HOOVER, Ala. — Josh Dobbs says there’s a new Tennessee mindset, and the Vols quarterback took care not to stray from the game plan of preaching taking one game at a time.
The most obvious and important storyline with championship implications through the first two days has centered around the Sept. 24 showdown between defending East division champ Florida and preseason favorite Tennessee at Neyland Stadium.
The Gators, winners of 11 straight in the series, have been comfortable talking about looking forward to playing the Vols, expressing supreme confidence.
Coach Butch Jones said he’s all about “freedom of speech,” but the Vols sounded like a rehearsed group when it came to discussing the pivotal Florida game on Tuesday at the SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel.
“Every game is an important game for the program, (and) you lose a game it has the same amount of meaning in the win and loss column, so every game is an important game, so that’s our mindset,” said Dobbs, who was 10-of-17 passing for 83 yards and had 136 yards rushing on 18 carries in last season’s 28-27 loss in Gainesville, Fla.
“Our mindset might have changed since the past, but the new Tennessee, the new mindset is every game is important and we’re focused on what we can do today to help us out once the season comes.”
Dobbs took several questions about the Vols’ failures against the Gators in stride, handling himself like the rising senior that he is by maintaining his composure with a steady tone and disposition.
“We’re self-motived,” Dobbs said when told Florida’s Jarrad Davis said he loves playing UT because the Gators have won each time. “We’re not really worried about what outside people are saying about our program.
“We’re a very competitive team, so we’re just looking for the opportunity to play on Sept. 1, so when each game comes, we’ll handle them. Each week is a one game season.”
Dobbs seemed to acknowledge that the Florida game means much more to the vast majority of Tennessee fans than other games, but he stuck to his guns when it came to the Vols’ approach to the Gators.
“We’re aware of our fans, we appreciate how strong our fanbase is, how supportive our fanbase is, away and home games,” Dobbs said, asked if he knew how much more the Florida game meant to UT fans.
“Every loss hurts, no loss really sticks out. Every time you lose, you’re upset. If you’re a true competitor you don’t want to lose at anything.”