KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee junior Jashon Robertson says the Vols’ offensive line play is “never as good as it seems, and it’s never as bad as it seems.”
In fact, Robertson says he and his fellow offensive linemen will treat the week of preparation leading up to the 3:30 p.m. game with No. 19 Florida on Saturday in routine fashion.
“We approach every game the same way,” Robertson said after the Vols struggled to beat Ohio, 28-19, on Saturday. “We’re going to prepare for this game like we have every other game.”
The Gators have won the past 11 games in the series, while UT, now ranked 14th in the country, brings a nine-game win streak dating back to last season into the contest.
The Tennessee offensive line has widely been called into question since being beaten badly by Appalachian State in the opener.
The Vols’ coaching staff started moving players around on the offensive line during the 45-24 victory over Virginia Tech. Tennessee inserted Jack Jones into the starting lineup at right guard against Ohio, triggering additional moves of Dylan Wiesman to center, center Coleman Thomas to right tackle, and right tackle Brett Kendrick to left tackle.
Redshirt freshman Drew Richmond, who gave up two sacks against the Hokies, was benched and played only one series against the Bobcats.
Robertson said the fact that coach Butch Jones has yet to settle on a starting five is not alarming at all.
“That should be the world you live in, in a great football program,” Robertson said. “Nobody should be comfortable where they are. There should be guys consistently pushing guys for positions.
“That’s what develops that mental toughness and mental focus, and intensity that you need to have throughout the game.”
Robertson said the Vols’ level of success on the offensive line is “just a matter of keeping the same intensity consistent throughout an entire game, the same focus of going one play at a time and focusing on the now.”
Asked if he was satisfied with how the Tennessee offensive line had played through three games, Robertson replied, “We would never be satisfied.”
Robertson explained “it’s hard to win, that’s what we all have figured out.
“Winning is not easy; it’s fragile. There are mistakes that happen.”