It’s time for the weekly Volquest stock report as the Tennessee Vols continue their preparations for Florida. Who’s stock is up? Who’s is down? and what’s stagnant? Brent Hubbs and Austin Price break it down with the weekly stock report.
Freshmen defensive players — I don’t know how much Joshua Josephs, Tyre West, Elijah Herring or James Pearce plays Saturday against Florida if any, but I do know that their futures at Tennessee are bright and their future on the field is coming sooner rather than later. All four flashed on more than one occasion in the win over Akron. Granted it’s Akron but they all showed football IQ and the ability to make plays in space. I don’t care who are playing if your can play in the open field then you are going to be able to play at this level — Brent Hubbs
Jalin Hyatt — Brent Hubbs has called Hyatt the best story on this team and it’s hard to argue given how far he has come over the last year. Hyatt’s dedication to his craft and his team has showed up big time the last two weeks and in different ways. At Pittsburgh, Hyatt’s role was almost like a possession receiver and last week against Akron he was the take the top off of it vertical threat. Regardless of the role he’s been productive. In the last 8 quarters Hyatt has 16 catches for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns. A season ago he had 21 catches for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns — Austin Price
Punting the ball — I’m stealing this one from Austin from last week, but honestly it wasn’t much better against Akron than it was against Pitt. No they didn’t have a punt blocked, but their half rugby style whatever was nearly blocked as an inside rusher ran past a punt protector and nearly got there. Florida’s offense has had their struggles driving the ball the length of the field. They are looking for turnovers and a short field. Translation given what Tennessee has shown this season in their punt operation, the Gators will be coming after some punts. — Brent Hubbs
Cedric Tillman’s status — Josh Heupel is never going to discuss injuries but as the week as progressed the belief that Tillman is going to be available Saturday hasn’t grown. Now, Tillman has 48 hours or so to continue his treatment and see how he progresses. However ankles can be tricky and can be hard for receivers to play with given the need to be able to plant and cut at full speed. — Austin Price
The run game —Tennessee ran it successfully against Akron but it was costly with injuries to Jabari Small and Dylan Sampson. It’s unclear if either will be able to go on Saturday. Akron and Ball State were poor against the run and Tennessee overmatched them physically. The Vols didn’t try to run it with the tailbacks at Pitt because the staff didn’t believe they could do so successfully. Now here comes Florida who has given up over 200 yards on the ground in two of their first three games including nearly 300 hundred to South Florida. The run game is huge in getting Josh Heupel’s offense into a real rhythm. Can Tennessee truly attack Florida’s defensive weakness with the ground game? If they can then the Vols offense could have a huge day. If not then there’s a lot of pressure on Hendon Hooker to make the passing game sing just as there was at Pitt. — Brent Hubbs
Getting over the hump — Let’s be clear here, I’m not in the Hubbs I gotta see it to believe it camp, but the getting over the hump has certainly been a challenge for the program having lost 16 of the last 17 in this match up. Tennessee has lost this game every way possible. They have been blown out. They have blown leads. They have lost low scoring games to back up quarterbacks. They have lost on 4th and long and on and on and on. If there’s a way this program seems to have found it. Josh Heupel says there’s no mental hurdle for his team to get over and maybe that’s true. But fans wonder is this the year they get over the hump. — Austin Price