Most teams avoid providing bulletin board material to their opponents, especially during game week. This week the Florida Gators have built the board, filled it and sent it with to Knoxville with an orange and blue bow.
Quincy Wilson — flanked on either side by Jalen Tabor and Marcus Maye — wasted little time getting his message across to reporters following practice Tuesday.
“We have a message from DBU to Tennessee,” Wilson said as he walked up to reporters. “Have you ever seen a duck pull a truck? Ducks don’t pull trucks. Nobody has ever seen a duck pull a truck. Florida Gators are going to win, simple as that.”
What do ducks and trucks have to do with the Florida-Tennessee rivalry, the game this Saturday, or, really, anything for that matter?
“Tennessee is the duck and we’re the truck,” Wilson said when asked who was who. “It’s just a metaphor.”
A quick search revealed the full saying to be, “Now if I tell you a duck can pull a truck, then shut up and hook the sucker up.” Still pretty ambiguous and Wilson didn’t offer up much else as to what the meaning was. Which brings us back to a guarantee, enough of the duck trucks; did you just guarantee a win this Saturday?
“Yeah, we’re going to go out there and play Gator football and win,” Wilson said when asked about guaranteeing a win Saturday. “I know what type of players we have on our team. I know what everybody can do, what we show in practice, how hard we go. I know that we can’t be stopped.”
The Florida players have taken the Tennessee hype personally. That much was evident all offseason as the Vols were talked about as College Football Playoff Contenders, SEC East Champions and picked to beat Florida. The Gators haven’t shied away from making their perceived lack of disrespect known and has made this year’s edition of the rivalry all the more intense.
“Them thinking they can beat us. That’s pretty much it. All the hype on social media and stuff like that, all that crazy stuff, probably,” Ahmad Fulwood said when asked why this year is so intense. “But when it comes down to it, they’ve still got to play us.”
For all the trash talk that Florida has hurled up north to Rocky Top, that one sentiment remains the driving for behind it all. The Florida Gators believe that they’re the better team, that they have better players and that they have better coaches. They can’t envision a world where Tennessee beats Florida, probably because most of them where in grade school the last time it happened. After Florida pulled off a fourth quarter comeback in 2015 Jim McElwain told the media that his message to the players was “you just don’t lose to Tennessee.” That means embracing the streak, the pressure, the hostile environment and everything that comes along with it. It’s not just the next game on the schedule. Presbyterian in November will be “just the next game on the schedule.” This is Florida-Tennessee. Ask James Bates about this game, or new football advisor Steve Spurrier. McElwain recognizes that and he’s making sure the team knows what they’re playing for this week.
“Oh it means everything. We can’t give up that streak,” Wilson said. “We’re definitely going in and giving it all we’ve got.”