Florida’s Head Coach Billy Napier, RB Trevor Etienne, DL Jamari Lyons, and LB Scooby Williams spoke to the media on Wednesday prior to the Gators’ week three matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday night.
Gator Country provides you with everything the Gators had to say about No.11 Tennessee.
Q: On Tennessee’s defensive front:
“I think they’ve done a good job. I think, ultimately, big, long twitchy, inside powerful, on the edge, they’ve created issues. They’ve got several edge players that I think are significant and can create issues for you. And I think that ultimately time will tell but, certainly, it’s SEC play. It’s Eastern Division and it’s a top-25 opponent. It’s what you’d expect. I think they are exactly what you’d expect from an SEC opponent up front.”
Q: On having to play more man coverage against a team like Tennessee:
“I think they’re very systematic in their approach with the run perimeter attacks. I think they do a good job. They put you where you have to decide what you want to do. I have a ton of respect for the way they play. I think in particular systematically they’re tough. They do a good job up front. They run the ball. These guys rush the ball. I think their offensive line coach does a good job. I think they’re effective. They have depth at running back. The element of the quarterback ultimately adds to that. You pair that with the perimeter attacks and the vertical passing game they can present some issues to you.”
Q: On whether or not Tennessee can lull opponents to sleep with passes to the perimeter before striking over the middle:
“It’s part of what they do. I think ultimately they’re going to take their shots. Football nowadays even the way we play sometimes the defense is giving you the perimeter stuff and you take that. The fan sees it as a throw to the perimeter, but ultimately that was a running play. We just picked where the numbers were at. They’re no different. I think they’re two games in and their quarterback has done a good job of distributing the ball. Sometimes that includes handing it off.”
Q: On how they’ve adapted to their personnel:
“They do a good job featuring the skill that they have. Ultimately Josh has done a good job. You go back to UCF when he started this approach. I think every team is about taking the players that you have that year and trying the formations, concepts and distributing the ball to your best skill players.”
Q: How important will pass protection be in Tennessee game?
“Very important this is a very physical team we’re playing, and when it comes down to it who is going to be the most physical for four quarters straight so as long as I’m where I’m at, when I’m supposed to be there, that gives us an advantage as a team.”
Q: What have you seen from Tennessee’s front, edge rushers?
“Like I said they’re very physical so coming into the game we know we’re going to have to play hard, and it’s a big rivalry game, so we know, we’re expecting their best, and they’re going to get ours,”
Q: What is the focus going into the Tennessee vs Florida matchup?
“Our focus has been right on. We’ve been mainly focused on the goals, just winning this game, we’ve been focused on our job and how we’re supposed to execute it. So I see that the players are locked in. They’re not playing around. [inaudible] We get into meetings on time. We’ve got our notebooks in our hands. We listen to Coach Napier, Coach Armstrong. We’re just locked in.”
Q: How important is it for you and the rest of the defensive line to keep your energy to keep up with Tennessee who runs a fast tempo?
“It’s very important. They run tempo as we know. So it’s important for us to get back to the ball, find the ball carrier, find the center, wherever to line, just to get back to the line and be ready.”
Q: What do you see from Tennessee’s offense?
“High paced. They’re going to try to beat you to the ball and I feel like that’s where most of their explosives come from, not being set, not communicating. I feel like in order to beat a team like Tennessee you’ve gotta communicate, you’ve gotta execute.”
Q: Challenge if Joe Milton gets loose?
“Stopping the explosives. If you can stop the explosives that’s a good thing to do.”
Q: Is he a challenge to contain?
“I feel like every player in the SEC is a challenge to contain.”
Q: On Tennessee offense, what would it mean to shut them down?
“For us it’s more of a statement game, like the last two weeks wasn’t a fluke. I feel like we’ve been putting the work in. Armstrong is a great coach and he’s always going to put us in the right place at the right time. We’ve gotta go out there and execute, make the plays that we’re supposed to make and we’ll be fine.”
Q: How much of an edge does this defense have going into the rivalry game vs. Tennessee?
“Y’all know B Spikes is back, right? Every day in practice he’s just yelling and yelling beat Tennessee, beat Tennessee. So, we got a chip on our shoulder, mainly because of B Spikes putting the bug in our ear. Oh, and this offseason, we did a whole thing about rivalries and Tennessee was one of those rivalries. Just knowing that you’re not only not only playing for the name on your back, but the name on the front of your jersey. The Gators. It’s not about us. It’s about the people who came before us and all the great role models and all the great players who came before us and just continuing that legacy. I feel like that’s the biggest challenge for us.”
Q: How do you feel about Tennessee?
“I’m not too high on Tennessee myself.”