“Social media wars and all that kind of stuff, it's here,” Marcus Maye said. “All the talk is pretty much over with now. You have to go out and play the game. There's going to be excitement and stuff like that. We're all excited to go out to Knoxville.”
Not just Tennessee’s football team, but also their fans will be bringing their ‘A’ game. Neyland Stadium holds over 102,000 savage Vols.
“Screaming and loud and it’s something you’ve gotta experience, you’ve gotta be there for,” Maye said. “So you know, we’re excited for it, we’re kinda used to it. But it’s just a little different going up on the road, stuff like that, so it’s gonna be a hostile environment.”
At Tennessee, Maye’s job may be even easier than at home. Their fans will be quieter for their offense, as opposed to a rowdy Swamp making a lot of noise when the defense is out at home.
“When they’re at home, they wanna be quiet for the offense,” Maye said. “So it makes it a lot easier for us as a defense to communicate on the road. So you know, for that, it makes it a lot easier. You can make calls, understand what’s going on and be focused when they’re not as loud.”
A huge threat to the Gators will be senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Head coach Jim McElwain did not downplay Dobbs’ ability at all. McElwain said he knows, and the team knows, that Dobbs will be dangerous.
“He hurt us a year ago,” McElwain said of Dobbs. “Let’s face it, they ran it down our throat a year ago. I’m sure they feel pretty good about that, and they should. We’re going to have to maintain our rush lanes when they do throw it and get him hopefully a little uncomfortable and not be able to get his feet set exactly like he wants to and not let him take over the game with his feet like he did against us last year.”
Maye says the key to containing Dobbs is being disciplined in the running game.
“Getting 11 hats to the ball, making sure he’s going backwards instead of forwards after contact and stuff like that,” Maye said. “You know, he’s a great runner; he can do a lot of different things like that. So we just have to be a complete defense, you know, be a disciplined defense.”
The Florida-Tennessee rivalry really is something special and has had some remarkable games over time. The Gators came away victors for the 11th time in a row last year in The Swamp. Will Grier threw to Antonio Callaway for a touchdown on 4th and 14 with 1:30 left in the game. With three seconds left to kick a 55 yard field goal, the kick sailed wide right for the Gators’ 28-27 win. It is something that Maye knows most Gator fans will remember forever.
"It was a big win for our program,” Maye said. “The way it ended was exciting. It's probably something that's going to go down in history as one of the great games. Just being a part of that was definitely great for our team to experience. It opened our eyes to see what kind of a team we are. We fought back.”