For Ahmad Fulwood, this second SEC tilt of the season is just one of 12 on the regular docket that the Gators have to prepare for.
“To us, it’s just the next game,” he told the Florida media on Tuesday. “That’s why it’s a big game. So we’re gonna come out there with the same mentality we came out with against UMass and against Kentucky and against North Texas.”
The Gators have won 11 straight in the series over the Vols. Again when asked what that part of this big game means this week, same answer.
“Um, what does the streak mean to us?” he repeated the question asked. “That we’ve beaten them 11 straight times (laughs). I mean, to us it’s just, you know, playing Tennessee. You know, they’re the next game, and we’re gonna, you know, move forward with that.
“We’re going out and looking for a ‘W’. If that happens, it keeps going, it’ll keep going. But we’re planning on winning. If it goes to 12, it goes to 12 or whatever. It’s not really a number to us right now.”
For Fulwood and company, they feel like they just need to focus on themselves and the game will come to them on Saturday.
“The last few years it’s been close, but we’re not trying to have those games no more… especially with Tennessee,” Fulwood said. “To me it’s just been to go out and play and just do our job and we’ll be alright. It’s seemed to work very well for us the last two years.”
One key element the Gator offense will face is a pretty stout Tennessee defensive line. Fulwood believes if the guys up front can hold their own there, the offense will run as planned.
“They’ve got some guys up front that can give you some problems,” he said. “If we can handle them, we’ll be successful.”
He likes the way his offensive line is performing and believes they will be up for the task. Much maligned a year ago, the Florida offensive line is starting to have many more good moments than bad ones.
“I mean, they’re doing a killer job up front,” Fulwood said. “I mean, we need to transition over to this week because, I mean, they’ve got some guys up front that can give you some problems. They’re doing a good job and we’re just gonna keep riding on their back.”
Fulwood says the older guys have gotten to the point where they don’t let away crowds bother them
“It’s a little different,” he said about being in Knoxville like he was a couple of years ago. “The orange is a different shade. Other than that, when you’re on the field playing, you don’t even notice the people.
“I’m more experienced, so I’ve been around that loud environment. It’s more for the young guys, you know, because when you go out there, you literally can’t hear yourself think. It’s just time to buckle down. You’ve got to be even more focused, even more detailed with your work.
Finally, Fulwood abided a bit and admitted what has made this week maybe a little more intense in terms of guys getting pumped. It kind of all started when the national pundits started picking Tennessee ahead of Florida in the SEC East this year
“Them thinking they can beat us,” he said has him and his teammates riled. “That’s pretty much it. All the hype on social media and stuff like that, all that crazy stuff, probably. But when it comes down to it, they’ve still got to play us."
He adds why he believes it is kind of rubbish.
“Because they haven’t done it recently,” he said.