The trash talking between Tennessee and Florida never ends. The two SEC East rivals are always good for a few verbal exchanges during the football season, and this year appears to be no different.
Florida senior linebacker David Reese II met with the Florida media on Wednesday to discuss the Gators’ victory over Miami two weeks ago and Florida’s upcoming match-up with UT-Martin. In Florida’s win over in-state foe Miami, the Gators’ defense racked up 10 total sacks due, in part, to the Hurricanes’ young and inexperienced offensive line.
Reese didn’t contribute any sacks during the game, but he watched his teammates consistently get in the backfield and harass Miami redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams. When asked if he felt bad for Williams or any other quarterback for what he and Florida’s defense has done in the past, Reese said no initially.
But when he paused to think about the question just a little longer, he ended up offering up an answer.
“Only quarterback I probably ever felt sorry for was last year at Tennessee because he looked like he had enough,” Reese said of Tennessee starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano.
Last season, Florida came into Neyland Stadium and trounced the Vols by a score of 47-21. Tennessee committed six turnovers in the match-up, and the Gators took advantage of the Vols’ numerous mistakes. Florida was up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter despite only totaling 56 yards of offense in the quarter. The Gators were gifted short field position on a fumble after Guarantano was blasted by a Florida defender deep in UT’s own territory, then Guarantano was picked off later and the interception was returned to the Tennessee seven-yard line.
The Gators were up 26-3 at halftime, and the game already felt over at that point.
Guarantano started against Florida that night, but he got knocked out of the game early. The then-redshirt sophomore exited the game briefly in the second quarter after a huge hit sidelined him temporarily, then he was held out the rest of the game after absorbing another huge blow in the third quarter.
While Florida was only credited with one sack and two quarterback hurries in the game, Guarantano was hit after he got rid of the ball multiple times, and he took some helmet-rattling shots.
As for this year, Tennessee’s offensive line woes don’t look much better than Miami’s. And that has to worry Vol fans for when the team travels down to Gainesville to take on the Gators.
Tennessee’s offensive line let up four sacks on Saturday against Sun Belt foe Georgia State. The Panthers pulled off the massive upset in the process, handing the Vols a 38-30 loss in Neyland Stadium to start the 2019 season.
Reese himself had a stellar game against the Vols last season, totaling 11 tackles, half a tackle for loss, and a fumble recovery. In his career against Tennessee, the senior linebacker has totaled 18 tackles, half a tackle for loss, an interception, and a fumble recovery in two games against the Vols.