Easley has unique approach to Rocky Top

Fans and players in orange and white won't be the only ones singing the words to Rocky Top on Saturday in The Swamp. Add Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley to the list. He admittedly doesn't know many of the words -- or anything past the words ‘Rocky Top' for that matter -- but that doesn't keep him from singing on the field. It's the senior's favorite part of the rivalry with Tennessee.

Easley was clear with his feelings about the song at SEC Media Days, talking about how much it got on his nerves. Before the 2011 game between the two teams in Gainesville, the Tennessee band struck up for another verse of Rocky Top in warm ups, causing Easley to point to the band and yell about the overplaying of the song.

But to sing it?

That's a new one for any rival of Tennessee. Asked what he thought about the song on Monday morning, he shot back with a question of his own.

"Do you listen to it? How do you feel about it? Yeah, there you go," Dominique Easley said to the reporter, rolling his eyes in annoyance of even thinking about the song.

So why sing it? That's the question everyone was wondering, but for Easley, it's the only thing he can think to do. He made just one tackle but had two quarterback hits against the Volunteers last season. After Easley complained about the song before the game during his sophomore year, he led the Gators with two tackles for a loss.

Maybe it brings out the best in him.

Or maybe he just wants to have fun with the Volunteers, especially with Florida's eight-game winning streak over its rival.

"Something gets so annoying, you gotta make the best out of it," Easley said with a grin about why he sings the song during games. "(Tennessee players) hear me. I don't know if they consider it a taunt. But I just do it for my own enjoyment."

The Volunteers aren't at the top of Easley's list of enemies though. He put them third on that list with Georgia at the top and Florida State coming in second. Florida defensive back Jaylen Watkins mentioned on Monday that he didn't even know the Tennessee game was a rivalry until he got to Gainesville, but that wasn't the case for Easley.

The senior defensive lineman knows he's in for a challenge on Saturday, too. The blowout loss at Oregon hasn't changed how he views the Volunteers' offensive line. Florida head coach Will Muschamp called it the best line the Gators will face this season, and Easley didn't disagree.

"Their offensive line -- I keep hearing they have one of the best offensive lines in the SEC," Easley said. "They had a great offensive line last year and everybody but one came back. They're a veteran team."

Easley is happy with the way the Florida defense has played but still sees room for improvement. The Gators have the best third-down defense in the country, allowing teams to convent on just 2-of-24 third-down situations through two games.

That's a stat the team wants to keep going, but the start to the Miami game showed there's still plenty of room for improvement.

"In my life I strive for perfection," Easley said. "If there's no perfection, there's no greatness, and we're supposed to be great."

The biggest issues for the Gators have come on the offensive side of the ball. Asked how quarterback Jeff Driskel was handling the criticism he received over the last week, Easley said he doesn't usually talk to him.

"I don't know, I play defense," Easley said when asked about Driskel.

The offense needs improvement over the bye week, and while they've heard about it from coaches and others, Easley downplayed the severity of it.

"Criticism is life," Easley said. "You're going to get criticized every day of your life. You just have to deal with it."

"I ain't touching the ball. (The offensive problems) ain't my worry."


Fightin Gators Top Stories