After a 38-28 victory over Florida (3-1, 1-1) last Saturday, the Vols (4-0, 1-0) will travel to Georgia this weekend to take on the No. 25 ranked Bulldogs in their first away game of the season.
A passionate and long awaited win for players and fans, the Florida game that ended the 11-year winning drought in the Vol and Gator rivalry could make it easy to overlook the next opponent.
That cannot be done though and bringing the highest level of competition to the field is what the Vols are intending to do for their road game this weekend.
“(Florida) was definitely an emotional win. But we realized that you don’t win a season off one game and it takes a lot of games to put it all together, so we’re really focused on this game,” Junior Todd Kelly Jr. said on Tuesday. “In Georgia, 90,000 fans are going to be screaming; and Sanford Stadium is going to be loud, so we’ve got to focus in against a great team that were playing and come in with the same enthusiasm as we did last week.”
Senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs explained that he and his team are expecting a dogfight coming into this weekend. Tennessee knows nothing is going to be given and this game, just like any other, will have to be played until the last down.
“You don’t really know what to expect going into each game. You just prepare. Prepare to execute at a high level. Any time you go on the road in the SEC, you have to be ready to play a full 60-minute game and we are ready to do that,” Dobbs said.
The win against Florida sparked obvious celebrations, and Dobbs noted the excitement surrounding the win along with Derek Barnett. But Dobbs, Kelly and Barnett all three made point that practice yesterday was business as usual and that win was just another game in the past.
While Barnett compared practice to a snap and clear mindset, head coach Butch Jones and his staff have implemented focusing on the next game and coming in prepared for what it may bring.
“We had a good team win, we celebrated it; but now it’s a new week and we’re ready and were preparing for Georgia, and we have to do things correctly to get this W,” Barnett said.
Preparing for this next game both mentally and physically, the saying “next man up” has quickly become a known aphorism for the Vols after facing injuries early on in the season.
Barnett, Dobbs and Kelly all three spoke of telling young players to be ready, that the moment they are needed can come at any time and that has been evident after during both the Ohio and Florida games.
“I kinda told the younger guys to expect the unexpected and when your name is called to be ready. So with that, being said being focused and being locked in throughout the week of practice and preparation,” Kelly said.