Tennessee-Florida game will turn friends into (temporary) enemies
When Florida and Tennessee meet Saturday afternoon, it’ll be a reunion of sorts for DE Justin Trattou and Tennessee QB Matt Simms and UT kicker Daniel Lincoln and Florida QB John Brantley.
Simms and Trattou are New Jersey natives who grew up in the same neighborhood. Lincoln and Brantley are both Ocala natives.
Matt Simms was the starting quarterback on Trattou's Don Bosco Prep high school team in Ramsey, N.J.
"He's going to be the enemy on Saturday,’’ Trattou said. “I'm good friends with their family.''
Simms fondly remembers the time Trattou moved into his neighborhood and the bond they immediately began to build.
"He actually moved into the town that I lived in in the third or fourth grade,'' Simms said Wednesday. "And from the moment he stepped into the same area as me, we became extremely competitive and good friends. We played on the basketball team together, the baseball team together, the football team. And we were always competing – playing street hockey, playing home run derby in the back yard, stuff like that.
Simms said he's excited about playing against Trattou on Saturday. And he's well aware that Trattou has already had one interception for a touchdown this season.
"It’s awesome that me and him get to compete on the same level again, especially in a game of this magnitude,'' Simms said.
Brantley and Lincoln also have a history that dates back to when they were young children.
"I know John pretty well,'' he said. "We’ve grown up playing sports in the same town, and it’s a small town. We either ended up on the same teams or our teams played against each other, whether it was baseball or basketball, all throughout growing up. I’ve gotten to know his family a little bit. My brother plays for his dad, he’s the head coach of my brother’s high school team. He’s a good kid and he’s a good friend.''