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SPIKES: Tennessee "not as tough" as Gators

Thoughts on UF linebacker Brandon Spikes' bulletin-board material ...

GAINESVILLE -- Brandon Spikes has no friends in Knoxville, Tenn., -- not after his comments earlier this week about the Tennessee Volunteers.

Spikes told reporters on Monday that Tennessee "quit playing" during last season's rivalry game against Florida. Florida won 59-20.

"They kind of gave up," Spikes said. "Our whole program is about, backed up against the wall, you've got to keep fighting. We saw them give up. ... They quit playing."

Want to add a little spice to a local pick-up basketball game? Call your opponents quitters. Want to set off a raging firestorm of hate before one of the biggest Southeastern Conference college football games of the season? Call Tennessee a bunch of sorry quitters.

And you thought LSU's Tigers Stadium was a hostile crowd last season. Ha! In all my years, I've learned two certainties of life.

1. Women.
2. Call a redneck a redneck and he takes it as a compliment. Call a redneck a quitter, and you might as well have spit on his momma.

Spikes ended his brilliance with this: "I know they are going to be pretty jacked up."

What Spikes meant to say: "I know they are going to try and jack me up."

OK, to put this whole controversy into some kind of perspective, you've got to know the context of Spikes' remarks. The story begins with a dude by the name of Derek Baldry.

Derek Baldry was pretty much the toughest son of a gun to ever play football in the SEC. How can I possibly write such a statement about a walk-on? Well, Baldry was a journalism major and ... OK, that Baldry majored in journalism has nothing to do with this story.

Baldry didn't know much about football before he walked on the team in 2006. Here's what Baldry did before he walked on the team: Fought in the mountains of Afghanistan as an Army Ranger. (I wrote a story about this last year.) Quitting really isn't an option for those guys.

Now, knowing Baldry's background, you can fully appreciate the surprise he felt last year when a Tennessee lineman told Baldry not to bother blocking him on an extra point attempt late in the game. The Tennessee lineman told Baldry he had no intention of trying to block the kick.

Baldry relayed this message to his teammates and reporters last year and reporters brought the story up again on Monday. (As good reporters are prone to do.) Spikes obliged by talking about Baldry's story. (Tennessee, by the way, denied that this happened.)

"That kind of surprised me, for him saying I don't want to rush," Spikes said. "But I know they are not really as tough as us."

That a Tennessee player would actually quit trying was a big topic among the Gators last season, according to Spikes. Especially since the story came from Baldry, who is pretty much the essence of toughness and integrity.

Spikes said he had never experienced anything like that, especially "at this level." Of course, Spikes also told reporters that he has observed Tennessee quitting before and he really wasn't that surprised. (No clue what Spikes meant by that statement other than to inflame this rivalry.)

OK, now for some real talk. I don't really think it matters much that a Tennessee player told Baldry last year that he wasn't going to try and block an extra point. Not a big deal, as far as I'm concerned. Tennessee was losing badly and the extra point didn't matter.

And if you try and tell me some cliche like, "Goody, all plays matter and Florida Gators never quit on any play," I'll just have to remind you that Tennessee won the SEC East last year and nearly beat LSU in the SEC championship game.

What is interesting about all this? For the second game in a row, a Florida "team leader" talked some major smack before playing a rival. (I have nothing against this but I don't think UF coach Urban Meyer likes it much.) Receiver Louis Murphy called out Miami in similar fashion two weeks ago.

Murphy got the muzzle but his teammates apparently didn't get the message.

-jo-   

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Defensive coordinator John Chavis isn't making any promises about an improved performance against the Gators on Saturday.
"There's no guarantees it won't happen again like that," Chavis said. "If we knew those things we'd just go cut bait and go fishing and go do something else,"

So I ask, was Spikes talking trash or speaking the truth?

pretty hard spin on this story line, don't you think? to say someone quit while getting drilled late in the game is not necessarily "trash talk." truth is the truth.

Seriously, Richie?

"That kind of surprised me, for him saying I don't want to rush," Spikes said. "But I know they are not really as tough as us."

-jo-

.. As long as B. Spikes has 12-15 tackles he can say whatever he wants, if we stops the run UT will be doomed. point blank period. i also understand let a sleeping dog sleep. I'm glad to hear our big time MLB confident. Jo, what's your score prediction?

gaGator,

Have you ever seen Brandon Spikes? That guy can afford to say whatever he wants anytime. Basically, if you really want to scare someone on Halloween, dress up as Brandon Spikes.

-Predictions coming later today or tomorrow.

-jo-

Its going to be a long day for Tennessee. Crompton is horrible as UT has not found a rythem on offense so far.
Tennessee also had 15-20,000 empty seats in their home opener and the fans that did show up were too busy booing the home team the first half.
As for Spikes...meh. He should have kept his mouth shut and I hope Meyer has a long talk with the team about this sort of thing but what he said is true. Ive been scouting out the UT message boards and blogs and most seem to agree with Spikes comments.

UF-31 UT-13

What round will Tim Tebow get drafted or is he staying this year?

What are scouts saying about Tim Tebow's NFL ability?

I detest "trash-talk" and "disrespecting opponent" and saying "anything" that can be used as "bulletin board" material.
Spikes is an idiot for 3 reasons:
1. Disrespecting "anybody' should never be an option!
2. Urban Meyer certainly should be against it and if his reaction to Murphy's comments before the Miami game are an indication, then Urban also detests it.
3. To "inflame" your opponent is ALWAYS stupid. "Most" of the time that comes back to haunt you. Did you see Murphy's ineptitude for 3 quarters vs miami? Was that a coincidence?

Who gives a rats a s s about Tebow's NFL ability. He'll be some schmuck at the bottom of a depth chart. His style is a college style, not an NFL. that said, he is one bad a s s college football player. Just ask about two dozen different teams or coaches.

TooManyChampionships...

Tebow has been more then verbal about his desires to play all 4 years and finish school.
Do you not follow UF football that much?

Meyer could easily gag order the team...It is certainly possible he allows these leaks. He allows a leak, and then feigns to cover it up to look like a good guy.

Emotion works many ways in competitive athletics. The Gators offensive struggles last weak were very much proportional to HArvin's % health. Speed alone does not win games. HArvin has speed, strength, and football ability beyond most collegians....this was evident all the way back to 2006 team...

GatorTime,

That's a great piont and something I've thought about several times. After all, it's not like just anyone is talking trash. It has been Louis Murphy and Brandon Spikes. Last year, Bubba Caldwell seemed like the designated voice of brazen disregard.

-jo-

TooManyChampionships,

When pressed last season before the Heisman ceremony, Tebow told me that he was definitely staying four years. He has backed away from that statement this season, saying several times that he will make that decision after the season.

My hunch: I've spoken off the record with several NFL scouts about this. Tebow will probably come back for his fourth year regardless of what happens in 2008. I can only think of one thing that could change this.

-jo-

I like this. I actually really like this, alot. Our All SEC, future first round draft pick MLB has the nuts to call out a bitter rival - and were going on the road.

This Gator defense is starting to turn a corner. With a statement made against this Tennessee (JV) team, their bringing the swagger's back. Bring on Georgia.

Look up last years quotes from Tenn. Players. THEY said themselves that some of the players quit. Tenn coaches can spin this anyway they want but the fact is they said it after last years game.

Tennessee definitely changing its story but who cares, right? I kind of agree with Jo's a Dip. Ha!

-jo-

When I set up my typepad account the names " Jo's A Jerk" and" Jo Hates The Gators" and even "Jo's Responsible for the Military Uprising in Georgia" were all taken. I'm p i ss e d about this.

I don't think Tim is losing any sleep over UT player comments.

Jo--

Did the offer from the National Inquirer come in yet?

Do you know where I can find a Gators helmet to wear when I go in the backyard?

why wouldn't tennessee give up? we almost dropped 60 on them!

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