John Adams: You've seen it before, but not like this

John Adams
Florida quarterback Ryan McGriff (19) kicks a field goal closing Tennessee's lead to 14-10 at the end of the second quarter at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Florida quarterback Ryan McGriff (19) kicks a field goal closing Tennessee's lead to 14-10 at the end of the second quarter at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Recap: Florida at Tennessee

Time-lapse video of Neyland Stadium during Vols' game

You have seen it all before, but you still couldn't see this coming.

Not after Tennessee bounced back with two touchdowns after spotting Florida a seven-point lead.

Not after UT's Rajion Neal rushed for 70 first-half yards.

Not after the Vols twice limited Florida to field goals inside the 10-yard line.

All those unexpected developments amounted to nothing more than a big tease Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.

The Gators surged. The Vols folded. The streak continued.

It's eight and counting now. And there's no end in sight after the underdog Gators scored 24 unanswered points in the last quarter and a half for a 37-20 victory.

Florida didn't just pull off an upset. It pulled a couple of new UT nemeses from its deep bag of tricks.

Meet sophomore Jeff Driskel, who answered in spectacular fashion all those quarterback questions that have been dogging the Gators since Tim Tebow departed.

And meet junior fullback Trey Burton, who looked as fast as former UT tormentors Percy Harvin and Brandon James as he outran Marsalis Teague down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown that tied the game at 20-all late in the third quarter.

Driskel completed 14 of 20 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 81 yards on eight carries, mostly when he scrambled out of the pocket against a defense that too often misjudged his speed.

The Vols couldn't get a bead on Burton, either.

He opened the scoring when he lined up at quarterback in the shotgun. When he faked an inside handoff, the entire UT defense quickly took off in the wrong direction. While the alleged ball-carrier headed right, Burton scooted left on a 14-yard touchdown run.

The Vols overcame that. They also overcame three penalties in four plays that threatened to sabotage a 16-play, 76-yard scoring drive.

But they couldn't overcome the Gators' big plays, which reached landslide proportions in the last 20 minutes.

First came Burton's 80-yard TD run. Next, there was a 43-yard run from Mike Gillislee, which led to a 23-yard touchdown pass from Driskel to Jordan Reed.

Later, Driskel teamed up with Frankie Hammond for a 75-yard touchdown pass-and-run. And finally, Gillislee tacked on a 33-yard run that set up a Caleb Sturgis field goal.

"There's no excuses," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "We didn't get it done. Give Florida the credit."

Mostly, give Florida credit for finishing what Tennessee started.

In so many of Florida's eight consecutive victories in the one-sided series, the talent disparity was apparent from the outset. Not this time. For almost three quarters, UT looked superior.

It mounted the kind of running game it has so often lacked in the seven games in the losing streak before Saturday, and made two goal-line stands that ended in Sturgis field goals. It blocked and tackled better. And when it extended its lead to 20-13 with a convincing 81-yard touchdown drive, it seemingly had the Gators' number for the first time since 2004 on the same field.

The Vols spent the rest of the game looking like the same team that lost seven games last season.

The defense missed tackles. Pass protection broke down. Justin Hunter dropped a crucial third-down pass with no Gators in the vicinity. Bray threw seven consecutive incomplete passes.

You have seen it all before.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284. Follow him on Twitter at johnadamskns.com

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Comments » 89

lomas98 writes:

Pretty accurate. Calling it now....FL over tn next year in swamp. Tell me why that I wrong.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Muschamp is 2-0 versus UT. Hate to pile on folks, but Driskel and these Gators will beat UT even worse next year, minus Bray, Hunter, et al.

He'd beat them with those guys, won't be close without them. Then again, it wasn't close tonight.

99gator writes:

never gets old

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

And Driskel will be going for 10-straight in Knxville as a senior. NEVER disrespect Florida before a game, and NEVER think what you do v. Cincinnati or NC State matters when the Gators come calling.

TrouserCough writes:

Two picks and they dropped three others. Driscoll is the better QB and he has played three games.

snowvol writes:

And I've read it all before... and once again, John is correct. I love the Vols, but am just tired of watching Florida make fools of them. Year after year, it's different versions of the same result. And when you need a big play, it's the blue and orange... never the orange and white. Time after time, it's Florida that seems to flip on a switch and say ".....Now."

Another mid-September loss to the Gators. Really, objectively speaking --- is there any reason to ever think this is going to change? You cold put (insert NFL team here) in Tennessee uniforms and they'd still figure out a way to lose to the Gators. Bill Belichek could coach the Vols and they'd still figure out a way to lose to the Gators.

6-6 seems about right. Maybe 7-5. We've become Kentucky in orange and white.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Y'all better learn to spell his name correctly because he's only a Sophomore, and he was the best QB on the field tonight.

It's DRISKEL!

AlWilsonFan writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Muschamp is 2-0 versus UT. Hate to pile on folks, but Driskel and these Gators will beat UT even worse next year, minus Bray, Hunter, et al.

He'd beat them with those guys, won't be close without them. Then again, it wasn't close tonight.

lol, you still think Bray is going pro? If there's anything good we (TN) can take away from this game it's that Bray and Hunter will be back next season.

AlWilsonFan

P.S. Props to CP, good luck in the NFL next year.

philgreen5#410561 writes:

This is getting old, stomped by the gators, sink in October and have to beat Vandy/Ky to make a bowl game that nobody cares about. It appears we are a mid-tier SEC program until we get a top tier coaching staff. Remember what the Tide went thru with Dubose and Shula.

kjav writes:

This will set back UT football back 3 more years. Can one think that somehow Dooley and staff will learn how to out coach anyone in the next 3 weeks. I see 4 guaranteed losses (GA, AL, MS, & SC), 3 guaranteed wins (AK, TR and KY) and 2 - 50/50 toss ups (MO and Vandy). If they split those, our record is 6-6 and we are looking for our next coach which will take 2-3 years to get their system and players installed. So, enjoy the beautiful fall east Tennessee and thank Hammy for having your Saturday’s free.

eduardo writes:

0-11 against ranked opponents, I think the coaching was graded a C it should have been an F!

arkyvol writes:

i'll admit that the n.c. state game surprised me. otherwise, this season looks like its going just about as i expected. i see three probable wins from here on out (akron, troy, and kentucky). to get to memphis, shreveport, or back to nashville, we've got to be very lucky.

VolzsFan writes:

Driskal was by far the best QB on the field. When you look at Bray vs. the better teams, he is horrible. That is not a pro for all of you knuckleheads that thought he was the best in America. What a joke. Bray is the downfall of Dooley. He is a loser unless he is playing a horrible team.

uncle_loue#473937 writes:

DeltaCharlie3: only thing worse than a sore loser is a classless winner. Enjoy the win on a Gators fan site. Football is cyclical. Florida was irrelevant for 96 years. Now they've experienced a revival. TN is down but they will be up again, then the cycle will repeat.

nocleats writes:

I do not want some other schools D or O Coordinator as our next head coach, I want a proven Head Coach who will recruit right to the razors edge of legal. I dont care if he is a good person, spits on sidewalks, cheats on his spouse, honks at old people, or makes babies cry for laughs.... Just get me a real coach who can get players. ( Note: Players dont have to be choirboys either, get the meanest nastiest best SOBs out there)

claiborneh writes:

They quit

agarn writes:

I've tried to be on the Dooley train for three years now. I'm tired if it. I hear Kirby Smart is available!

asm2008 writes:

Bray the punter > Bray the QB

Razor784 writes:

That new 3-4 defense, looked like the 3-s#*t defense in the second half, thanks a lot Sal Sunseri

cloudodust writes:

This loss reflects the depth that Tennessee has left to go to dig itself out of the Hammy years. For a half, the corner was turned then reality reared it's ugly head. Florida is not that good by SEC or national standards. Good enough, but not top SEC caliber. What does that say about Tennessee..? We've got a ways to go. Whether it's Dooley at the helm or not, the Volunteers must learn to finish. They allowed Florida to control the 2nd half and Florida controlled it without a fight, so congrats to them for not quitting like the other team appeared to do...as the Gunslinger said, 'and the world moves on...'

agohn writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

And Driskel will be going for 10-straight in Knxville as a senior. NEVER disrespect Florida before a game, and NEVER think what you do v. Cincinnati or NC State matters when the Gators come calling.

Oh no...you heard it folks "never disrespect Florida" or dbag will type something at you. Dude...why do you care so much, you dont play the game. It's not as if you were any Florida player out there. You're a fan as in fanatic. You seem to have no life or you just het off in going on a Tennessee fan board to harass and spread hate. Give it a rest, again...you weren't playing.

GVolsG writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

And Driskel will be going for 10-straight in Knxville as a senior. NEVER disrespect Florida before a game, and NEVER think what you do v. Cincinnati or NC State matters when the Gators come calling.

And never think that you have anything but a long way to go to catch up in all time wins, bowl wins, and national championships. Go back to your all boys dormitory and enjoy your bunkmate.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

I hear a lot of "I'm getting tired of this" but none of you offer up any idea on how to fix losing to Florida. It isn't rocket science.

Florida will always out-recruit UT. It's just the way of the world. So, you can't beat them by hiring a coach that is a good recruiter. It isn't going to happen.

The way for UT to beat UF and win in the SEC is simple. Get the best coach available. Dooley is NOT the best coach available...for anything.

UT is going to actually have to spend money if it wants to win (and when I typed that, an image of Dave Hart as Mr. Scrooge hiring Hugh Freeze ran through my imagination).

So what can UT's fans do? Probably not a lot. It's going to take the boosters and the big donors to right the ship and they are going to have to demand that UT's administration start treating football like the profit making enterprise it should be and actually spend money on talent.

cloudodust writes:

in response to Razor784:

That new 3-4 defense, looked like the 3-s#*t defense in the second half, thanks a lot Sal Sunseri

There is a learning curve to switching defenses. If smart, Tennessee got schooled tonight. Recruiting for the future in a 3-4 is key. I believe in the 3-4 as it is today but we only have 4, maybe 5 players that fit the scheme as of now. Our corners are refits but it's all we have. Things will get better IF we fill our needs...

BigVolFaninSC writes:

I can't believe some of these posts!...Was it bad coaching when we had the lead?,,,Florida has had top recruiting for years! The VOL'S PLAYERS made too many mistakes (Ints and drops) and then the D got tired and gave up big plays! Fla. has good players learning a new offense and they have improved every week! There should be NO RANKINGS until October!...There is still plenty of football to be played!...Stay the course!

ooltewahorange writes:

I want Lane back. We may be on probation but we would win.

mrvol2u writes:

And I hope never to see it again! If this is the best we have to offer, lets tear down the stadium, dismantle the A.D. department, and use the Vol Navy to invade Cuba.

Or we could just bite the bullet and hire new coach!

DennisVols writes:

It is time to accept the truth. I have said give Dooley time because I knew the mess he had on his hands when he took the job. Dooley has done a good job of recruiting and a good job of stabilizing a team that was a total wreck. That said I now believe that this is about as good as it will get under his leadership. Tonight one coach made the adjustments, the other was satisfied with how things were going. One coach wanted a win the other wanted to be competitive and failed.
If UT can be satisfied with being middle of the road, beating the likes of some ACC teams and teams like GA State to get enough wins to play in a also ran bowl game then they are heading in the right direction. If UT wants to end this streak and become a contender, not just competitive, then another coaching change has to be made. Maybe no one wanted to inherit the mess Dooley was willing to accept but that mess no longer exist. The team is back to full scholarship level and has a good talent base to work with. It is painful to watch other schools in this conference go out and make the right hire while UT has been willing to accept a hire. There is new AD now so no more Hamilton excuses for why UT cannot hire a premier coach to get this program back to being a contender.
Keeping it Real
GoVols!!!

frblalack writes:

Vols weak cornerbacks exposed...great receiving corps drops several crucial passes (CP, Justin, and Rivera)...and Tyler is off target in the 3rd & 4th quarter, partly because of a breakdown in pass protection and partly due to frustration. In our defense, FL was holding our receivers all nite. Early in the game CP was held for what would have been a sure touchdown & there was a no call. Anyway we were beaten by a talented team, but we should recognize the outstanding efforts of McCullars, Jacques Smith, and A.J.Johnson(1st Team All-American) and also another great game by Brent Brewer!

Weaknesses were blatant: the kicking game, and cornerback play. We have to have better play in these areas to compete in the SEC!

Just one game...but one can't help but be disappointed. At the end of the day I think the overall team speed, pathetic kicking game, and poor tackling in the secondary led to our demise.

Let's hope someone shows up that can punt & place kick with consistency, and perhaps get Brewer in the starting lineup. EVERYONE thought we'd turned the corner defensively; you're only as strong as your weakest link. And our corners were rather dismal.

Hoping for better times ahead! Go Big Orange!

ps..probably the last time I personally would ever wager a soda or anything else on the Vols. I would grade this game an F!

cloudodust writes:

in response to ooltewahorange:

I want Lane back. We may be on probation but we would win.

Like he did tonight..?

pms151 writes:

Quit looking through Orange Glasses guys. This is what happens when you hire s second tier coach. Orange pants are not enough.

VolinVirginia writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hmmm…..
What was Fulmer's record against Florida?
In the current streak of losses to the Gators, with which former coach do they start?
Do you REALLY think Fulmer is the answer?

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

I can't believe some of these posts!...Was it bad coaching when we had the lead?,,,Florida has had top recruiting for years! The VOL'S PLAYERS made too many mistakes (Ints and drops) and then the D got tired and gave up big plays! Fla. has good players learning a new offense and they have improved every week! There should be NO RANKINGS until October!...There is still plenty of football to be played!...Stay the course!

Best post i've heard all night! GO VOLS, win the rest!!!

snafu14u#241639 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Muschamp is 2-0 versus UT. Hate to pile on folks, but Driskel and these Gators will beat UT even worse next year, minus Bray, Hunter, et al.

He'd beat them with those guys, won't be close without them. Then again, it wasn't close tonight.

Don't think Bray will leave, he is not a first round NFL draft pick. You have to be a leader and show some maturity for The League to draft you. He might go if someone needs a passer. Hunter will go, your right on about that. BonzaiVol

bentley writes:

Call bobby petrino

TheFuj writes:

I wanted to believe. This was it. Three years of recruiting "his players". Coaching staff. Have the weapons and supposedly better depth.
Did not think we were going to be top 10 this year,nor dominate. Just 1-2 decent wins. Not asking even for a BCS bowl, just a decent bowl.

Dooley is not it. Good guy, but just not it.

If he is back, do you really think the top players will line up to come here. If not top players, do you think he "coachem up".

It will same ole same ole. Decent recruiting class. In the top 25, although that will make us 9 or 10th in the SEC. Do you really think we will go to FL, or AL and win next year? Beat GA? Beat Spurrier? Cannot wait until LSU is on our schedule again.

We are Ole Miss. High hopes. High expectations, but just losses. Although, we have twice the football budget as Ole Miss.

I wanted Dooley to succeed. Good guy, and good for our program--just cannot win.

bentley writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Don't think Bray will leave, he is not a first round NFL draft pick. You have to be a leader and show some maturity for The League to draft you. He might go if someone needs a passer. Hunter will go, your right on about that. BonzaiVol

Hunter not ready had a couple big drops

seofeed writes:

Pretty simple to me: 0-11 vs ranked teams

JimmyJoe writes:

We're just soft. From top to bottom.

Pompey writes:

....I can't see how Dooley over comes this...Dave Hart has no good choices ahead...a loss of historic significants...

Classof72 writes:

The program is not competitive at a championship level, and does not appear to be progressing towards competing at a championship level. The recruiting appears to have been inadequate for this purpose. There is a lack of depth of speed and athletic ability compared to championship contenders. It is significant that the Tennessee Vols cannot be relied upon to kick an extra point. Perhaps patience is required for recruiting to improve the squad. Perhaps the team is better than they showed, and will compete with GA, Bama or somebody that matters. Dooley appears to be running to form, and that is a matter of concern. Hart gets paid to consider this stuff and decide if Dooley needs more time, or is just wasting everyone's time. One hopes for the former, but suspects the latter.

UTistheOLEMISSoftheEAST writes:

in response to 99gator:

never gets old

Only better

EIGHT

onefaro writes:

Florida seems to have more depth than UT. I ws watching the game on TV and one announcer stated UF had started subbing their D-Line early
in order to be stronger in the fourth quarter. UT did well against the subs but later UF had the edge.

Two things: UF stronger and better conditioned plus more depth of good players. This will show in any game that has these factors.

GO VOLS!

kd45music writes:

Well, at least Dooley doesn't have a child molester on his staff. As far as the rest of this season goes, it's going to get ugly, really ugly.

sportsdoc2016 writes:

What do you expect when you hire a coach with a losing record at Louisiana Tech? That he is somehow going to get better in the SEC?

Mr. Hart, please send the search firm to talk to Petrino.

bigal728 writes:

in response to philgreen5#410561:

This is getting old, stomped by the gators, sink in October and have to beat Vandy/Ky to make a bowl game that nobody cares about. It appears we are a mid-tier SEC program until we get a top tier coaching staff. Remember what the Tide went thru with Dubose and Shula.

You are correct in the analogy with Bama and Shula. He was a nice guy but had no discipline on the team. Dooley seems to be a nice guy but he's in a no-win situation. The further you fall behind in recruiting, the longer it takes to compete.

redskinvol1 writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

I can't believe some of these posts!...Was it bad coaching when we had the lead?,,,Florida has had top recruiting for years! The VOL'S PLAYERS made too many mistakes (Ints and drops) and then the D got tired and gave up big plays! Fla. has good players learning a new offense and they have improved every week! There should be NO RANKINGS until October!...There is still plenty of football to be played!...Stay the course!

It was bad coaching that lost that lead,bc of noLEADership from Dooley.

redskinvol1 writes:

Pay Chucky whatever he wants.Gruden will bring recruits and wins.

knoxchatter writes:

Very dissappointing!! The real Bray came out second half...as soon as things went south...he started throwing in every direction BUT to his receivers. When the cameras zoomed in on him, he had a look of 'I'm done for the evening, just get me out of here!!' way before the game was over. He shut down and quit. This is not leadership from an SEC quarterback. On the flipside, Driskel gave 100% all night, even when things weren't going well for the gators at first. I realize this wasn't a battle between quaterbacks...but..we need one who stays committed all the time..not just when he is building equity in his statistics!

arkyvol writes:

said it before. mediocrity would be an achievement for dooley. he couldn't get there in the bush leagues. he sure as hell ain't gonna get there in the sec.

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