KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Butch Jones wasn’t sugarcoating anything Saturday following his team’s 28-19 victory over Ohio at Neyland Stadium.
Yes, the No. 15 Vols have won nine consecutive and opened a season 3-0 for the first time since 2004.
“But the gist of the matter is we have to get better in a hurry, starting tonight, starting tomorrow and starting Monday,” Jones said. “Everyone knows we have to play a lot better to continue that winning streak.
“We’re gonna play a really, really good football team coming in here, we all know about them, and it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
Florida (2-0) enters next Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. ET game having won 11 consecutive in the series with the Vols, and many believe the SEC East Division will be on the line at Neyland Stadium.
“It’s the most important game because it’s the next game,” Jones said. “Is this game our season? No, every game is our season.”
Tennessee is expected to be without at least three key defensive players.
Preseason All-SEC cornerback Cam Sutton suffered an undisclosed lower left leg injury in the first quarter, weakside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter and middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland isn’t expected to be back from the ankle injury he suffered in the Sept. 10 win against Virginia Tech.
“Our goal was to be 3-0 at this point, and we are 3-0,” Jones said, “but I think everyone will tell you that we have to get a lot better as we start conference play next week.”
The Gators play a home game with North Texas this evening at The Swamp.