UF vs. UT — Today's storylines


Published: Friday, September 14, 2007 at 5:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 14, 2007 at 5:50 p.m.

GAME 3: No. 22 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Florida

LOCAL TV: CBS

LOCAL RADIO: 103.7 FM; AM-850

FAVORITE: Gators by 8

KEY STATS

Passing yards per game

Gators - 280.5 / Vols - 273.5

Total yards per game

Gators - 505.0 / Vols - 425.5

Points per game

Gators - 54.0 / Vols - 35.0

Passing yards allowed per game

Gators - 219.5 / Vols - 252.5

Total yards allowed per game

Gators - 270.0 / Vols - 412.5

SATURDAY'S STORYLINES

Tebow and the pass, Part II

Before the opener against Western Kentucky, everyone was wondering what kind of passer Tim Tebow would be, even though he threw for almost 10,000 yards in his high school career. Tebow answered with a 300-yard passing performance in his starting debut and followed with another strong showing against Troy. Now, the next step in his progression: can he have the same kind of success against a top SEC opponent? He'll be facing more pressure and faster athletes than he did in the first two games and he'll be missing a key component, senior wide receiver Andre Caldwell.

Taking aim at Ainge

The Gators have had a hard time generating a pass rush, especially from the inside. Today, the young defensive front will be facing a quarterback who excels in the short passing game and is hard to get a hand on, much less sack. The Gators might have to open their blitz playbook in an attempt to bump Erik Ainge out of his current comfort zone. If the Gators can't get to Ainge, the UF secondary is in for a long afternoon

Vols opening up or closing down?

Anyone who has watched the Gators play this season knows UF is susceptible against the pass. The Vols definitely have the type of passing game capable of causing problems for Florida. But in big games, UT coach Phillip Fulmer has a tendency to go conservative and try to control the ball with the running game. That might be the plan today, to try and keep the UF offense idle on the sideline by grinding out drives. Then again, Fulmer may decide to take advantage of UF's most obvious weakness and try chucking it all over The Swamp. If the Vols grab an early lead, expect the more conservative approach.

Breakin' bad with Brandon?

If his sprained ankle is OK (and the UF coaches say it is), kick returner Brandon James has to be looking forward to today's game and the matchup with Tennessee's cover teams. In last year's game, James had an electrifying 89-yard punt return for a touchdown called back by a blocking in the back penalty. Later in the first half, he came close to breaking another one, but had to settle for a 35-yard return when he was tripped (literally) by punter Britton Colquitt, the lone defender between James and the end zone. James will be looking for a crack or two in the UT cover teams today, and that's usually all he needs to break loose.

Hangin' with Harvin

The Tennessee defense expects to see plenty of Percy Harvin today. Harvin lined up wide. Harvin in the slot. Harvin at tailback. Harvin at quarterback. On a team that prides itself on its offensive weapons, Harvin is the primo playmaker when he's healthy. He was injured early in last year's game and was less than full speed for much of the remainder of the season. He's been battling tendinitis in his Achilles since the preseason, but Meyer says he's close to 100 percent. If he is, he's going to have the ball in his hands often, especially with the offense missing Andre Caldwell. Harvin could cause major headaches for a young UT secondary that has been struggling.

ROBBIE ANDREU'S 5 QUESTIONS

Check back on Saturday night for Andreu's Answers

1.Can the Gators get any pressure on quarterback Erik Ainge?

2.Will the young UF defense come of age or will inexperience remain evident?

3.With wide receiver Andre Caldwell out, will a go-to guy emerge or will Tim Tebow spread it around?

4.Can the Vols' young secondary prevent the big play in the UF passing game?

5.Will the Florida secondary pick off its first pass of the season or even come close?

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