KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Following a much needed bye week the Florida Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) will travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers (2-2, 0-1 SEC).
The Volunteers are coming off of a hard fought loss to Georgia last week and looking for their first conference win of the season as well as their first win over Florida in 10 tries. Neither team can win the SEC East this week but the loser of this game will certainly feel like the fifth wheel in the East.
You sent in your questions and now we’ve got answers. This mailbag comes to you from my hotel in Knoxville. I got up here a day early to take in the city and see the campus a little with this being my first time to the University of Tennessee.
Gatordon: If Jeff Driskel continues to struggle this week, how long will Will Muschamp wait before going to Treon Harris, if at all?
ND: Muschamp is sticking by Driskel through thick and thin. On the Gator hotline on Thursday night, Kurt Roper made it seem like the only way that Harris would get in is if something happened to Driskel.
If Florida loses this game their chances of winning the East are over, in my opinion. Does that mean you throw Harris against LSU next week at home? I would but it’s not my job on the line to make the call.
Gatordon: Do you believe this defensive line has the talent to succeed in the SEC?
ND: Yes. I actually think the line will be better this week. I’m not very high on Leon Orr as a player and think getting Jon Bullard more snaps inside will actually help the defensive line.
Gatordon: What personnel changes are we likely to see in the secondary?
ND: The Marcus Maye experiment at nickel is done. I think you’ll see Florida play a lot of nickel this week and that means Brian Poole is sliding back inside. Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson are battling for the starting job (and reps) on the other side of Vernon Hargreaves. I think we see less Jabari Gorman and more Duke Dawson at safety.
Gatordon: Who will play in Michael Taylor’s place if he can’t go?
ND: With Florida playing a lot of nickel the team will only need two linebackers for most of the day. It’s a three-man rotation of Antonio Morrison, Jarrad Davis and Neiron Ball. Alex Anzalone would be the next guy off of the bench.
Gatordon: Why can’t we hit the long pass?
ND: That’s on the quarterback.
Gatordon: Do you believe that Roper is completely in charge of the play calling?
ND: Yes. I think Muschamp may interject philosophically at times (like at the end of the first half against Alabama, but Muschamp isn’t calling x’s and o’s.
Gator_Nica: What are the Gators offense looking to exploit versus the Tenn defense? Do you see us running the ball more this week vs an inexperienced Tenn DL?
ND: I wrote earlier in the week that the Gators have the blueprint to beat Tennessee and it’s winning the running game. The last time someone won a game in this series and didn’t win the battle on the ground was 2002. I think you see Florida lean on the offensive line to neutralize the sold out Neyland crowd and to take advantage of the Tennessee defensive line.
TheGator: If we lose to UGA 4 years in a row, will Muschamp be fired?
Fdelat1: I think the D-line is key this game. UF has a big injury in this area. What’s the rotation this week?
ND: With Leon Orr out we’re going to see a lot more of Jonathan Bullard inside. That opens things up for players like Bryan Cox Jr., Joey Ivie and Gerald Willis. I’ve been very impressed with the way Joey Ivie has played this season.