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Gator fan makes do in Vols country

If you search hard enough, you can find a few Gators fans living somewhat peacefully among the Vols fans in the Knoxville area.

Lisa Krogulski is one. She is a native of Orlando who grew up a Gator fan. Her mother and cousin are graduates of Florida. But 11 years ago Krogulski moved to Knoxville with her husband, Glenn. Until then she had never lived out of the state. At the time she had no idea what she was getting into.

"When I first got here I had to take the Gator plates off my car," said Krogulski, who along with her husband owns the Parkway Antique Mall in Maryville. "My husband said, "Do you want your car to get torn up?' So I took them off."

Saturday, Krogulski's 26-year old son, Mark, had tickets on the 35-yard line, where he planned to cheer for the Gators. Glenn, who several years ago traveled to Gainesville with friends and whose limo was vandalized by Florida fans, cheered for the Vols.

Lisa said she has grown to love Knoxville and even roots for the Vols. But Saturday, her heart also was with the team in orange and blue.

"The rest of the time I'm with Tennessee, except when they play Florida," she said.

EARLY BAD NEWS: Tennessee suffered a setback early when starting linebacker Kevin Simon injured his knee 2:46 into the game. Simon, a junior who led the Vols in tackles last season with 115, was helped off the field and taken to the locker room. He did not return.

FEELING THE STORMS: Although Knoxville was spared the serious damage from Hurricane Ivan that was forecast, several players have been affected by the storms that hit the Southeast in recent weeks, including Tennessee receiver Chris Hannon, a Sarasota native, and defensive back Jason Allen of Muscle Shoals, Ala.

"My whole family is down there, so I've been getting in touch with them," Hannon said. "I feel it. That's Florida. It goes with the territory. You've just got to prepare."

Muscle Shoals didn't get a direct hit from Ivan, but Allen has friends in heavily damaged areas.

"I just pray that God will be with them," he said.


Times staff writer