ATLANTA — A trio of Florida Gator student-athletes took part in the 2018 SEC Media Days and discussed the Tennessee rivalry and one of their former coaches that is now coaching for the Vols.
Jeremy Pruitt hired Chris Rumph as co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach to his first UT staff. Rumph served as Florida’s defensive line coach from 2015-16 and as defensive coordinator in 2017.
“Tennessee is getting a great guy,” defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson said of Rumph. “He was like a father away from home for me. He would always just talk to us and you knew that somebody in the room needed to hear him each and every day. There was not a day that went by that he was not dropping knowledge and helping us become better men.
“Tennessee is really getting a family man that will give you his shirt off his back and won’t think twice about it. He and his family are good genuine, loving and caring people. Tennessee is lucky.”
Linebacker David Reese also thinks highly of Rumph.
“I hope Coach Rumph has great success during the season because I love that guy to death,” Reese said. “He is a great guy and has great character.”
As far as the rivalry between Florida and Tennessee, all three enjoy the game that has been decided by 18 total points in the last four meetings.
“We beat them on the last play, they are going to be looking to get back at us and try to win at their own stadium,” offensive lineman Martez Ivey said of the last-second win in 2017. “I am going to treat it like a regular game this year and do our assignments. We are going to do what we need to do and get the win.”
Reese said “it is definitely a fun game” against Tennessee.
“My little league running back was John Kelly, so it was fun to catch back up with him and play against him one last time. It was a great game (last year) and I feel like it should have not been as close as it was and should not have came down to what it came down to.”