Gators expect great challenge from Vols' O-line
With an offensive line filed with veterans, Florida expects Tennessee's offensive line could be among the biggest challenges in Saturday's game.
The Vols scored just 14 points against Oregon this past week, and first-year coach Butch Jones opened up the quarterback position battle this week heading into the Florida game. But Gators coach Will Muschamp said the veterans up front are as solid as ever.
"They have 139 starts on their offensive line,'" Muschamp said. "This will be the best offensive line we will face this year. Our guys felt that way last year after we played them."
"They’re big, they're physical, they move well," added Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. "They’re athletic. For the most part, it’s four out of the five guys we faced last year and we felt that way coming out of the game last year. So not only off tape do we feel that way, but after playing them we feel that way. And our guys know that understand. It’s a big challenge for them. And I think they’re excited for it"
The Vols are led by Preseason All-SEC LT selection Antonio Richardson and C James Stone - both of whom started all 12 games last season.
“I keep hearing they have one of the best offensive lines in the SEC," Florida DT Dominique Easley said. "They had a great offensive line last year and everybody but one came back. So I think they’re a veteran team.”
A veteran group that is coming off a tough outing in the 59-14 loss to Oregon and knows exactly the challenge they face from Florida's defensive front.
"We have been playing against these guys for the past four years," senior OL Ja'Waun James said. "They are all in our class. They are great, athletic guys. We just have to get a great week of practice and just go down there and play together."