While the pageantry and the passion of the Southeastern Conference runs deep regardless of the university, the traditions that exist at Tennessee are that much more special for a father and son.
No gator chomp. No bowing to the houndstooth.
When Dillon Bates decided to be a Tennessee Volunteer in July 2013, he selected a path blazed decades before by his father Bill Bates."Ever since I was little, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps," Dillon said. "This is the right path, and I'm kind of starting to try to fill those big shoes."
Now, the special relationship the two have on the gridiron elevates that much more with Bill seeing Dillon run through the T created by the Pride of the Southland Band.
"To be able to walk out there on that field and have the chill bumps come up my back again about being here…felt great, believe me. Hopefully it will continue to be that way once he gets out here and shows the coaches what he can do. Still he's got to do the work and he's got to prove to those coaches that he's a player."
The special becomes extra special tonight at 7.
For more on the season opener with the Utah State Aggies visiting Neyland Stadium, click play on the InsideTennessee Insider Report below: