KNOXVILLE TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Coach Derek Dooley of the Tennessee Volunteers watches his team in action against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium on September 18 2010 in Knoxville Tennessee. Florida won 31-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Best hit. Chris Walker, on the opening kickoff, who nearly decapitated the poor Gator kickoff returner.
Best play, offense. Matt Simms's roll out TD to Denarius Moore, with Zach Rogers drawing the double team from the safety. The play tied the game at 10, and the momentum was decidedly in Tennessee's favor. Honorable mention: Simms's X-yard toss to Luke Stocker on 3rd and 20 following Johnson's fumble recovery with the game threatening to get away from them. The play made it what Dooley calls, "Fourth and makeable," and on the next play, Florida's defense completely broke down and left Justin Hunter alone in the end zone for another Tennessee score, which brought the Vols to within seven points of Florida again.
Best play, special teams. Tie: Daniel Lincoln's 49-yard field goal that sliced right and then hooked left and eventually snuck between the uprights to put the Vols up on the Gators early, 3-0, and Chad Cunningham's 41-yard punt that was muffed by Florida's Janoris Jenkins due to Eric Gordon's distracting him and recovered by Nick Reveiz.
Best play, defense. Austin Johnson's fabulous pocket-picking of Florida's Jeff Demps. Is this guy becoming our best defensive player, or what? In three games, the man's had a forced fumble, an interception, and one (and almost another) safety.
Worst start, I. Tennessee's first drive, which commenced on its own nine yard line.
Worst start, II. Tennessee's second drive, which commenced on its own one yard line.
Best idea that didn't work. The Vols' opening attempt to throw a bomb to Denarius Moore. He was open, but on that side of the field, the sun was in his eyes, and he and Simms couldn't hook up.
Worst play, offense. Matt Simms's interception in the end zone in the second quarter. A TD there would have put the Vols up 10-7. A field goal would have made it a one point game.
Worst play, defense. Florida's TD pass midway through the third quarter, essentially the same play that Matt Simms had thrown the interception on, except our defenders double-covered the wrong guy, so the intended receiver was wide open.
Best quote. Derek Dooley, who said of Jeff Demps that he "can take the top off your coverage as quick as anybody I've ever seen."
Worst play, special teams. Florida's fake punt, which turned a fantastic stop by the defense midway through the third quarter with the scored tied 10-10 into a tackling debacle and eventually a 17-10 Florida lead. UT threw an interception on its next drive, Florida extended its lead to two TDs, and the Vols, although they made a game of it, never really recovered.
Worst omen. On their 1st drive, Tennessee had forced Florida into a 3rd and 15 and then allowed them sixteen yards on the play for a first down. They'd do some variation of that 8 of 14 times during the game.
Worst tweak. The day-after coaching show, which now excludes many of the plays of the game, including some that are actually important. Credit Dooley for criticizing even that, saying, "Heh, you skipped the most important part of the game right here. We didn't stop 'em." He was talking about Florida's final score.
Biggest surprise. I almost skipped the segment of the Derek Dooley Show featuring a conversation with defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph. He's a really likeable and eloquent guy who not only says all of the right things, says them in a way that makes you believe it's not just talk.
Worst audio irritant. The television announcers, who proved that it wasn't just the presence of Tim Tebow that has been grating on Vol fans' nerves the past four years. Verne Lundquist made some joke about his math being true "even in Tennessee," and often screwed up the call, including once referring to Matt Simms as "Ainge." Or maybe it was "Aimes." Gary Danielson got into the act as well, saying about Knoxville that, "It's a great setting, I'll give it that." You know, like it's the only thing.
That's all I have. What do y'all got?