Josh Heupel discusses the matchup of Tennessee's run defense vs. Florida's rushing offense
Tennessee (2-1) will open up its conference play against Florida (2-1) in Gainesville after a 56-0 win over Tennessee Tech at home, while the Gators are coming off of a very close 31-29 loss to Alabama.
Florida’s run game will be tough to stop for any time around the country. They just ran for 245 yards rushing against the Crimson Tide.
However, Tennessee’s defense so far has been pretty good against the run so far, even if they’ve only played one power five school in Pittsburgh. The Vols have allowed just 257 yards rushing so far on defense.
Heupel previewed the battle on the ground during a Thursday press conference.
“It starts with gap integrity, first of all — first, second, third levels all being in sync,” Heupel said. “That eliminates big plays. The ability for your front seven to change and distort the line of scrimmage, those are an absolutely critical goal. And you’ve seen certain personnel do a great job of that throughout the course of the first three weeks.”
Heupel also gave Florida a lot of praise about how they use the run game to their advantage.
“Really good. They’re big, strong, physical up front,” Heupel said. “It’s a quarterback run game. They have the ability to play 11-on-11 and make the numbers right. You’ve got to be disciplined with their power read, their speed option and all those ways that they force you to have a dive, quarterback and pitch player.”
The Vols will be seeking a rare win against the Gators, having only won against Florida twice since 2005. They’ll play Florida on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT.