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UT-Florida Film Study: A Tale of Two Halves

Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI
Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

A second look at some big moments the Tennessee-Florida game:

Here are a few plays that demonstrate some of the differences in the first and second halves in the Tennessee-Florida game.

1. Pressure makes the difference

When asked about the difference in the first and second halves defensively, Butch Jones was quick to mention the way the Vols got to the quarterback in the second half. Here’s a great example of the difference:

The focus is on Justin Martin getting toasted here, which did happen, but UT also gave Appleby all the time in the world on this play. I counted about 3.7 seconds unhindered in the pocket, and look how much space he has to make this throw even after that amount of time:


We’ve had a few people ask why Florida went away from the deep ball in the second half. Some of that was being backed up in terms of field position, but I think pressure is the most accurate answer. I mentioned that Appleby almost had over three full seconds and a clean pocket in his early long ball to Callaway. Juxtapose that with what happens here in the second half…he simply doesn’t have a chance as Barnett makes contact in what I clocked at 1.92 seconds from the snap:

2. Execution makes the difference

Mike DeBord and Butch Jones took some heat for their play calling inside the 5 in the first quarter when the Vols didn’t get any points early. And I get it to an extent. You have a 240-pound tank at running back – line him up behind some lead blockers and let him do his thing. But I also think you have to acknowledge that it would be a moot point with some better execution. Here’s the perfect example:

Hard to ask for much more from this play. DeBord gets his 6-foot-5, 246-pound tight end in space with man coverage against Florida DB Marcell Harris (6-1, 211). The throw is there, that’s a touchdown 9/10 times, but Croom simply can’t make the catch.

Fast-forward to the second half. Another nice design by DeBord to start Josh Malone in the backfield, motion him out to get a free release and a good angle. Good throw by Dobbs again, but this time the receiver, Malone in this case, makes the catch and then it’s just speed and talent from there to give the Vols the 10-point edge in the fourth.

3. Capitalizing makes the difference 

It was Florida that capitalized on Tennessee errors early in the game. Justin Martin’s personal foul on the opening kickoff gave the Gators good field position to setup that deep ball to Callaway we highlighted earlier. Tennessee was out of position and over-aggressive defensively a couple times and the Gators capitalized.

The Vols flipped that script in the second half. Whether it be Todd Kelly Jr. capitalizing on the pressure and the bad throw by Appleby here:

Jauan Jennings forcing Jalen Tabor to slip here and then making a play:

Or DeBord dialing up another nice play and Dobbs hitting a wide-open Jalen Hurd out of the backfield in stride:

Tennessee made some of its own breaks in the second half and took advantage of some Florida mistakes as well. Butch Jones always says that the game comes down to a handful of plays, so while UT came up short in that area early, the Vols made more than enough in the second half to get the win and break the streak.

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