ESPN's Low: Florida is most important game for Vols in over 10 years

ESPN.com college football writer Chris Low stopped by the WBIR studio to talk about the Tennessee-Florida matchup.

ESPN.com college football writer Chris Low joins WBIR's Patrick Murray to talk about the upcoming Florida vs. Tennessee matchup.

PM: The Vols were pretty sloppy against Ohio they committed 9 penalties for 94 yards, fumbled the ball 5 times even though they recovered all 5. Tennessee has got to be better against Florida, they can't be doing that, what are they going to be like?

CL: You know I think that's the problem with Tennessee and having been around this program for a long time, I looked at the roster in preseason and thought this is as good a roster as I've seen in over a decade, but you know Patrick if you dropped someone here from Mars on September 1st and all they knew about Tennessee is what they saw this season against pretty mediocre competition, you would think Tennessee was pretty mediocre.

Now maybe they'll step their game up, as they go up into competition their going to have to. They've been sloppy, they've had issues in the offensive line, and I'll give them this, they've been resilient, they haven't panicked when they've been down they've come back, but they're going to have to play a much cleaner football game, and be better on both lines of scrimmage if they're going to have a chance to navigate their way through this four game stretch. They clearly don't want to think about four games, they want to think about Florida, but you know, Butch Jones knows, the kids on that team know, what's coming these next four weeks.

PM: Talking about that four game stretch, we know the goal, the expectation for Tennessee is to win the SEC East. Now you've got Florida, at Georgia, at A&M, and Alabama all in a row. You're probably not going to win all four of those games, you can't go 0-4 you can't go 1-3, if Tennessee can find a way to go 2-2 in those games do you think that's enough to win the east?

CL: If it's the right 2-2, and that's why I think this game against Florida is as important a game, and I'm not putting it all on Butch, I think there is enough pressure on Butch Jones right now, its the most important game that this program has played in over 10 years, maybe since the 2001 Florida game down there if you just want to talk regular season games. Now they played in the SEC championship games in '01 and '04, its that big because I think if Tennessee can win this game, then I think there is a great chance that they can win two games of the four, and if they beat Florida and Georgia and have that East tiebreaker, regardless of what they do against A&M and Alabama, they are the leader in the clubhouse to win the east.

PM: Looking deeper into this match up, the thing that stands out, Tennessee struggling on the offensive line, Florida leads the nation in sacks with 16, leads the nation in a lot of other defensive categories, that Florida defensive front versus Tennessee's offensive line, what do the Vols do?

CL: Well lets be honest, lets be fair, I talked about Tennessee being mediocre earlier, Florida hasn't played anybody either, its not like they've gone out and played juggernauts the first three weeks. Their numbers on defense are great, but they haven't played anybody, this will be the best team they've played. Tennessee has got to run the football, they don't want to be in 3rd and long, mix it up, do what Josh Dobbs can do, getting him out on the run, and they probably had to run him more than they wanted to at this point, but that's when he is at his best, and get Jalen Hurd going, go back to last year's game, when they were pounding Florida, they got him going, I think get him going early, sort of get the Gators on their heels because you are not going to beat these guys throwing the football, they are just too good in the secondary.

 


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