Vols D in better shape since facing Florida in '07 Print
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Tuesday, 16 September 2008 14:03
NCAAF Headline News

 KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Florida piled up 59 points on Tennessee last season. Defensive coordinator John Chavis isn't making any promises about an improved performance against the Gators on Saturday.
``There's no guarantees it won't happen again like that,'' Chavis said. ``If we knew those things we'd just go cut bait and go fishing and go do something else,''
One thing's for sure. The Vols (1-1) are in a much better position to defend No. 4 Florida (2-0) than they were a season ago.
Plagued with injuries in the secondary and inexperience at the line, the Tennessee defense gave up one big play after another at Florida in 2007.
Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon James combined for more than 600 all-purpose yards. The defense couldn't get off the field in the third quarter and ended up playing 10 minutes longer than the offense.
ell down the stretch.''
A healthy, more experienced defense has seen fewer problems so far this season, save two bad drives in the Vols' 27-24 loss at UCLA. Tennessee limited the Bruins to 29 yards on the ground and had four interceptions.
After falling victim to Florida's spread offense last season, the Vols controlled a similar scheme from UAB and kept the Blazers out of the end zone in a 35-3 win.
``We're built better right now than we were early in the (last) season to do anything because we were horrible in the secondary. We weren't healthy at linebacker. We didn't have much depth,'' Fulmer said.
``We built some depth. We got better fundamentally. A couple guys got more healthy. A couple guys learned a lot of tough lessons, hard lessons,'' he said.
The Vols may be looking better defensively, but they haven't seen any players of the likes of Tebow, Harvin and James this season.
Plus, Florida has had an extra week to prepare for Tennessee, having scheduled an off week after facing Hawaii and Miami.
Defensive line coach Dan Brooks said there's no doubt the Gators spent some of that extra time preparing new plays to run against Tennessee.
``We always see something from Florida that we've never seen before. I've been here 15 years and that's the way it is regardless of who is coaching there,'' he said.
One thing the tapes will show is some success Miami had against the Gators offense. The Hurricanes, facing Florida as a three-touchdown underdog, managed to keep Tebow scrambling and off balance while bottling up the running backs for three quarters.
Chavis thinks if the Vols can manage to do the same thing they may have a different result from last year.
``Hopefully we can get them to not have very good timing and not play very well for three and a half, four quarters,'' he said. ``That would suit me just fine.''
 

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