Florida turns its attention toward SEC showdown with Tennessee
GAINESVILLE – With their first two games against overmatched opponents behind them, the Florida Gators have officially turned their attention to rival Tennessee.
“The season starts now,’’ UF senior receiver David Nelson said shortly after the Gators’ 56-6 win over Troy.
The game, which generally marks the start of the conference season for Florida, will receive even more attention this week because of comments first-year Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin made earlier this year accusing Florida coach Urban Meyer of cheating during recruiting. Kiffin has since apologized several times and the UF players and coaches insisted the game is big just because it’s the Vols and it’s an SEC East game.
The Gators have won four in a row against the Vols.
"Oh yeah, it's a lot of juice looking forward to this week just because it's a rivalry game, Tennessee, and it's been a big game, got a lot of history,’’ senior LB Ryan Stamper said. “I'm looking forward to it.’’
Meyer said the players are the ones who are setting the tone.
“A lot of our guys said the season starts (Sunday),’’ Meyer said. “I didn’t say that, the players said that. And to go out there and play like they did today, and last week, with the professionalism that they did, I’m starting to admire some of the guys on this team. We’ll see if they show up ready to rock n roll (today). Rivalry week starts.’’
Apparently what you won’t hear out of Gainesville this week is smack talking. Asked about Kiffin, players repeatedly responded “No comment.’’
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said don’t expect the bulletin board material to come from Gainesville.
"I don’t think there will be much trash talk, I don’t think we have a lot of guys who do that,’’ he said. “I think we’re just going to go out there, work hard, go play and that’s all there is to it.’’
ODDS AND ENDS: With Saturday's victory, Florida matched the best winning streak in program history -12 games. The last time the Gators achieved that mark was the 1995 season (Sept. 12- Dec. 2) . . . The 663 yards of offense accumulated was the second-highest total under Meyer and the fifth-highest in Florida history. . . Florida hasn’t allowed any punt return yardage in two games. . . DE Jermaine Cunningham forced the Gators’ first fumble of the season, the fourth of his career . . . Middleton grad A.J. Jones had his first sack of the season, an 8-yard loss with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter.