.

2:01: What else can you say about the effort of Jalen Hurd in this game? This is a great example of how hard he was running. He gets at least seven yards after contact on this play, showing again why he’s emerging as one of the better backs in the SEC. Nice job by the offensive line, particularly Kyler Kerbyson, who had a pancake block, to give him enough space to get started.

:44: No excuse for this one. The Gators bring pressure, Dobbs rolls to his left, finds the open Von Pearson on a nice route and Pearson simply drops it. Plays like these must be made if the passing game is going to progress.

:21: This is the first of a few questionable declined penalty decisions that Butch Jones made. The Gators get three yards, up to their own 9-yard line to set up 2nd-and-7. The Gators are called for a chop block behind the line of scrimmage and would’ve been moved back half the distance from the spot if the penalty were accepted. It looks like that would’ve put them around their own 2 or 3-yard line with approximately a 1st and 13, way backed up. And as the first quarter elapses, they would’ve been backed up close to Tennessee’s section of fans. Sure enough, the Gators get six yards the next play and two yards the next, getting a first down they may not have gotten otherwise. Obviously there’s the benefit of hindsight when evaluating that decision by Jones, but it appeared to be the wrong one there. 

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