Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin did not enjoy watching his defense struggle against Alabama.
In the 42-21 loss against the Crimson Tide, the Gators surrendered a program-high 672 yards, 43 yards more than the previous high of 629 suffered against Nebraska in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.
"Not very fun," Durkin said. "You put a lot of time and work into the game plan and our players do as well and that’s all of us together."
Now heading into Saturday’s matchup against Tennessee, Durkin’s defense will be without defensive tackle Leon Orr (knee) and possibly without linebacker Mike Taylor (knee).
In Orr’s absence, Jonathan Bullard will play on the interior of the defensive line. Joey Ivie, Gerald Willis and Taven Bryan will also receive more in-game reps.
If Taylor is unable to compete against the Volunteers, the rotation at Mike linebacker will be limited to Neiron Ball, Antonio Morrison and Jarrad Davis.
Ball, who is tied for the team lead in sacks (two) and is fourth in tackles (15) is one who Durkin has praised.
"I thought he’s played really well and consistent for us all year long," Durkin said. "At Alabama he played well, he did some things we would have liked to have done differently or better. Like a lot of guys he played a lot of snaps in that game … so some of those mistakes he made or breakdowns in the game were a matter of him being out there that long. But he has to be able to do that and again he’ll play a lot of snaps this coming Saturday. Overall Neiron has played really consistent for us and I’m happy for him."
Ya Hurd: Jalen Hurd is making a name for himself.
Through the Volunteers’ first four games, the freshman tailback leads UT with 328 rushing yards and two rushing scores while averaging 4.6 yards per rush.
Against Georgia on Saturday, Hurd tallied 138 total yards and a touchdown on 27 touches.
"I just think he’s gaining more and more confidence each game," Durkin said. "I think their coaching staff is gaining more confidence in him each game. ... He’s a guy that’s got good playing experience now. He’s playing within their scheme and doing well."
But Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis has other plans in mind for Hurd.
"He’s physical. He’s fast, but he doesn’t have top end speed. We have to come downhill, we have to hit him early. We have to let him know what it is and we have to welcome him to the SEC," Davis said. "Georgia was a big test for him, that’s a physical team. But I feel like we have more to offer for him. … I don’t think he can hang with us. He’s a good athlete, but we’ve got a whole defense coming for him."
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