SEC: Vols-Gator coverage 09

Video: Tennessee-Florida blogger preview

September, 16, 2009

Chris Low previews this weekend's Tennessee-Florida matchup.

Vols' McCoy: Game is still going to be played

September, 15, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee senior linebacker Rico McCoy sighed at the question.

He’s heard the talk, too.

Venturing down to the Swamp as a four-touchdown underdog and facing a Florida team that doesn’t just want to beat Tennessee, but wants to punish the Vols, how ugly could this one get Saturday?

“The game’s still going to be played. The game’s still going to be played,” McCoy repeated with emphasis. “And I have a say-so in the outcome. I don’t have anything to say right now. I’ll let the play speak for itself. It’s just a number (Florida being favored by four touchdowns) they threw out before a game, and we determine if that happens or not.”

McCoy knows the atmosphere will be wild Saturday and that the fans will be downright nasty.

He also knows that the Gators have had this game circled ever since Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin became a household name in the SEC back in February when he took aim at Urban Meyer.

“I’m not worried about it,” McCoy said. “I know my team is going to be ready to play. I’m confident. I hear the stuff about them not taking knees, (saving) timeouts.

“You know, if we leave ourselves in that situation, go ahead and do it. If you can do it, do it. But you know, we’re ready to play. We’re going to fight until that last second is off the clock.”

Kiffin said he actually likes the fact that nobody is giving the Vols any chance in this game.

“I kind of like it for our players, because I think it kind of takes the pressure off of them,” Kiffin said.

The Gators have beaten the Vols by a combined 63 points over the last two seasons and won 59-20 the last time Tennessee played in the Swamp.

Given the severity of those beatings, Kiffin doesn’t see how the Gators will be any more motivated for this game … regardless of what he might have said about Meyer or anything else.

“Urban has never lost to Tennessee, and it was (63 points) over the last two years combined,” Kiffin said. “There’s been motivation over there, and I don’t think that I motivated them. I wasn’t here yet.”

Nice try, but something says neither Meyer nor the Gators will quite see it that way come Saturday.

Not quite trash talk, but ...

September, 15, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin went out of his way during his press conference Tuesday to praise Florida's team, the Gators' talent and the job Urban Meyer has done in Gainesville.

It was a far cry from Kiffin's scorched earth approach soon after taking the Tennessee job back in December. This time, there was no mention of "singing Rocky Top all night long" after beating Florida, nor did Kiffin did accuse Meyer of cheating.

In fact, Kiffin was almost gushing in talking about how good the Gators were and even said they were more talented than the 2004 and 2005 Southern California teams he coached on as an assistant.

"We’re going to play the most talented team in the country, maybe the most talented team ever to play," said Kiffin, adding that all 11 of the Gators' starters on defense were NFL players.

There was one comment by Kiffin, though, that will no doubt get Meyer's attention. In discussing how the Vols were able to pry receiver Nu'Keese Richardson away from the Gators, Kiffin suggested that Florida's spread offense hurt them with some players.

"The only time I really see them lose kids is because kids want to play in a pro-style offense,” Kiffin said. “It’s such a great place to play, and they do such a good job of coaching. But you see some kids that don’t want to play in that system because a lot of times it hurts them going to the next level for their draft status."

A little recruiting gamesmanship, maybe?

Meyer bristled at that notion back in May during the SEC spring meetings when told that one prospect had said he wouldn't be as well prepared for the NFL by playing in the Gators' spread offense.

"We’ve had more receivers drafted in the NFL than any school in America the last four years, and all of them are doing well," Meyer said. "It's just poor advice is what it is."