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VOLS VLAD RICHARD: 'I got a lot of grief about not going to Florida.'

Gator Clause caught up with Tennessee offensive lineman Vlad Richard on Wednesday.

Richard is a graduate of Piper High in Broward County. He's considered one of the Vols' best guards although he is currently battling through an Achilles heel injury. Richard will start on Saturday despite the injury. He's one of three starting offensive linemen who might play injured on Saturday. 

Richard, a senior who graduated in May with a degree in legal studies, had some pretty interesting things to say about Saturday's game against the Florida Gators, but first we wanted to ask him about that Tennessee billboard in his hometown.

Vlad GATOR CLAUSE: "Was it your idea to put that billboard down in Broward?"

RICHARD: [LAUGHS] "I heard it looks great. Tell me about it."

GATOR CLAUSE: "It's say, 'It's time.' It's got Eric Berry on a big billboard. It's on Oakland Park Boulevard and I-95."

RICHARD: "Oh, it's right there. That's around my neck of the woods. It's right by B.A. It's time we gave Tennessee some love down there."

GATOR CLAUSE: "How important is it for Coach Kiffin's staff to get back down to South Florida?"

RICHARD: "Oh, it's very important. Some of the best athletes in the world, in the nation, are from down in Florida, so being that we're going into The Swamp, into the No.1-ranked team in the nation's house -- go out there and pull out a win -- it's going to be big for recruiting. It's going to be big for the coaching staff. We already know what kind of coaching staff we have. Smart guys. They stay up all times of the night. They just work very hard and prepare and when you know you have coaches like that that are giving up their family time and just their own free time to prepare. It's just great to know.

"Being able to go down there and get a win is going to be big for recruits to understand that we have a special staff here."

GATOR CLAUSE: "Vlad, what's the No.1 thing you're proudest of throughout your college career?"

RICHARD: "I guess just staying humble and being myself and coming here. I got a lot of grief about not going to Florida and we haven't won in three years or whatever, so it's just all my friends and my family, you know, 'You should have been a Gator,' or what not. I feel like I made the right decision for myself. I'm the one who had to live through it and go through it. Going to Florida I might of had a national championship and SEC championship and all that stuff but I was looking at a bigger picture. I felt by coming here I got a better experience in life and what I wanted to do, which was better myself for my future."

-jo-

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