2-minute drill: Gators must get pressure on Tennessee backfield
When you observe this year’s Tennessee football team, it’s easy to see they are much improved from last year’s squad.
The Vols’ most improved player though? Quarterback Justin Worley has certainly made his case for that distinction.
The senior quarterback has exploded in his final collegiate season. In just four games, he’s passed for 985 yards, nine touchdowns and only three interceptions. Not only is he on pace to have far and away a career season, but he could realistically surpass last year’s numbers later today against the Gators.
So for Florida, he’ll be a priority to stop this afternoon and they can do that by applying constant pressure on Worley. The Gators’ front seven has struggled to affect quarterbacks this season, recording an SEC-worst six sacks. However, today’s matchup is a huge advantage for Dante Fowler and company.
Tennessee’s offensive line return zero starters from last year’s team. Offensive lineman Jacob Gilliam suffered a season-ending injury early in the year, which further hurt a position group that was already very inexperienced and thin depth-wise.
Head coach Will Muschamp expressed earlier in the week how important it’ll be for his team to get some pressure on Worley today, especially with the secondary issues his team has had recently.
“Well, the best pass defense in America is a rush, so that’s something you like to have a lot better handle of, but I would put more of the onus on the secondary not playing well at times and being able to cover down in some situations,” Muschamp said. “I want to get some more rush at times, but we’ve had our opportunities and we need to play better in the secondary.”
There’s no question that the Gators must make Worley feel uncomfortale in the pocket. He now possesses an improved arm and higher confidence, which will be very dangerous to Florida’s defense if he’s able to take his time in the backfield. The last thing Florida needs is another poor performance out of the secondary.