KNOXVILLE – For the Tennessee Volunteers, it hasn’t been the kind of smooth transition they were hoping for going from Hendon Hooker to Joe Milton at quarterback.
Not yet anyway.
Yes, UT is 2 and 0 and ranked 11th in the country heading to the Swamp to take on the Florida Gators. But Milton is still missing some throws and of his 42 completions this year, 28 have come at or behind the line of scrimmage. Only two… traveling more than 15 yards down the field, though there have been a number of drops.
So it’s a good thing that the other side of the football, that Tennessee defense, continues to impress.
The Vols lead the country in sacks with 11. They are second in the country in tackles for loss with 25.
“When you play on the other side of the line of scrimmage, it allows good things to happen. So that’s just something that we really just bought into,” said Vols defensive tackle and Memphian Omari Thomas. “And we’re having fun. So you go out there when you’re having fun and playing for the people that are next to you, you feel like you can do anything.”
“We just want to be more aggressive. We want to be able to play in a backfield, be able to fly around to the ball, play with our hair like it’s on fire,” said Vols linebacker Elijah Herring. “Just everybody swarm. 11 hats to the ball. Go back to the old Tennessee days, how they would just swarm to the ball.”
This Tennessee team is trying to do something those old Vols teams couldn’t. At least not since 2003 and that is win in Gainesville.
Kickoff between the Gators and Volunteers set for primetime, six o’clock on Saturday night.