The Tennessee Vols are big favorites this weekend against the Florida Gators, but anyone who has followed this series closely knows that point spreads go out the window when these two teams get together.

Tennessee has only beaten Florida four times since the turn of the century. Some good Vols teams have lost to some not-as-good Gators teams. So that 10 or 11-point spread isn’t inspiring much confidence among Tennessee fans this week.

One thing, however, that should make fans feel a bit more confident this week is the Vols’ preparation.

Tennessee is better prepared for the Gators thanks to the Vols’ win against Akron last weekend.

Tennessee linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary explained on Tuesday that UT will play a lot of the same defenses against Florida that they did against Akron.

That’s because Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson presents some of the same challenges as Akron quarterback DJ Irons — they can both do damage with their legs.

“Obviously, I think Richardson kind of stands alone when it comes to athleticism as far as the quarterback position,” said Jean-Mary. “I thought (DJ Irons) last week when you watch him on tape, he came in as a dual-threat quarterback and actually had some positive runs versus Michigan State the previous week. We actually practiced a lot of quarterback runs going into that game. We actually are bringing some of the same defenses that we ran in that previous game. We were able to rep them for Akron. Obviously, he did not run the ball a lot, whether it was due to injury or whatever. He was more in a drop-back phase, didn’t pull the ball as much, but we were prepared for it.”

“I just bring that up to say with the talent Richardson has, we actually feel like we’re a week ahead as far as actual quarterback running game,” added Jean-Mary. “Obviously, he’s a different animal, but some of the defenses and some of the fits we’ve prepared for.”

Richardson hasn’t been running as much lately — Florida’s coaches have told him to try to avoid taking big hits due to their lack of quarterback depth — but the threat is still there. And the Vols have to be prepared for it.

It sounds like the game against Akron gave Tennessee a perfect opportunity to practice some defensive concepts that they believe can help them beat the Gators.

We’ll see on Saturday evening if it pays off.

Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK