Tennessee is just another game for Gators’ defensive back Tre’Vez Johnson

The Florida Gators will try to avoid an 0-2 start in SEC play when they travel to Knoxville and take on the Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday. 

It’s going to be a very difficult task, likely taking Florida’s best performance of the year to pull off the upset. 

Tennessee’s QB, Hendon Hooker, is off to a good start to the 2022 season. He’s completed 69.4% of his passes for 844 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions through three games. Hooker’s draft stock has risen significantly over the last few weeks. 

Tennessee is 3-0 to start the season, averaging 52 points per game. Gators’ defensive back Tre’Vez Johnson isn’t rattled by Tennessee’s hot start and up-tempo offense. 

“I don’t think I view it as a challenge,” Johnson said. “They got to come play us like we got to come play them. I love our secondary. We have a bunch of vets in the secondary. Even the younger guys, like they have experience. So I love us.”

 “It’s just another game, man. You can’t overthink it,” Johnson said. “You can’t make the moment too big. It’s an away game, so obviously it won’t — the crowd, the momentum, all that, it won’t be in our favor, but we’ve got to make it in our favor.”

Johnson was filled with confidence during Monday’s press conference, but he did recognize that Tennessee has speed and a good quarterback.  

“They’ve got a lot of speed over there. They’ve got some vets, veteran quarterback, good veteran quarterback. It will be a good game,” Johnson said. 

Johnson doesn’t get caught up in all the hype around the football game. Johnson said it’s a big game for both teams. 

“It’s the first away game, road game, SEC, GameDay, like it’s a big game for everybody,” Johnson said. “Can’t make the moment too big. We’ve still got to go out there and play.”

Johnson doesn’t see Tennessee as a rivalry, just another game the Gators need to win. 

“I don’t really look into it as a rivalry. For me, it’s another big game, a game we have to win, just like the next week after that, a game we have to win,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I want to make the moment too much bigger than what it is. At the end of the day, we’ve got to go out and put the ball down.”

Head coach Billy Napier doesn’t get caught up in the hype of the game either. It’s another football game for the Florida Gators. 

“It’s not like we’re going to Canada and they’re going to change the rules,” Napier said. “It’s going to be the same game. It’s going to be a little louder and played at a different location.”

Johnson said the Gators need to communicate better on the defensive side of the ball. Johnson said it will be a lot easier for the defense to communicate on the road. There’s not going to be 90 thousand screaming Gator fans when the Gators take the field defensively, so they should have an easier time communicating. 

“They want their offense to be able to communicate,” Johnson said.” So that will make it easier for us.”

“We’ve got to communicate better, communicate faster,” Johnson said. “Especially on the defensive side, we’ve got a lot of vets that have played these guys a couple years in a row. We know what to expect. We’re not overwhelmed. We understand how the game’s going to go.”

The absence of Ventrell Miller hurt the Gators last weekend. Not only is he a big-time playmaker, but he’s the leader on the defense. Shemar James and Scooby Williams stepped up to the plate last week, they will need to improve this Saturday. 

“They did a good job this Saturday stepping up,” Johnson said. “I’m proud of those guys, especially the two young guys coming in and trying to fill big roles behind Ventrell. So I was proud of them two.”

Johnson and the Gators aren’t scared of the spotlight. This is just another football game that they need to win. The defense is going to have to play better in order to give the Gators a shot at winning this game, and that starts with communication. Too many plays last week were given up due to a lack of communication, especially with the front seven.

Tennessee is going to score points, there’s no denying that. However, the Gators’ defense is tasked with stopping this game from turning into a shootout and giving the Gators’ offense a chance to win this game. 


Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.