Vols looking ahead?

Since Tennessee must face top-10 opponents Florida (Sept. 17) and LSU (Sept. 24) in Games 2 and 3, the Vols might be tempted to look past unheralded Alabama-Birmingham in Game 1 today at Neyland Stadium.

Vol coach Phillip Fulmer says it won't happen, however. He's convinced his troops are not looking ahead to Game 2.

"I don't think that's the case," he said. "Florida's a long way away. I haven't heard one person say one thing except about getting Tennessee better and getting ready for UAB."

Certainly, the Blazers deserve Tennessee's attention based on recent performances against SEC teams. They beat LSU in 2000, played Georgia to a three-point loss two years ago in Athens and trounced Mississippi State by two touchdowns last fall in Starkville. Fulmer reminded his charges of these games earlier this week.

"We've talked about all those things -- losing to Georgia 16-13, beating LSU in 2000," Fulmer said. "They're aware of that."

Another reason for UT to be wary of this game is that you never know quite what to expect in an opener.

"First games are always tough because of the unknown," Fulmer said. "You can't cover everything that might come up, and you don't know how the young guys are going to play."

After a pause, he added: "They (Blazers) could come out and run a spread-option offense. Who knows? We might, too."

That was an interesting choice of words. First-year coach Urban Meyer has installed the spread-option at Florida.

Nobody's looking ahead, huh?

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