Eighty-six tackles, 10.5 of which were for a loss, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

And most importantly, a key vocal leader on the defense.

Those are Curt Maggitt's 2012 numbers and attributes, but they more visibly represent what the Vols are missing on the field without Maggitt, who is recovering from an ACL tear that he suffered in UT's 51-48 loss to Missouri last year.

For four weeks there has been a question as to whether or not the junior linebacker would make his season debut, and this week is no different.

At Butch Jones' Monday press conference the question was asked again, only this time the head coach gave a more definitive answer than weeks prior.

"I don't think (he'll play)," Jones said. "I think Curt is going to be week to week on how he progresses. He's coming off of two surgeries and he's really trying. He's still out there but right now I don't want to come in here and lead everyone on. Every week I tell you I think he's ready. I'd rather expect the worst and if it happens, it happens. Right now I wouldn't count on him playing."

As the season continues on, the thoughts of a possible redshirt for the defensive leader have surfaced, something that Jones did not rule out on Monday.

"We'll see where we're at in the season," Jones said. "If this season continues to progress, a lot of it will depend on his wishes and his family's wishes as well."

Senior Dontavis Sapp, who has recorded 21 total tackles this season, will continue to man the weakside linebacker position in Maggitt's absence.

Safety blanket

While Maggitt may not come back from his ACL injury, one Vol who has come back from his and played solid is sophomore safety Brian Randolph.

"I haven't seen really much effects with the knee," Jones said. "Brian Randolph is an individual, when we talk about consistency and performance, you know what you're getting with Brian everyday."

Randolph has recorded two interceptions this season – both coming against Western Kentucky – and had a game-high 11 tackles against Florida.

Freshman on fire

Devaun Swafford probably couldn't dream of a better moment than the one he had in his first career start for the Vols.

With 9:23 remaining in the first quarter the nickel cornerback stepped in front of a Jeff Driskel pass and proceeded to take the interception return 62 yards to the house to kick off the scoring in Saturday's contest against Florida.

"Well, Devaun is a great story." Jones said. "Again, he's a walk-on who's done a tremendous job and when we were evaluating Malik Foreman, there was another individual who kept making plays on the film. So we kept asking about him and you know part of being a successful football program at this level is having a very successful walk-on program and with the limitation in scholarships, you need walk-ons to have roles in your program.

"He's an individual who's doing a tremendous job for us, again he's learning through fire – the good, the bad – but he's extremely competitive. He takes coaching and he's very athletic. As the season progresses (we) fully expect him to get better and progress as well."

Third down troubles

Amidst all the quarterback talk, the Vols defensive performance flew under the radar.

It was a game of ups and downs for the defensive unit as they held the Gators to only 167 yards passing but also were gashed on the outside by Mack Brown, Tyler Murphy and Matt Jones, allowing 215 total rushing yards.

The biggest problem for the defense was its inability to stop Florida from converting on third down, as the Gators picked up a first down on 10 of their 18 attempts.

"I know for me, I saw the film yesterday, and I feel like on third down, we were really close to getting to the quarterback or even just getting in his way," senior defensive end Marlon Walls said. "I think that as a defensive line, we need to learn how to finish the play as opposed to getting there and slowing down a little bit.

"Those little plays, we can really impact them by getting in his way, throwing our hands up in front of his face. As a D-line, that's something we need to get better at on third down, just penetrating the quarterback."