Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel isn’t trying to act like the outside noise surrounding the matchup with Florida this weekend doesn’t exist.

Heupel understands that it’s not possible to entirely block out the outside noise that’s inevitably seeping into the program this week.

So instead of trying to block out the noise, Heupel wants his team to embrace the noise.

In Heupel’s view, it’s a privilege to have the outside noise.

“The outside noise, the opportunity that’s here, you work to have these opportunities,” said Heupel. “Early in the week, I told our players to enjoy the fact we have this opportunity. But that has nothing to do with how we play, we have to prepare the right way.”

“It’s impossible to block out the noise in today’s world,” added Heupel. “It’s absolutely impossible. They’re going to see it and hear it. You can’t let it affect what matters, which is your preparation. Everyone wants to win on game day. You gotta do what it takes to win. So I think that’s important. Our kids should be and are excited about this one. It’s always big when we play Florida. So embrace that at the beginning of the week. And then be consistent.”

“If you guys (media) were out at practice, the energy, it’s not a whole lot different. We’re business-like in our approach. Our kids have a much better understanding of how to prepare. Now we have to finish it and go play.”

I’m sure Heupel isn’t the first coach that’s had this approach. However, it’s not the usual approach we see. Typically, coaches want players to block out all the outside noise. But Heupel recognizes that asking his players to do that would be a futile request.

Most of what Heupel does just makes sense. He doesn’t give fans a lot of head-scratching moments. This is another example of Heupel’s logic being sound.

The Vols and the Gators kick off at 2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET on CBS on Saturday.

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