Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators reluctantly admit it: Tennessee Vols present a big game

GAINESVILLE — Things are about to get a lot more challenging for the Florida Gators from here on out, but it was tough to get most of them to acknowledge that Monday.

One by one they came in during the weekly media session and talked about how Saturday's SEC opener against Tennessee is no different than any other. Forget that they won the first two games by a combined 80-3, or that even coach Will Muschamp was bummed because the Gators hadn't faced much adversity. All opponents are the same, right?

Finally, the truth emerged.

"I'm really excited," all-purpose player Trey Burton said. "It's a big game for us. It's always fun when we play SEC games because they count."

Muschamp said he reinforces the nameless, faceless opponent concept so players will prepare the same every week. But to pretend that this week's opponent isn't different from the previous two seemed, well, just silly.

"It's a completely different ball game," said senior QB John Brantley, who grew up loving this rivalry. "SEC, I believe it's one of the toughest conferences. And no matter who you're playing, you've got to be on your A game, and you've got to be going in there with a lot of intensity."

INJURY UPDATE: Senior RB Jeff Demps (shoulder) and sophomore TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) are expected to play. Junior CB Jeremy Brown (knee) is questionable for the third consecutive week. "He's going to try to get out (on the field)," Muschamp said. "He's trying to get out there each week. The injury is much more severe than we first thought."

finley arrested: Backup LB Darnavius A. "Dee" Finley is scheduled to appear in an Alachua County courthouse today after he was arrested early Monday and charged with driving with a suspended license and resisting a police officer with violence — a third-degree felony.

According to a police report, the sophomore from Alabama drove his scooter around a barricade near the football stadium and was pulled over. Finley attempted to leave, the report said, and an officer grabbed his wrist, but Finley allegedly pushed the officer's hand away. He eventually obeyed a request to put his hands behind his back.

According to DMV records, Finley's license is suspended for failure to pay multiple fines and attend court appearances.

HONORED: OL Xavier Nixon was among the Gators who carried an American flag onto the field before Saturday's game against UAB in commemoration of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nixon's father is retired from the military, and his mother is still active in the Army. "It was a great sense of pride," Nixon said. "Both my parents have served this country. I just saw my mother's face in my head as I was running out there, and I felt real proud."

EXPECTING MORE: Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and Muschamp insist they haven't held back anything in the first two games, but Tennessee coach Derek Dooley isn't buying that.

"We don't have a lot to go on because in both games they just overwhelmed their opponents and it's like watching a preseason game," Dooley said. "I don't think they showed a lot. I know they are going to show a lot more against us.

"They are going to be fresh. They got their guy (DT Sharrif Floyd, suspended for the first two games) back. We are going to have to be prepared for a lot more than what we saw in the first two games."

Florida Gators reluctantly admit it: Tennessee Vols present a big game 09/12/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 12, 2011 11:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)