KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel spoke to the media Thursday, two days ahead of the Volunteers matchup with no. 11 Florida in Gainesville.
Heupel didn’t give a status on starting quarterback Joe Milton but did say he was on the practice field for Thursday’s walk through.
“Joe’s gotten some work here during the course of the week,” said Heupel. “We’ll find out more tomorrow with him.”
Tennessee does expect center Cooper Mays to return to the lineup after missing the last two games with an ankle injury.
“I anticipate Coop being back with us and Jerome (Carvin) being able to slide back over to guard,” said Heupel.
Saturday’s matchup with Florida will be strength against strength when the Gators have the ball. Florida averages 335.7 yards per game on the ground, that’s 2nd in the nation. Tennessee has one of the better run defenses in the country, giving up just 54.3 yards per game.
“They’re big, strong and physical up front. With the quarterback run game they have the ability to play 11 on 11 and make the numbers right,” said Heupel. You got to be disciplined with their power read, their speed option, all the ways they force you to have a dive quarterback and pitch play.”
It’s been nearly two years since the Tennessee players have went on the road and played in a hostile environment. October 19th, 2019 at Alabama is the last time they played on the road in front of more than 60,000 fans. The Tennessee coaching staff has been piping in crowd noise and music to emulate the noise level at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.
“You try to create and simulate the issues that it causes as far as communication,” said Heupel. “We got to do a great job of seeing, recognizing, and communicating and being clean as far as pre-snap penalties. It’s a big emphasis from us all week long.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game at the Swamp in Gainesville is set for 7pm on ESPN.