John Adams: For Florida, the stars don't align with results

John Adams
Florida running back Mike Gillislee (23) rushes for a touchdown as Texas A&M's Steven Jenkins (45) and Deshazor Everett, right, defend during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M begins a new era with its first Southeastern Conference game after leaving the Big 12 Conference. Florida beat Texas A&M 20-17. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Florida running back Mike Gillislee (23) rushes for a touchdown as Texas A&M's Steven Jenkins (45) and Deshazor Everett, right, defend during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M begins a new era with its first Southeastern Conference game after leaving the Big 12 Conference. Florida beat Texas A&M 20-17. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Derek Dooley explains making the switch at kicker

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Good thing for Tennessee that Saturday's game with Florida won't be determined by recruiting stars. The Vols wouldn't have a chance.

Never mind how fast the Gators have fallen from the top of college football. You couldn't tell it by the recruiting stars.

Based on all the four- and five-star recruits, this Florida roster isn't any different from the ones that produced national championships in 2006 and 2008. The recruiting and records have gone their separate ways, though.

The Gators went 8-5 in coach Urban Meyer's farewell season in 2010. A year later, they dropped to 7-6 in Will Muschamp's first season as a head coach.

In fact, they have dropped so far that their climb back to 18th in the latest Associated Press poll qualifies as progress for a program that not long ago would have been embarrassed at exclusion from the top 10.

Yet the recruiting reviews suggest Florida still should be slugging it out with Alabama and LSU at the top of the SEC. The Gators' current depth chart is just as appealing from a recruiting-service vantage point.

Their starting defense includes six five-star recruits when everyone is healthy (linebacker Jelani Jenkins and end Ronald Powell are both out for Saturday's game). Seven of the offensive starters had at least a four-star rating, and five-star offensive tackle Matt Patchan was a projected starter before suffering an injury in the preseason.

Although the Vols have upgraded their talent under coach Derek Dooley, they can't match Florida's recruiting stars. If you check their starters' recruiting resumes, they basically have a four-star defense and a three-star offense.

But that three-star of

fense is averaging 43 points and 541 yards through two games. And former three-star recruit Tyler Bray is throwing the ball as well as any five-star quarterback in college football.

Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was assigned five stars coming out of high school. But if this game turns into a passing competition between Driskel and Bray, UT fans will be celebrating afterward.

Despite its 2-0 start, Florida bears little resemblance to a star-studded team. It led Bowling Green by only three points after three quarters of the season opener and looked overmatched in the first half against Texas A&M before rallying for a 20-17 victory Saturday.

Moreover, if you compared highlight videos after two games, you never would guess that recruiting services gave the Gators an advantage in star power.

Bray's passing would get your attention first. Next, you might notice UT wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, a five-star recruit himself, who is way too fast and shifty for his size. And then, wide receiver Justin Hunter.

You want to see a star Gator? Then check out placekicker Caleb Sturgis on fourth down.

Tennessee fans can only hope this game doesn't come down to a kicking duel between Sturgis and the Vols' flavor of the week. But they shouldn't mind taking their chances with UT's three-star offense against Florida's five-star defense.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 78

tulelakevol writes:

Good one.

Dalton writes:

This STAR talk is hashed out in recruiting forums all year long...the gist of it is high schools don't always showcase their players abilities in some of the systems they play...Wing T is still a big player...Brett Favre played in a single wing..
Love him or hate him Steve Spurrier used to take lower rated recruits and make our Vols look silly..would be a neat trick for Dooley to return the favor these many years later

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Dalton:

This STAR talk is hashed out in recruiting forums all year long...the gist of it is high schools don't always showcase their players abilities in some of the systems they play...Wing T is still a big player...Brett Favre played in a single wing..
Love him or hate him Steve Spurrier used to take lower rated recruits and make our Vols look silly..would be a neat trick for Dooley to return the favor these many years later

Dayton. Dooley will do just that.
This team was absolute zero when dooley got here. What did he have, Two weeks to put together a staff and save what recruits he could. So that isn't a real year one, it is not even a wash, he was simply out of it. Look what he has really done, Scared the Poo out of LSU and a couple of others his first year. Had as many injuries as any team last year and they were to his top talent. Had a player that just quit and dragged down the team. Has taken three star recruits and made players out of them. All that and he finally got the chance to put together a real SEC coaching staff. Dooley belongs and I think he'll be round for a long time. I worry about Steve this year but I think he may have met his match with the calmness of Dooley.
Vols 41 Fl 17

farmdog (Inactive) writes:

"Press the kicking game - here is where the breaks are made." IMO this will be a tight ball game - Vols win 24-23. Young Brodus kicks the game-winning FG as time expires.

arkyvol writes:

in re stars

proverbs: the battle is not always to the strong nor the race to the swift.

vegas: but that's the way to bet.

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't hold your breath, troll. If you're old enough to dring, you'll be drinking yourself into oblivion Saturday night, trying to forget the beatdown your Gators suffered in Neyland.
Oh, and don't let the Gators #18 ranking go to your head. They've done nothing to earn it, and after Saturday, they'll be relegated to the "others receiving votes" category.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

Message = Muschump can't coach

sameolvolalum writes:

'Don't see UT losing.......just don't.

If it's got a "z" in it it's got an "x" from me. The same pertains to Richmond's jealous brother and the rest of the basement dwellers. Trolls create an unnecessary distraction to what's otherwise a semi-decent site of repartee among Vol fans. Almost as annoying is scrolling through the litany of mindless retorts from fellow UT fans. "Suggest Removal" is an easy task for anyone, and I don't know how many of these "requests" are necessary to have their drivel removed. We CAN get this poop removed, so let's talk sports.....not retorts. GBO!

troubleinc writes:

I'm a realist, but UT is gonna exorcise some Gator demons on Saturday. For once, Florida is going to be the over matched teams with no answers. Pandemonium Reigns again Vol fans. UT- 31 U of White Trash Fans- 17

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

How long is it since we were favored in this game? Every line I can find has the Vols either a 3 or 2 1/2 point favorite. I can't wait to see ProfessionallyHandicapped's prediction. How will he spin it? Will "the most feared service in Vegas" get it right? What will "college football's #1 service" have to say? What is the line in "the Most Famous Sports Gambler Daily?"

Hahahahahaha

Something tells me that loser will be to skeared to come on here and spout his nonsense this time.

123forVOLS writes:

Oh My Gosh, I'm seeing STARS and they are not on our side. I just hope to see POINTS on our side of the scoreboard come Saturday. Yeah it's great to have the big name players but in the end a team takes what they have and make the most of it. This Vol team has been making it pretty doggone good! GO VOLS stars or not!

Orange_Power_T writes:

What I really want to know is where are all the fair weather UT fans who just six months ago were calling for Dooley's head and saying he could not recruit? I said then and I say now, let the man recruit who he feels he needs to make this team work. He was bashed for grabbing JUCO's right and left, he was pummled for all of his three star recruiting and was awarded the Dufus Award for not being able to coach. No- these weren't TROLLS,they caled themselves the UT faithful...alumni. Here's the real tragedy, next year when Dooley recruits a few five stars, a handful of four stars and plenty of three stars, I'll bet anything I own that it will be more of the same complaining. Walt, BB and company- it's time to shut up!

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

Florida's QB is holding on to the football too long. He's getting sacked a lot. He's not even in Bray's class right now. I'm more worried about the Gator D and the speed in which they play. This ain't NC State (who just barely beat UCON last week by the way).

bljvol writes:

Only comment needed GO VOLS BEAT FLORIDUH regardless of by how much just win One Game At A TIME One First Down at a time GO VOLS

govolsn3 writes:

Guess who the better coach is?. COACH DOOLEY is getting more out of "3 star" players than Muschamp is with the "5 star elites". Guys we have a good coach and he is turning this thing around, just give him some time and a couple of more coaching changes and our time will come. DOOLEY will never when every game but he will bring this program back from the bottom of the barrel that it was left in. GO VOLS VFL

govolsn3 writes:

I need to proofread more often. LOL WIN not when. Just too excited about this week I guess.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Good article----If your a logical person then Stars should equal production unless the coaching is inferior. We will see Saturday. VOLS 24-21

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are joking--correct?????Watch out---this could be a blow out in favor of VOLS.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GreeneVol writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

Florida's QB is holding on to the football too long. He's getting sacked a lot. He's not even in Bray's class right now. I'm more worried about the Gator D and the speed in which they play. This ain't NC State (who just barely beat UCON last week by the way).

Good point, Barker. He will be reminded of that all week, and if we get good pressure on him, he might just try to force things a bit which could result in some INT's for the Big Orange. Wishful thinking I know...we'll see!

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

Florida's QB is holding on to the football too long. He's getting sacked a lot. He's not even in Bray's class right now. I'm more worried about the Gator D and the speed in which they play. This ain't NC State (who just barely beat UCON last week by the way).

Defensive players for FL --dropping like flies----they wont have a whole defense when they go to K-town---but it would not matter anyway.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!

jdcdjc writes:

I do not want a close game. I want UT by 2-3 touchdowns, we deserve this and it's gonna be soooo much fun Sat night.

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

Tennessee-38
Florida-20

allvol8 writes:

in response to govolsn3:

I need to proofread more often. LOL WIN not when. Just too excited about this week I guess.

Lol...no worries....I am excited as well...there is a different atmosphere with our team. GBO!

UTVOL2001 writes:

in response to LCPanthers:

Tennessee-38
Florida-20

I think this will be about right

TommyJack writes:

a fair piece, adams

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

We exorcised the ACC and Ga Dome demons, let's go for the trifecta and get this smelly lizard off our backs too on Saturday.

Concerns:

- uf always plays their best game against us, so we have to be ready and not look at what they did or did not do against TAM or BG.

- SC State sacked the GA State QB 5 times, we got him twice. The uf line is likely better than the GA State boys and yes I saw what TAM did, just don't count those sacks yet.

- Special Teams - be truly special this week. Please no uf TDs on punts/KOs or long retuns to flip the field.

- Our D held what was reported to be one of the best QBs in the Nation to 21 points, but uconn held him to 10, just sayin.

- O line, this is the week to make our mark in the running game. Blow open some holes, and RBs - no fumbles.

Not trying to be Debbie Downer, just believe the 41-14 projections are more hope than realistic.

Agree with earleir posters who say CDD gets more out ouf our players than muscrat is getting from his, and that may be our strongest advantage - coaching.

Go VOLS, squash these chameleons who are changing before our eyes from a former team of ability to SEC road kill.

And on this day, please remember all of those who lost their lives 11 years ago and all of those who have given their lives since then to protect us.

Bigger_Al writes:

You'd think Adams has been hired by "The Gainesville Sun" based on this piece.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

Message = Muschump can't coach

I think we are going to find out without doubt what kind of staff we have this weekend. We win and Dooley has taken 3-4 star talent to the limit and beaten the 4-5 star gators.

volinlm writes:

Well written article. Good luck to CDD and the Vols!

orangeJACKET writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

The first 2 games didn't mean squat. This is the game to determine how much improvement the Team has made. Florida has not impressed me, but I know they will be sky high coming into Knoxville. Still, if the VOLS can shot down the running lanes, I don't think this FL QB can beat them. He looks like a deer in the headlights. Vols defense looked really bad last week with the slant passes across the middle. I'm sure Coach Sal is addressing. GO VOLS!

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

in response to orangeJACKET:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree but wrong forum. This forum is to talk about Tennessee football. Not whether your kids are going to break their neck on the playground cause you are not watching them.

allvol8 writes:

May all the stars be seen by the Gators when the Vols put a hit on them!GBO!

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to orangeJACKET:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Off topic - really? What's next on here, hemorrhoid prevention, joining PETA?

UTKin1992 writes:

in response to Orange_Power_T:

What I really want to know is where are all the fair weather UT fans who just six months ago were calling for Dooley's head and saying he could not recruit? I said then and I say now, let the man recruit who he feels he needs to make this team work. He was bashed for grabbing JUCO's right and left, he was pummled for all of his three star recruiting and was awarded the Dufus Award for not being able to coach. No- these weren't TROLLS,they caled themselves the UT faithful...alumni. Here's the real tragedy, next year when Dooley recruits a few five stars, a handful of four stars and plenty of three stars, I'll bet anything I own that it will be more of the same complaining. Walt, BB and company- it's time to shut up!

I'm STILL not convinced of Dooleys coaching talents and won't be until I'm able to look at this season in review. If you know anything about his record - and I bet you do because you come off as a naive, easily excitable zealot - then you know he hasn't produced a single quality win...much less a season of quality wins. The jury is still out as far as I'm concerned.

Until then I'm a proud University of Tennessee alumnus and fan who will continue to suppport my alma mater!

rampsneggs writes:

For some reason this week I have been having images of such things as mullets, jorts, tube tops, aviator sunglasses, and 1980's model Z28's with after market hood scoops. Does anyone have any Emetrol?

oldbasshead writes:

I really hope that UT beats Fla Sat. The one thing that causes me to wonder if they will is that even over the last two years that Fl was only average, they beat UT soundly. What I am not convinced about is has UT closed or narrowed that gap? None of us will know the answer to that question until Saturday. Until then, I have an uneasy hope that UT will prevail.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

Florida's QB is holding on to the football too long. He's getting sacked a lot. He's not even in Bray's class right now. I'm more worried about the Gator D and the speed in which they play. This ain't NC State (who just barely beat UCON last week by the way).

I agree with much of what you said, but don't make too much of NC St's close win Saturday. The weather in all of the Northeast was extremely severe. The wind was gusting up to 50mph. Glennon completed only 50% of his passes, and I doubt anyone would say UCONN's defense is as good as the Vols'.

crappieking writes:

If we can overcome Dooley's coaching deficiencies, and a terrible kicking game, we should be alright Saturday night.

south_alabama_vol writes:

It just shows that "stars" don't mean a whole lot. It all comes down to who can coach and who can't. GO VOLS!!!

volprof80 writes:

I've been very impressed with the recruiting classes Dooley has put together. They of course aren't what they used to be, but they consistently rank in the top 20 in nearly all services. Getting quality recruits and putting together a top 20 recruiting class after having three losing seasons in four years is an impressive feat. A winning season this year will give us even more momentum on the recruiting trail

CoverOrange writes:

in response to oldbasshead:

I really hope that UT beats Fla Sat. The one thing that causes me to wonder if they will is that even over the last two years that Fl was only average, they beat UT soundly. What I am not convinced about is has UT closed or narrowed that gap? None of us will know the answer to that question until Saturday. Until then, I have an uneasy hope that UT will prevail.

Last year Florida was a good (not great) football team when UT visited them in Gainesville. After that they had several injuries to key players that made them average. This year, their injuries are before the game in Knoxville and UT is playing the way the were last year before injuries to Hunter and Bray. The table has turned. Main thing to worry about is presence of Lathers and Maggitt.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

Florida's QB is holding on to the football too long. He's getting sacked a lot. He's not even in Bray's class right now. I'm more worried about the Gator D and the speed in which they play. This ain't NC State (who just barely beat UCON last week by the way).

Bark
The NCS team you saw play Conn last week was not the same team that played the Vols two weeks ago. UT was one of, if not the biggest game of the season for NCS. St was not only down, but flat as H.. playing Conn. It happens to all teams, loose the big one and you loose a little P & vinegar for a game or two. The Vols sure weren't at the top of their game against GS either. This is the game that tells what the Vols are made of, I think they are good stuff and will shine.
Vols 10-2 +Bowl
Vols 41 Fl 17

VolinCalif writes:

in response to UTVOL2001:

I think this will be about right

No! No! We need to make a real statement this year. Whip them worse than we did NCS, and we could have easily scored 2-3 more TD's against ST.
Vols 41 Fl 17

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to crappieking:

If we can overcome Dooley's coaching deficiencies, and a terrible kicking game, we should be alright Saturday night.

And 6 more wins and you are gone for good: not just changing you name, if you are true to your word.

Vol43 writes:

in response to Bark_at_the_Moon:

The first 2 games didn't mean squat. This is the game to determine how much improvement the Team has made. Florida has not impressed me, but I know they will be sky high coming into Knoxville. Still, if the VOLS can shot down the running lanes, I don't think this FL QB can beat them. He looks like a deer in the headlights. Vols defense looked really bad last week with the slant passes across the middle. I'm sure Coach Sal is addressing. GO VOLS!

Didn't mean squat?? Really? That comment makes no sense to me. Didn't mean squat. Then why did we play 'em and why was I nervous ?

DonK37920 writes:

Kind of ironic! Muschamp turned down Tennessee and recommended Hamilton interview Dooley. Muschamp didn't like the state of the Tennessee program at the time and who could blame him. He didn't want to take on a rebuilding job because he had an easy job waiting for him in Texas(He was coach in waiting). Texas, Florida and USC are the 3 easiest jobs in CFB because they have an embarrassment of talent right in their backyard. No wonder he jumped at the UF job. Recruiting is easy at those schools. However, just like Mack Brown, Muschamp has so far proven to be an average coach at best.
Makes you wonder how legitimate all these stars and rankings etc... are? Seems like they are more to sell subscriptions and make money rather than provide an accurate rating of talent. And you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't have a good coaching staff it all goes to waste.

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to crappieking:

If we can overcome Dooley's coaching deficiencies, and a terrible kicking game, we should be alright Saturday night.

Also I think you didn't read the article before you went on your bashing of Coach Dooley.

It was about each coach and what they have to work with as far as ranked star players.

The Article even pointed out how several of our players who were 3 and 4 star players are playing like or better than 5 star players.

For your information making what you have better is called coaching.

crappieking writes:

in response to TheVolSnake:

Also I think you didn't read the article before you went on your bashing of Coach Dooley.

It was about each coach and what they have to work with as far as ranked star players.

The Article even pointed out how several of our players who were 3 and 4 star players are playing like or better than 5 star players.

For your information making what you have better is called coaching.

What are you going to give up VS, if 6 more wins is not obtained under Dooley?

Vol43 writes:

in response to crappieking:

What are you going to give up VS, if 6 more wins is not obtained under Dooley?

You're overlooking a very important point there ole buddy ole pal: the Snake is one of us. He' a Vol! Get it?

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