Football might just be a game but in so many cases it can also be an outlet or an escape. That’s the case for a group of vols that are from Florida, as the state is beginning to feel the impact of Hurricane Irma. At least 15 players are either from Florida or have family in the state.
“Whenever I'm on the field, all my worries just go away," said sophomore running back Carlin Fils-aime. "It’s always about now in the moment. That’s one of the things Coach Jones emphasized this was living in the moment." And you know it just felt great being on the field with the guys, giving everything to them and knowing they have my back.
Carlin Fils-aime ran for 41 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries Saturday night, but now that the game is over, his thoughts are with his family down in Naples.
“My mom and dad wanted to come up to North Carolina, but Pops wanted to wait it out a little bit and it ended up being too late, so they're staying home with shutters. And, my biological father, I don’t know what’s going on with him, I talked to him and he doesn't know what he's going to do yet with the family. As soon as I’m done here I’ll call him and check up on him.”
Others have family members joining them here in Knoxville. Wide receiver Brandon Johnson's family attended the game, and will likely stay to wait out the storm.
“Tennessee as a whole as been doing a good job making sure everybody whose family is from Florida is taken care of. But, my family is here and they enjoyed the game, and I can’t wait to hang out with them afterwards."
Coach Jones and the staff at Tennessee have stepped in to assist all the player’s families that will be affected by Irma.
"We’re going to help them and do everything we possibly can to assists them," said Jones. "We’ve been in touch with them and we’re working on taking care of their individual needs."
Tennessee has not spoken with the University of Florida on whether any changes need to be made to next week's matchup.