Are Lane Kiffin's comments motivation for the Gators or not?
It's been more than seven months since Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin mistakenly accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of cheating in the recruitment of former UF commitment turned UT player Nu'Keese Richardson, and more than nine months since he said he couldn't wait to sing Rocky Top all night long after beating the Gators in Gainesville.
So the question is, are the Gators using those comments for extra motivation or not?
Following Saturday's win over Troy, several players, including quarterback Tim Tebow and LB Ryan Stamper said their focus was on preparing for another SEC rival, and while the Tennessee rivalry is always special, Kiffin's comments wouldn't be part of the focus this week.
But on Sunday night, Florida OL James Wilson had a little different spin. You wouldn't actually call it smack talking, but it was, well, the opposite of what the players said on Saturday.
"We've just been counting down since workouts,'' Wilson said when asked when the atmosphere turned to Tennessee week. "We have a sign in the weight room that says how many days until Tennessee. Really, SEC play is huge for us. . . It's all over our locker room and everything.That's something you don't forget. We just look at it like it's another thing to back up and just prove them wrong.''
However, a Florida athletic spokesman said as of Sunday night there were no signs in the locker room or weight facility pertaining to Kiffin's comments or a countdown to the game.
It has been documented that similar signs did exist over the spring and during the Gators' summer workouts.
Wilson was recruited by Kiffin when he was an assistant at Southern Cal, but said he has nothing bad to say about the coach personally. But Wilson said Kiffin's comments about Meyer and Florida upset the Gators' players.
"I thought he was a nice guy,'' Wilson said. "But he's definitely, I don't know what he was thinking when he said all that. It kind of hit a nerve.''
Meyer said after the Troy game that Saturday's game is about Florida's players versus Tennessee's players and he won't allow the issue between the coaches to become a part of the preparation for the game.