Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hurd Is Word for UF Defense; Gators Will Be Focused on Vols RB after His Big Game against Georgia

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hurd Is Word for UF Defense; Gators Will Be Focused on Vols RB after His Big Game against Georgia

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Johnson

Florida won't be at home Saturday, but it plans to roll out the welcome mat for someone special at Neyland Stadium against Tennessee on Saturday.

The Volunteers entered the second year of coach Butch Jones' tenure with a treasure trove of a signing class, 31 in total, the most of any FBS team.

That class' crown jewel was running back Jalen Hurd, from Hendersonville, Tenn.

Hurd was not just the best running back in the state, but one of the best in the country. He bought into the message Jones has been selling about building the Volunteers back to national prominence "brick by brick."

Interestingly, that message was most directly conveyed by a former Gator, Robert Gillespie. Gillespie was Hurd's primary recruiter and is now his position coach in Knoxville. Despite the hype around Hurd, Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis isn't impressed.

"We have to let him know what it is, and we have to welcome him to the SEC. Georgia was a big test for him, that's a physical team," Davis said. "But I feel like we have more to offer for him. We're going to come down - we're going to talk to him a little bit with the pads.

"We're not going to talk with our mouth. We're going to hit him and get back and get lined up. I don't think he can hang with us. He's a good athlete, but we've got a whole defense coming for him."

Hurd is coming off of his breakthrough performance against the Georgia Bulldogs, rushing for 119 yards on 24 carries in a 35-32 loss. The Gators enter the game with the 45th-best run defense nationally in yards per game allowed and the 34th-best run defense in yards per attempt allowed.

They've had a bye week to lick the wounds after being pummeled by Alabama, giving up 111 yards on the ground to former Yulee star Derrick Henry and 59 more to T.J. Yeldon.

"I feel like we definitely looked at the tape and saw that we had issues with communicating, maybe not having our eyes in the right spots," Davis said. …

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