Do you remember last year’s Florida-Tennessee game? The whole 59-20 thing? Remember that? Here’s something if you forgot:
Okay, we should be on the same page now.
If you’re wondering how Florida could have scored at will for so long, you’re not alone. After the game, Derek Baldry, a former Army ranger and walk-on special teams guy for the Gators, said on a late extra point that his counterpart on the Vols told him not to worry about blocking. From there, the “Tennessee quit playing” theory was born.
Brandon Spikes has brought it up again this year, no doubt as a consequence of a reporter asking him about it. Replays show at least one Vol not attempting to rush a late kick, so the story rings true. At least one Tennessee beat writer has said recently that after the game some UT players admitted that some guys quit, so there’s plenty of evidence to support that explanation.
This year, the tune has changed of course. A video attached to some nonsense story about Florida not being tough away from home (which is so laughable in its content, it’s not worth rebutting) has several Vol players and the head coach commenting on the “Tennessee quit” thesis.
The players all say the things you’d expect them to say: that they didn’t quit, they know their teammates well and they’d never quit, they don’t know why the Florida players would say that, how they’re using it as motivation, and so forth. The real interesting thing was a quote from Phil Fulmer:
“It probably came from the coaches, you know, somewhere that was said and they’re just repeating what the coaches said… if they don’t respect us, then why are they practicing?”
As I mentioned before, the origin was Derek Baldry and not anyone on the UF coaching staff. If you need to see the video, it is kindly presented here. You can clearly see several Tennessee players not even trying to go after the extra point.
I have no idea where Fulmer came up with that. It would seem that he’s accusing Florida’s coaches with “inventing” the “myth” that some Tennessee players quit on the game, or at least on late extra points. It’s as if he has some sort of grudge against the Gator coaching staff, and I have no idea where that would come from (other than that whole 59-20 thing, though it is the Vol defenders’ job to stop UF from scoring).
This is not the kind of quote I’d expect from Fulmer as it would probably fan the flames with his team. Offensive coordinator Dave Clawson has already said that the UT coaches are trying to keep the guys from getting too jacked about the game:
“My concern with a game like this is sometimes guys get too hyped up, and they get outside of themselves and they try to do things they’re not capable of doing… I don’t think that helps people.”
And as for the whole “they don’t respect us” part, that makes no sense either. Meyer has never been anything but respectful towards Tennessee, including this week.
It’s one thing for players to be talking trash, it’s another for the head coach to do so. What Fulmer’s motivation is for accusing the Gator coaches of making things up is beyond me; maybe he just has a bad memory.
What was clear before this exchange and is clearer after is that Fulmer wants this one badly. It should make for a good game this weekend.