HOOVER, Ala. — As the new football coach at Tennessee, Butch Jones has more than his share of things to worry about as he tries to rebuild a program that is 28-34 since 2008.
If beating Florida wasn't high on the to-do list when he arrived, it is now.
"Hear it all the time," Jones said when asked how often fans have talked to him about the Gators' eight-game winning streak over the Vols. "I've heard that about Alabama (too). In order for us to make those rivalry games, we have to get back to being relevant and winning those football games."
Florida will host Tennessee on Sept. 21, and even though the Vols have three games before that, the Gators are definitely on their minds.
"Every time we break down from a team meeting we say "Beat Florida,' " DL Jacques Smith said.
BIG CHANGE: The most anticipated rule change entering this season is the "targeting" rule, which SEC director of officials Steve Shaw said Wednesday is "the most significant rule change in my tenure ever."
The rule calls for automatic ejection if a player hits a defenseless player above the shoulders, or uses the crown or top of the helmet to deliver a blow. If the foul occurs during the first half of the game, the player must sit out the rest of the game; the second half and the player is out at that point plus the first half of the next game.
"Playing time is a motivator to our players, and we think this will have a pretty significant impact," Shaw said.
LIFE-ALTERING TRIP: Several Kentucky seniors spent more than a week in Ethiopia in May, part of an annual trip sponsored by UK athletics. What LB Avery Williamson saw left an indelible impression. "I still think about those people a lot," Williamson said. "On a personal note, I pray for them a lot. It's really tough over there. You use that motivation to be a better person. I was so shocked seeing the people and how they lived, It's such a different world. It's an eye-opener to see how little they have. You take for granted what you have — we have a lot over here."
FROM GATORS TO VOLS: Former Florida RB Robert Gillespie will be wearing a different shade of orange this season. Gillespie, 33, who played for the Gators from 1998-2001, is the new Tennessee running backs coach under Jones. "He has been a tremendous addition to our football staff," Jones said. "Having played in the SEC, coached in the SEC (at South Carolina), he's brought another dynamic to our staff."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We work like we're poor men trying to become rich men." — Texas A&M DB Toney Hurd Jr. on the Aggies' mentality heading into their second year in the SEC.
NOT SO FUNNY: "He thought it was a joke? I'm not a comedian." — New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema when told that new Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said when he first heard Bielema's assertion that hurry-up, no-huddle offenses might be dangerous to college players, he was so incredulous he thought it was a joke.