WATCH: Tennessee HC Josh Heupel Previews Florida on Thursday

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    Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel against Pittsburgh. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel met with the media on Thursday in advance of the Top 25 matchup between Tennessee and Florida this Saturday in Knoxville.

    Heupel began by giving a quick recap of the week before moving on to talk about Florida. The second-year Tennessee coach spoke about the challenges of facing Florida with their defensive line, quarterback Anthony Richardson, and more.

    Josh Heupel also spoke quite a bit about the environment in Knoxville this weekend with all the outside noise happening. Heupel said that while it’s impossible to block out 100 percent of the outside noise, he has encouraged his players to embrace this moment. Not going overboard in their excitement, but embracing the reward of the big-time matchup after all the hard work that was put into the season.

    “Because it is impossible to block out the noise in today’s world. It is absolutely impossible,” Heupel said on Thursday. “So, they are going to see it and hear it. You can’t let it affect what matters, which is the preparation. Everybody is going to want to win on game day. You have to do what it takes to win. I think that is important. Our kids should be, and are excited about this one. It is always big when we play Florida. So, embrace that at the beginning of the week, and then be consistent. If you guys were out at practice, you know the energy. You have heard me speak, it is not a whole lot different. We are business-like in our approach. Our kids have a much better understanding of how to prepare, and now we have to finish it and go play.”

    Heupel also spoke about how important the atmosphere will be for the recruits in town this weekend.

    “It starts when we load the buses and drive over,” Heupel said. “You can see the fans along the river, whether that’s on the boats or tailgating on the other side of it. When you get out for the Vol Walk and there are 40,000 people, there’s nothing like it in college sports. Recruiting-wise, it’s a huge weekend for us. You don’t do anything that takes away from your preparation or your player’s preparation, the game is the most important thing. Those moments that you have an opportunity to, the recruiting piece is vital to the continued growth of our program.”

    More from RTI: Tennessee Football Preview: Florida

    Check out the full press conference from Tennessee HC Josh Heupel below.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.