Tennessee Volunteers Vs. Florida Gators: Game Preview And Stat Comparison

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons.

CAVEATS: Same as last week, with some marginal improvement: We now have two weeks' worth of data, but conclusions based on that data should still be viewed through your commercial grade Sketchy Spectacles. Cool? Cool.

As always, this is a long post, so I've put the conclusions and predictions before and after the meat. You're not seeing double.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Florida has struggled against mediocre competition so far this season and has won largely due to the defense's ability to generate turnovers.
  • This is most definitely not Your Tim Tebow's offense. The Gators have put together only two long drives for TDs in two games, and both of them were due to huge plays by Jeff Demps (a 72-yarder and a 62-yarder). They're in the bottom fourth in the nation in total offense, and they've done it against Miami (OH) and South Florida.
  • The defense is much better than the offense, but so far they look a bit vulnerable in the rushing game and have not been able to generate pressure in the backfield. In the passing game, they appear to be gamblers, as they give up a fair amount of yards, but produce interceptions like they're Silly Bandz.
  • On special teams, Florida's very good in kickoff returns and pretty good in punt returns. Those numbers will no doubt improve after having the fortune of playing our ST units this week.
  • QB John Brantley does not appear to be a threat to run the ball, nor does he have a particularly good pass efficiency. Jeff Demps, on the other hand, is awesome and therefore must be contained. On option reads, defenders should just key on stopping Demps and make Brantley beat them.
  • Despite Tennessee's offensive woes, it has a very good rushing offense after two games. Florida is not particularly good at stopping the run. Matt Simms is not particularly effective in the passing game, and the Gators are exceptional at intercepting passes. So . . . expect the Vols to run Tauren Poole and Oku over and over and over again, and expect Florida to sell out to stop the run. What happens after that adjustment may decide the game.
  • It's possible that Tennessee could outgain Florida in yards and lose due to turnovers and special teams.

Predictions

  • Florida 28, Tennessee 17.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Florida Logo
Miami (OH) RedHawks 9/4/10 win 34 - 12 coverage
South Florida Bulls 9/11/10 win 38 - 14 coverage

 

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Not exactly what you're used to seeing from an Urban Meyer-coached Florida team. Two fumbles to begin the season? A mere 34 points against The Other Miami? What would the score have been if the defense hadn't gotten four interceptions? Seriously, the Gators' offense had 212 yards of total offense, eight -- eight -- fumbles, and only one long drive, which featured a 72-yard run by Jeff Demps. An offensive fluke, right? Not necessarily.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Wow. Again, the offense didn't get on track until the defense, which had another four interceptions this week, started forcing turnovers. With the exception of one drive, Florida didn't score unless it had great starting field position and even then, they needed a 62-yard play by Jeff Demps. Still, you have to respect that defense and it's ability to take the ball away.

National Unit Rankings

Now on to the national rankings.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Offense 50 175.00 Air Force 423.00 7 Auburn 278.50
Passing Offense 104 142.50 North Carolina 412.00 11 Arkansas 361.50
Total Offense 92 317.50 Nevada 592.00 10 Arkansas 509.00
Scoring Offense T-33 36.00 Houston 61.00 4 Kentucky 43.00
Passing Efficiency 69 128.82 Fresno St. 208.12 9 Mississippi 195.70
Sacks Allowed T-10 .50 Penn St. .00 1 Kentucky .50

Offensive observations. Hoo-wee, look at that. One of the worst passing offenses in the nation. Middle-of-the-road rushing offense. Bottom fourth in total offense. And all of this against Miami of Ohio and South Florida.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Defense 57 124.00 Kent St. 11.00 9 LSU 44.50
Pass Efficiency Defense 2 63.79 Maryland 50.42 1 Florida 63.79
Total Defense 28 271.00 California 160.00 4 Arkansas 187.50
Scoring Defense 22 13.00 Alabama 3.00 6 Alabama 3.00
Pass Defense 28 147.00 Navy 23.50 6 Arkansas 90.00
Sacks T-73 1.50 Fresno St. 8.00 9 LSU 5.00
Tackles For Loss T-51 6.00 Miami (FL) 12.50 8 LSU 10.50

Defensive observations. Well that's more like it. 28th in total defense, but what's this? Merely average against the run? And little ability to wreak havoc in the opponent's backfield? One word of caution: DON'T PASS! Okay, two words and an exclamation point.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Net Punting 32 40.00 Eastern Mich. 47.40 2 South Carolina 40.20
Punt Returns 47 9.40 Oregon 43.60 5 LSU 24.43
Kickoff Returns 11 32.00 Central Mich. 35.75 1 Florida 32.00
Turnover Margin 2 3.00 Ohio St. 3.50 1 Florida 3.00

Special teams and turnovers observations. Wait, the Gators have forced nine turnovers and are only second in the nation in turnover margin? Oh, right. They lost three of their eleventy-seven fumbled snaps. Considering that, hmm, well, that's pretty scary, actually. Maybe they've used up their entire season's ration?

I expected the Gators to have already shown to be better at punt returns. Well, they just need to play us to improve that number. /glare They're good at kickoff returns, too, so watch out for that.

Stastical Comparison

Hooper says we're a week away from even being able to look at the results of the RTT computer, so . . . we're waiting.

Players to watch for

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
Rushing Jeff Demps 18 118.50
Mike Gillislee 42.00
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) John Brantley 66 128.82
Total Offense John Brantley 130.00
Jeff Demps 118.50
Receptions Per Game Deonte Thompson T-82 4.50
Chris Rainey 3.00
Jeff Demps 2.50
Omarius Hines 2.50
Carl Moore 2.50
Receiving Yards Per Game Deonte Thompson 53.50
Interceptions Ahmad Black T-1 1.50
Janoris Jenkins T-3 1.00
Jonathan Bostic T-26 .50
Jeremy Brown T-26 .50
Justin Trattou T-26 .50
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game)
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Chris Rainey 59 5.67
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Jeff Demps 6 37.75
Field Goals Caleb Sturgis T-77 .50
Scoring Caleb Sturgis 6.00
Jeff Demps 6.00
All-Purpose Runners Jeff Demps 9 206.50
Mike Gillislee 74.50
Sacks Jaye Howard T-26 1.00
Janoris Jenkins T-78 .50
Tackles Ahmad Black T-35 10.00
Tackles For Loss Jaye Howard T-94 1.25
Janoris Jenkins 1.00

Observations

Running backs. Jeff Demps is apparently the fastest man in college football, and he's apparently the main guy on offense we need to stop. Don't let him get in space. In fact, don't let him get started. If he's faster than those Oregon guys, watch out.

Quarterback. John Brantley is ranked only 66th in passing efficiency. It's not like we wouldn't take a 128.82 rating, but neither is it Tebow-esque. (Yes, Tebow finished the season with the nation's best passing efficiency last year.) Just as important is what you don't see: No national ranking for the QB in the rushing category. Key on Demps on every option read. If they're still doing that kind of thing. ;-)

Receivers/Tight Ends. Only Deonte Thompson is currently ranked in receptions per game, and he's only 82nd. He's the team's leader in receiving yards per game, too, but he's not nationally ranked in that cateogory. Chris Rainey looks to be the second-best option at receiver for Florida.

Defense. Oh, my. Two guys in the top three and five in the top 26 in the nation in interceptions? Don't throw the ball. Please don't throw the ball. Ahmad Black and Janoris Jenkins are ball hawk machines. Black is also the team's leading tackler, so let's just stay far away from him, shall we? The good news is that after two weeks no one really poses a huge threat to tackle the QB or anyone else behind the line of scrimmage. Jaye Howard has had the most success so far.

Special teams. Did Brandon James finally graduate? Well, this season, the role of James will be played by Jeff Demps, as he's not only the team's primary threat at running back, he's returning kickoffs and doing a fine job of it so far, earning himself a national ranking of 6th in the process. Chris Rainey's returning punts, and although he's not had great success so far, well, he's returning punts in a Florida uniform against Tennessee, which should make Vol fans across the earth shudder. Or shiver. Whichever you prefer. Or don't prefer. Whatever.

Head to Head Comparisons

  Tennessee Logo Florida Logo
Best Comparable
Result Against Best Comparable
Prediction
UT rush v. Florida rush defense

257
(#15)

124
(#57)
Oregon
(104)
(#43)
182
200
UT pass v. Florida pass defense 178
(#88)
147
(#28)
Oregon
(117)
(#15)
151
170
Florida rush v. UT rush defense 151
(#76)
175
(#50)
Oregon
(307)
(#5)
245
170
Florida pass v. UT pass defense 144
(#25)
143
(#104)
Oregon
(277)
(#27)
202
160
UT scoring offense v. Florida scoring defense 32
(T#50)
13
(#22)
Oregon
(13)
(#6)
13
17
Florida scoring offense v. UT scoring defense 24
(#69)
36
(T#33)
Oregon
(60)
(#2)
48
28

Even when we have a full season of data, this section will include the caveat that these are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations. The general analytical framework is this: We accomplished X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game.

This week's example: We're averaging 257 yards on the ground. Florida, on average, is giving up 124. Of our previous opponent's, Florida's rush defense most closely resembles Oregon's (UT Martin doesn't count), and against Oregon, we managed 182. Oregon appears to be a bit better at Florida at stopping the run, so maybe we should expect a few more rushing yards than we managed against the Ducks, so let's call it 200 yards rushing for this game.

The odd thing here is that I'm guessing we'll outgain Florida both on the ground and through the air (sketchy, see the next two sentences), but that the Gators will win on points. What's missing from the chart is turnovers, special teams, and pass efficiency. Florida's pass efficiency is much, much better than its pass defense, and I would not be at all shocked if Matt Simms gives up a couple of interceptions and the team gives up a special teams TD.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Florida has struggled against mediocre competition so far this season and has won largely due to the defense's ability to generate turnovers.
  • This is most definitely not Your Tim Tebow's offense. The Gators have put together only two long drives for TDs in two games, and both of them were due to huge plays by Jeff Demps (a 72-yarder and a 62-yarder). They're in the bottom fourth in the nation in total offense, and they've done it against Miami (OH) and South Florida.
  • The defense is much better than the offense, but so far they look a bit vulnerable in the rushing game and have not been able to generate pressure in the backfield. In the passing game, they appear to be gamblers, as they give up a fair amount of yards, but produce interceptions like they're Silly Bandz.
  • On special teams, Florida's very good in kickoff returns and pretty good in punt returns. Those numbers will no doubt improve after having the fortune of playing our ST units this week.
  • QB John Brantley does not appear to be a threat to run the ball, nor does he have a particularly good pass efficiency. Jeff Demps, on the other hand, is awesome and therefore must be contained. On option reads, defenders should just key on stopping Demps and make Brantley beat them.
  • Despite Tennessee's offensive woes, it has a very good rushing offense after two games. Florida is not particularly good at stopping the run. Matt Simms is not particularly effective in the passing game, and the Gators are exceptional at intercepting passes. So . . . expect the Vols to run Tauren Poole and Oku over and over and over again, and expect Florida to sell out to stop the run. What happens after that adjustment may decide the game.
  • It's possible that Tennessee could outgain Florida in yards and lose due to turnovers and special teams.

Predictions

  • Florida 28, Tennessee 17.
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