Sidelines with John Clay

SEC football links: Can Florida’s defense shut down Tennessee?

Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) pressures North Texas quarterback Mason Fine during the first half of Saturday’s game, during which Brantley sacked Fine in the end zone for a safety.
Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) pressures North Texas quarterback Mason Fine during the first half of Saturday’s game, during which Brantley sacked Fine in the end zone for a safety. Associated Press

SEC football links for Thursday:

▪ Florida’s defense is ready for the Tennessee test, reports Jordan McPherson for the Miami Herald. In three games, Florida has allowed just 14 points.

▪ Tennessee’s defensive coordinator knows Florida’s new quarterback, reports Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. While on Vanderbilt’s staff, Bob Shoop recruited Austin Appelby, who ended up at Purdue. Now a grad transfer at Florida, Appelby is expected to start in place of the injured Luke Del Rio on Saturday.

▪ Ex-Purdue quarterbacks have migrated to the SEC, reports Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times. Besides Appelby, Danny Etling is the starter at LSU.

▪ Florida expected to get Antonio Callaway back on Saturday, reports Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun. Callaway missed last week’s win over North Texas after injuring his quad against Kentucky on Sept. 10.

▪ Is it time to lower expectations of injury-plagued Tennessee defense? asks Dave Hooker of Gridiron Now.

▪ Gary Danielson wonders if Tennessee can get over the mental hurdle, reports Jason Fraychineaud of Saturday Down South. Tennessee has lost 11 straight to the Gators.

▪ Rick Neuishel predicts Art Briles will be the next coach at Auburn. Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham New says that won’t happen.

▪ Former Auburn player racing rape allegations, reports Mike Niziolek of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. The alleged victim issued a statement on Wednesday.

▪ Brandon Harris says he has received death threats, reports Ron Higgins of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The LSU quarterback said he received the threats after the Tigers’ 16-14 loss to Wisconsin in Green Bay.

▪ LSU hoping to get offensive linemen back for Auburn game, reports James Bewers of the Advocate in Baton Rouge. Les Miles says injured linemen have practiced, but not sure yet if they will play.

▪ SEC replays are setting a record pace, reports Duane Rankin of the Montgomery Advertiser. Six plays were reviewed and four rulings were overturned in last Saturday’s Alabama-Ole Miss game.

▪ Kirby Smart is wary of Chad Kelly, reports David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Smart and Georgia take on Ole Miss this Saturday.

▪ The narrative is shifting at Ole Miss, reports Parrish Alford of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal. “I’ll take being relevant and being in the fight every single time,” Hugh Freeze said this week.

▪ Jacob Eason’s high school coach impressed with the Georgia quarterback’s first three college games, reports Brandon Sudge of the Macon Telegraph.

▪ Nick Chubb’s health isn’t the problem with the Georgia running game, reports Seth Emerson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After gaining 222 yards in the opener, Chubb has been held to 143 yards the last two weeks.

▪ Texas A&M’s inexperienced offensive line has played well, reports Robert Cessna of the Bryan/College Station Eagle. The Aggies play Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday.

▪ Aggies ready for another close showdown, reports Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle.

▪ Special teams play a concern for Arkansas, reports Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Shaky special teams haven’t cost the Razorbacks a game -- yet.

▪ Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb has muscled his way to being the SEC’s top rusher, writes Adam Sparks of the Tennessean. Vandy visits Western Kentucky on Saturday.

▪ Complacency is Alabama’s enemy once again, writes Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News. The top-ranked Tide plays Kent State this Saturday.

▪ Drake now a fan of Alabama football, reports Nick Williams of SEC Country. This does little to dispel the image of Drake as a front-runner.

▪ Cam Hilton has found a home on the Missouri defense, reports Joe Vozzelli of the Columbia Daily Tribune.

▪ What could Missouri have done differently in fourth quarter against Georgia? asks Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star. Mizzou is still trying to shake off the 28-27 loss to the Bulldogs.

SEC FOOTBALL ON TELEVISION THIS WEEKEND

12:00 - Georgia at Ole Miss (ESPN)

12:00 - Kent State at Alabama (SEC)

3:30 - Florida at Tennessee (CBS)

4:00 - Delaware State at Missouri (SEC)

4:30 - Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky (CBS Sports)

6:00 - LSU at Auburn (ESPN)

7:30 - South Carolina at Kentucky (SEC)

9:00 - Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (ESPN)

SEC total defense

1. Florida 129.7

2. Alabama 320.0

3. Arkansas 322.7

4. Mississippi State 323.0

5. LSU 325.7

6. Tennessee 334.7

7. Georgia 340.7

8. Texas A&M 357.3

9. Auburn 401.0

10. South Carolina 415.3

11. Vanderbilt 438.0

12. Missouri 443.7

13. Ole Miss 459.0

14. Kentucky 528.0

SEC total offense

1. Texas A&M 530.7

2. Missouri 526.7

3. Alabama 477.3

4. Florida 466.0

5. Auburn 455.7

6. Ole Miss 441.0

7. Georgia 418.7

8. Kentucky 416.7

9. Arkansas 389.0

10. Mississippi State 364.0

11. Tennessee 351.0

12. LSU 340.0

13. South Carolina 287.7

14. Vanderbilt 287.0

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