Vanderbilt coach James Franklin knows about his team's poor past against Florida.
The Commodores haven’t beaten Florida since 1988 and haven’t won in Gainesville since 1945. Franklin knows all that, but as he gets ready to take his team down to the Swamp, neither he nor his players are thinking about the past.
They aren’t worrying about it and they aren’t concerned about getting too hyped up about possibly beating a struggling Florida team.
Franklin said Wednesday that Vanderbilt’s only focus is on getting a win over another conference opponent, and it just so happens that the Gators are that opponent.
“We don’t talk about things like that,“ Franklin said. “It’s not a focus for us. Where we’re at as a program, every win, every week is a significant win for us. We don’t look at one game or one venue, whether it’s out of conference, whether it’s in conference, as any more significant than the other. We try to be the best Vanderbilt we can be, week in and week out. We want to be at the end of this week. That’s our schedule and our philosophy in how we do things around here.”
Franklin and his team have had that mindset the entire year, and it’s worked. The Commodores are two wins away from becoming bowl eligible, after combining for four wins in the past two years.
To start thinking about one game being bigger than the next would derail the plan Franklin set forth for his squad this year.
“When you get into ‘This is a big game,’ or ‘This is a big venue,’ or ‘This game is more important than that,‘ you start to overlook what your emphasis needs to be,” he said. “Our emphasis is just being the best Vanderbilt that we can be.”
Franklin also said that wide receiver Jonathan Krause was limited in practice this week after taking an ugly hit from Arkansas’ Marquel Wade while trying to field a punt last week. Though Krause returned to the game, Franklin wasn’t sure if he would play against Florida Saturday.
Wade was ejected from the game and was suspended for one game by the SEC this week for his hit. Franklin was asked about how he felt about Wade’s suspension and said he didn’t necessarily agree with the suspension, but felt the situation was handled correctly last week.
“I felt like the officials handled it the way they were supposed to handle it during the game,” he said. “I thought the SEC did what they thought was appropriate this week.
“By no means did I feel like there was anybody trying to hurt anybody out on the field, but a mistake was made and we’ve moved on.”