No. 10 Gators hoping to avoid Poole party vs. Vols

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole pushes off Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. The run was a 31-yard gain for the Vols on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole pushes off Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. The run was a 31-yard gain for the Vols on the game's first play from scrimmage.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — With Lane Kiffin gone, the focus of the Florida-Tennessee series has shifted from coaches to players, from the sideline to the field. And nothing has dominated this Southeastern Conference rivalry like the ground game.

The team with more yards rushing has won 18 of the past 20 meetings, a staggering statistic that past and present coaches Steve Spurrier, Philip Fulmer, Ron Zook, Urban Meyer, Kiffin and newcomer Derek Dooley probably know as well as their playbooks.

The 10th-ranked Gators (2-0) are certain it will be the key again Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn., especially after watching Tauren Poole the past two weeks.

"Our defense wants to kill the run, period," linebacker Brandon Hicks said.

Poole leads the conference in rushing. He ran 17 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee's opener against Tennessee-Martin and was even better last week against then-No. 7 Oregon. He finished with 162 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

He gouged the Ducks for 111 yards in the first quarter, ripping off runs of 39, 31 and 23 yards. Oregon pulled away late and won 48-13, but Poole caught the eye of Florida players and coaches who watched the game and broke every play down on video.

"He looks like a veteran right now," defensive line coach Dan McCarney said. "He's strong, he's physical, he's running through tackles, he spins, he's got a low center of gravity, he's a good blocker. He's playing like a guy that's been a two-year starter rather than this is his first opportunity to play."

Poole, a 5-foot-11, 213-pound junior from Toccoa, Ga., waited his turn behind Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty. Both backs were NFL starters this summer before Hardesty injured his left knee in the preseason.

Poole could be next.

"I'm just kind of rolling with it and take each play as it is," he said.

Running against Florida should be his toughest test. It's been quite the challenge for Tennessee (1-1) the past five seasons, even with Foster and Hardesty in the backfield.

The Volunteers had 305 yards rushing in those games, well below their average and considerably fewer than the Gators (799 yards). Not surprisingly, Florida won them all.

Poole, though, doesn't want to put too much pressure on himself to turn things around.

"I'm coming in with the same mindset I have every week," he said. "I know I am going to have to step up and do great things for this team. I don't think things have changed with me. I look at each opponent like they are Florida or Alabama. That is just the way I am. I don't try to make it into something that it's not. I approach it on a professional level each game."

The Gators are taking a stop-Poole-or-else approach. They know Tennessee ranks 15th in the nation in rushing and is averaging a league-best 6.5 yards a carry.

"Tennessee has always been a running team almost," Hicks said. "We can't let them pierce our defense. We feel like no teams can come through our defense and just run all down our throats. We feel like that's not going to happen at all. Stuff may happen, but our plan is to basically get a three-and-out almost every series."

It sounds good, but it might not be that easy.

South Florida ran for 244 yards at Florida last week, averaging 6.3 yards a carry. Quarterback B.J. Daniels did most of the damage (17-107), but running back Demetri Murray (11-62, TD) was also effective.

McCarney said defenders made wrong reads and missed open-field tackles — something they can't do against Tennessee.

"We gave up too many rushing yards last week," McCarney said. "We've got to improve and we're working on that. This team comes at you. It's zone, it's power, it's lead draw, they know what they're doing. ... As we all know, you go on the road, you better play great defense to have a chance to win in the SEC."

Only twice since 1990 has the team with fewer rushing yards won in this series.

It happened in 2000, when Travis Henry ran roughshod over the Gators but the Vols settled for five field goals. Florida pulled out a 27-23 victory thanks to Jabar Gaffney's disputed TD catch in the fourth quarter.

It happened again in 2002, when Florida used a big passing day from Rex Grossman to overcome a small deficit on the ground.

It hasn't happened since, though, making the game plan an easy one for the Gators.

"They're definitely a smash-mouth, power football team, and we've got to pride ourself on stopping the run," defensive end Justin Trattou said. "For the D-line and the front seven, it's definitely a big week for us."

___

AP Sports Writer Beth Rucker in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this report.

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Comments » 68

SpiralBound writes:

I hope Tauren ends up with 150 again. It'd be a nice treat going into a week against UAB.

CRFVols writes:

Let's hope our defense can stuff their run game at least equally, and hopefully our offense will be able to stay on the field to give our D plenty of rest. I think we have a good chance to win this one.

Go Vols!

volsfannsc writes:

The passing game will have to set up the run game. If nothing else, the dink and dunk can widen the box. Just hope Simms and Stocker are ready to get the chemistry together.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I hope David has his sling ready.

Big task.

rockytopatl writes:

They will put 8 or 9 in the box and force us to throw. Simms will have to step up or it will be a long day.

Mule_Days_King writes:

Sounds like UF "D" has basically called out the UT O-line.
Trench warfare in the SEC. Doesn't get any better.
Let the "big uglies" roll.

TKO writes:

No doubt a challenge. I hope the best for the young man. He has certainly paid his dues.

VOLliven2it writes:

Run Tauren, Run! The Gators have a very good defense and will challenge the run. I hope we can make some effective and even damaging pass plays to set up Poole. If we do not have a Poole party with his having a big day and the unspecial teams do not become special we may be sunk. I just hope we see a wire to wire all out effort from the men in Orange and White. No doubt the Gators will play hard. We can win. It will just take all we have and then some. Of course some mistakes from a very good FL offense would be nice too. GO VOLS SEC TIME HAS ARRIVED!

TKO writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

They will put 8 or 9 in the box and force us to throw. Simms will have to step up or it will be a long day.

Good point. What worries me are the disguises that Florida will throw at Simms. Falling back into coverage worries me more than the eight man rush.

gnm53108 writes:

Looks like it could be a low scoring game.

But who expected auburn and miss st to be a defensive struggle?

Get em Tauren.

Go VOLS!

Neyland writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin the (REAL coach) had his chance with more depth and more experienced players and didnt get it done. Lay off the paotie (not sure if thats spelled right) come back to earth and deal with we are rebuilding. I think we have a chance if Simms can hit his receivers, protect the ball and quit staring down recievers. Florida has excellent dbs and have to be respected but challenged at times. GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to volsfannsc:

The passing game will have to set up the run game. If nothing else, the dink and dunk can widen the box. Just hope Simms and Stocker are ready to get the chemistry together.

Thinking the same thing. Our best chance for an upset is to pull some surprises and I would not be surprised if DD starts off with the short passing game to loosen up the D. I believe in Simms and I feel he can do it against the UF defense. I just hope Chaney works with him this week to go to his 2nd and 3rd receivers.

SavTnVol writes:

I got to admit that I'm just not a Simms fan yet. I've not really seen anything impressive about him. He seems to lock eyes on targets, he either under throws deep routes or he over throws short to medium routes. He also seems to me to get flustered when the rush comes (ie: the bad throw for a pick 6 vs. Oregon). Stockers low output can be blamed on Simms also IMO. Bray didn't seem to have any problem hitting Stocker after an adjustment. Now I'm not saying that Bray is ready just yet, but I do believe he is the future for the Vols.But at the same time, I'm just not sure that Simms is ready at this time either..lessor of two evils I assume!

allvols4life writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I dont normally reply to trolls, however, you have done your job well. You keep getting under my skin and I know that is your whole purpose in life. Kiffin is gone. He isn't coming back. If you love him so much, move to LA and become a USC fan. Otherwise, get over your man crush for the punk and start supporting the Coach that we have now, like him or not. Good day!

DavidB writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Im just curious if naffy was one of those kids that had to pin his address to his shirt when he went to school so he would remember where to go after school. Dude, wake up. I see your posts on here on a daily basis and I gotta believe whatever team your pulling for (we know it isnt the Vols) why not be a man and change your name to your team of choice.

jbocap writes:

1. Tennessee has proved they have talent to do what they need to (as they did in the 1st half against Oregon).
2. I expect Poole will have another breakout game!
3. I can't wait to see what Coach Wilcox and our defense will do to the Gator offense.
4. Our fans need to be the 12th man again.... BE LOUD !!!!!

GO VOLS !!!!! Tenn 24 - Florida 20

VolsToTheWall writes:

that stupid td catch still ticks me off.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to VolsToTheWall:

that stupid td catch still ticks me off.

Yep.

Total bull kaka.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

Hope for the best, expect the worst.

This where we are currently at in our football program. I am hoping Saturday is the day the blind squirrel finds an acorn.

CRFVols writes:

in response to VolsToTheWall:

that stupid td catch still ticks me off.

I'm with ya. I was in Egypt back then and got the game on VHS tape recorded. I kept watching it over and over wondering how they could call it a catch.

ClarksvilleVols42 writes:

in response to VolsToTheWall:

that stupid td catch still ticks me off.

Yep same here..If only we'd had the officals for the Lions-Bears game

FearTheVols1252 writes:

If Florida plays like they did the first two games, we win. If they've woken up and found their groove, it could be a tough day!

Go VOLS!

voloffaith writes:

in response to DavidB:

Im just curious if naffy was one of those kids that had to pin his address to his shirt when he went to school so he would remember where to go after school. Dude, wake up. I see your posts on here on a daily basis and I gotta believe whatever team your pulling for (we know it isnt the Vols) why not be a man and change your name to your team of choice.

naffy actually daffy has been here for some time and has been reinvented about 3-4 times(I've lost count). He is usually anti-white players and especially one qb of the Indianapolis Colts. Don't recall any positive post(not saying you didn't) at this time.

On topic, hope we have a Poole party after the game in a Vol victory by the hair of our chinny chin chin. Lord willin' c ya in Ktown!!

macmac102804 writes:

I'll never forget the pass that Gaffney dropped, I think about that game all the time...

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to VolsToTheWall:

that stupid td catch still ticks me off.

The TD catch, which was a bang bang play, bothers you does it?

Then you must feel absolutely HORRIBLE about the "slap game" where your DB slapped our WR in full view of the official, who never moved until there was a retaliation, then threw the 15 yard penalty, AND the refs "conveniently" forgot to restart the clock after marching it off, allowing UT JUST enough time to get into position to kick a 54 yard game winning FG.

I mean, if that one little bad call still upsets you after 10 years, then the refs cheating for you 6 years ago must absolutely keep you up at night.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to SpiralBound:

I hope Tauren ends up with 150 again. It'd be a nice treat going into a week against UAB.

Unlikely.

You barely have 5 OL as it is. If Pope is out, what are you going to do for a center?

Besides, Oregon only has one DT over 280 lbs, and he's a true frosh. UF's interior line is one of the best in the country, and won't be pushed around.

You can try and counter by saying USF ran on us, but they caught us off guard with the zone read option and lots of QB keepers. Kinda doubt you will be doing the same.

We have zero respect for Simms as a QB right now (not saying he can't come out and earn some), so expect a run-stop defense. Could be a long day for Poole.

Unless you unveil a passing game to loosen the defense, I'd say breaking 50 yards would be a good day for him.

BeRealistic writes:

I think the VOLS will play good in the early stages of the game, then lack of depth & experience starts showing. We just are not ready to play with the better SEC teams.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

We can't settle for FG's this week. When we get inside the 20 or 15, we have to score TDs at least 75% of the time. I think if we had put 21 points on the board instead of 13, the outcome of the Oregon game may have been different.

UT - 27
UF - 20

NeylandWest writes:

in response to Neyland:

Kiffin the (REAL coach) had his chance with more depth and more experienced players and didnt get it done. Lay off the paotie (not sure if thats spelled right) come back to earth and deal with we are rebuilding. I think we have a chance if Simms can hit his receivers, protect the ball and quit staring down recievers. Florida has excellent dbs and have to be respected but challenged at times. GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!

Simms isn't going to stop staring down his receivers after a week of study. That's too soon. We have to run and give our defense some time to regroup or we're gonna have another Oregon on our hands.

Either way, I like where this team is heading and I like your handle, Neyland.

CRFVols writes:

I love you people who come on here just to talk trash.

We need to make one of those "real men of genius" commercials for you.

mdvol writes:

I expect CDD to get Hunter and Rogers involved in more creative ways to utilize their speed. Turnovers will be key and I expect Janzen and company to make some plays. One positive from Oregon....when we blitzed, we usually got to the QB. 12th man makes the difference!

Vols win in a low scoring game.

We are going to surprise some damn people.
We will upset either Florida or Alabama.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

They will put 8 or 9 in the box and force us to throw. Simms will have to step up or it will be a long day.

I hope Simm's can but I'm worried for him. If he does not then I look for Bray to take over in the UAB game and Simm's becomes the backup. IF Bray cant show progress by years end then it will be wide open next year for a new recruit.

topgun writes:

in response to DavidB:

Im just curious if naffy was one of those kids that had to pin his address to his shirt when he went to school so he would remember where to go after school. Dude, wake up. I see your posts on here on a daily basis and I gotta believe whatever team your pulling for (we know it isnt the Vols) why not be a man and change your name to your team of choice.

Actually, nutty, or naffy, was born March 1, 2010, at 2:05PM on this site. He/she has made about 300 posts--mainly singing the praises of Kiffin, and has posted negative comments about almost anything VOL, including Peyton Manning and Coach Dooley, etc.,, ad nauseaum!!

If you are really intterested in any poster's history, simply click on their name and their profile will pop up.

Vols have a chance Sat., if UF plays the way they have in their first two games. Simms is the key to our win. UF will put 11 or 12 (it is UF, remember!) folks in the box to stop the run and dare UT to pass. 1 on 1 coverage on the outside??? GOVOLS!!

philly0664 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Thinking the same thing. Our best chance for an upset is to pull some surprises and I would not be surprised if DD starts off with the short passing game to loosen up the D. I believe in Simms and I feel he can do it against the UF defense. I just hope Chaney works with him this week to go to his 2nd and 3rd receivers.

WHAT? Short passing is a surprise? All Slimms can do is throw short passes. You don't just work with someone on their 2nd and 3rd recievers in one week. That was taught to him by his daddy when he was 8, News Flash! "He can't do it!" Honestly, don't you think his dad told him how to play QB? There's a reason why he was a JUCO and it wasn't his grades.

We are doomed for the next 2 years, I've been going to games since 82 and I have never seen a stretch of miserable QB play at UT. It's sad.

I hope Doley and the players remember to change their diapers at halftime...............

jobrando#216494 writes:

I know people at the past games have seen if the receivers are separating and if Matt is picking up on them. So is it the WR's or QB?????

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks Naf..great interpretation

CCLC writes:

in response to Neyland:

Kiffin the (REAL coach) had his chance with more depth and more experienced players and didnt get it done. Lay off the paotie (not sure if thats spelled right) come back to earth and deal with we are rebuilding. I think we have a chance if Simms can hit his receivers, protect the ball and quit staring down recievers. Florida has excellent dbs and have to be respected but challenged at times. GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!

peyote.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to philly0664:

WHAT? Short passing is a surprise? All Slimms can do is throw short passes. You don't just work with someone on their 2nd and 3rd recievers in one week. That was taught to him by his daddy when he was 8, News Flash! "He can't do it!" Honestly, don't you think his dad told him how to play QB? There's a reason why he was a JUCO and it wasn't his grades.

We are doomed for the next 2 years, I've been going to games since 82 and I have never seen a stretch of miserable QB play at UT. It's sad.

I hope Doley and the players remember to change their diapers at halftime...............

Based on your assessment of Matt this will be his last game. Bray will have to be ready to go in the UAB game. IF Bray has not progressed enough for the VOLS to win out in November then you are correct in my opinion. Add two more years of 6-6. If Bray shines then 7-8 wins next year.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

I hope Simm's can but I'm worried for him. If he does not then I look for Bray to take over in the UAB game and Simm's becomes the backup. IF Bray cant show progress by years end then it will be wide open next year for a new recruit.

Forget Bray.

I'm surprised you guys don't see what's happening here.

Dooley is sitting with a weak O line and knows his QB is going to take some serious shots this year and probably next from the pass rush.

So he's going to keep his prize QB on the bench where it's safe, and let his two year & gone guy deal with the two years of weak Olines, then he can send out a much more mature (and NOT physically beaten down) Bray to work with a now-experienced offensive line.

EverybodyDuck writes:

The Gators come with a ton of disrespect. Poole will get over a 100.
Tenn will score more than 10.

The interior D linemen for Fla are not better than Oregon.

If Simms hits a few passes, Tenn will get yards in massive chunks.

Make no mistake, this is a trap game for Fla. Contain Demps and Gators get beat. Badly.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Forget Bray.

I'm surprised you guys don't see what's happening here.

Dooley is sitting with a weak O line and knows his QB is going to take some serious shots this year and probably next from the pass rush.

So he's going to keep his prize QB on the bench where it's safe, and let his two year & gone guy deal with the two years of weak Olines, then he can send out a much more mature (and NOT physically beaten down) Bray to work with a now-experienced offensive line.

Go away..Simm's had complete protection by the O-line. These guys are getting fantastic coaching by the line coach.
Thanks for the comment. Watch the game next time. Surely you will.

CCLC writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

Forget Bray.

I'm surprised you guys don't see what's happening here.

Dooley is sitting with a weak O line and knows his QB is going to take some serious shots this year and probably next from the pass rush.

So he's going to keep his prize QB on the bench where it's safe, and let his two year & gone guy deal with the two years of weak Olines, then he can send out a much more mature (and NOT physically beaten down) Bray to work with a now-experienced offensive line.

Good post. but I don't believe he'll sit Bray for that long. Use Simms through the meat grinder of the season. Once the games become more manageable he will start to use Bray more and more. By then he will probably have to. Simms will be rocked after Saturday....

VolinCalif writes:

in response to SpiralBound:

I hope Tauren ends up with 150 again. It'd be a nice treat going into a week against UAB.

BS SB. What is wrong with you? Lets get greedy and go for 200 +

HallowedHill writes:

I'd love to see Dooley get a good start with a win this weekend. I like our running game and Dooley seems to be doing more with less - using our current young, O-Line.
I think our current group of receivers may be the best group in a LONG time, Simms just needs to find a way to put the ball in their hands. The receivers also need to be more aware of where the first down marker is located (or need to learn to fight for yards like Poole).
I've heard the complaints about Simms, but I think he is better than some are giving him credit, and was a good find considering where we were last year. I like his calm demeanor although he needs to improve on his timing with receivers.
Dooley's has a good collection of coaches around him and fully expect the VOLS to be ready to compete this weekend.

GO VOLS!

TNVol72 writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is it naffy or "nausea?" Either way, all of your responses make us sick! Yeah, I know...... that's real cute... almost as cute as the puke you spout out with!

Orange_Juiced writes:

in response to DavidB:

Im just curious if naffy was one of those kids that had to pin his address to his shirt when he went to school so he would remember where to go after school. Dude, wake up. I see your posts on here on a daily basis and I gotta believe whatever team your pulling for (we know it isnt the Vols) why not be a man and change your name to your team of choice.

Naffy is simply a bully. He gets his thrill sitting at his keyboard and anonymously posting things that he hopes will get a rise out of true and passionate fans. He's not real...nor is he a real fan. Someone on another thread put it best when they said, "basically naffy...you suck!"

willaustin writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

The TD catch, which was a bang bang play, bothers you does it?

Then you must feel absolutely HORRIBLE about the "slap game" where your DB slapped our WR in full view of the official, who never moved until there was a retaliation, then threw the 15 yard penalty, AND the refs "conveniently" forgot to restart the clock after marching it off, allowing UT JUST enough time to get into position to kick a 54 yard game winning FG.

I mean, if that one little bad call still upsets you after 10 years, then the refs cheating for you 6 years ago must absolutely keep you up at night.

"Tennessee broke a 5 game losing streak against the Gators. Florida K Collins Cooper missed a FG in overtime and set off a wild celebration at Neyland Stadium that saw the goalposts and CBS cameras disappear. The Vols won despite racking up only 235 yards of total offense. The difference was turnovers. The Florida Gators lost 4 fumbles, 3 caused by hits by Al Wilson. K Jeff Hall made his field goal in the first overtime, setting the stage for the Florida miss and the Vols win. The Vols also held the Gators to -13 net rushing on 30 attempts. FB Shawn Bryson scored on a 57 yard run."

Hmmmm... 5 straight losses again, and our chance to tie the series at 20 a piece. Can there be anymore motivation?

roobomb writes:

Taken from ESPN insider:

Here are seven reasons why (TN may beat Florida):

1. Florida's overall passing-game numbers. The Gators have converted from the option-heavy offense under Tim Tebow to more of a pure spread passing offense under new quarterback John Brantley, but the transition has been any thing but smooth. Brantley has averaged an abysmal 5.1 yards per attempt in the first two games of the season, a total that has Florida tied for 113th in that category among FBS schools.

2. Vertical passing game. The vertical numbers for the Gators' offense are nearly as poor as the overall numbers. To put their 7.8 YPA total here in perspective, consider that in a six-game study I did of Tebow last year, he posted a 14.2 total.

3. Fumbles. Florida has put the ball on the ground 10 times this year and lost three of them.

4. Near interceptions. Brantley has not posted a single interception this season, but five of his passes were graded as near interceptions (meaning a defender had an opportunity to make a pick). Add the totals from No. 3 and No. 4 together and it means Florida has had 15 plays that could have ended up as turnovers.

5. Penalties. The Gators' 14 penalties are tied for 79th in FBS, and their 107 penalty yards are tied for 70th.

6. Caleb Sturgis. The Florida kicker has been dealing with a sore back, which is a likely reason why he is only 1-of-3 on field goals so far.

7. Chris Rainey. Rainey, the Gators' punt returner and second-leading receiver, will likely not play in this contest due to a recent charge of aggravated stalking.

If those aren't enough, there are three other factors that could favor the Volunteers:

First, Brantley will be making his first SEC road start in this contest. The conference really doesn't have any easy road stadiums to play in, but Neyland Stadium, with its 102,000 rabid, orange-clad fans singing "Rocky Top" every few minutes, is certainly one of the roughest places for a quarterback to cut his SEC teeth.

Second, the Vols do rank well in pass defense. They are currently a top-25 defense in passing yards allowed, passer rating allowed and completions of 15-plus yards allowed.

Third, even though Tennessee was outgunned personnel-wise last year during its trip to Gainesville, the Volunteers still kept the game close. They were down only 13-6 at halftime, 16-6 late in the third quarter and finally lost the game 23-13.

All of this is not to say flat-out that Dooley's squad will win this contest. Florida may finally start hitting on more of its cylinders offensively, and if that happens, the talent difference between these squads is probably too great for the Vols to overcome. Having said that, if the Gators don't take that quantum leap forward, Tennessee could be in great shape to notch one of the biggest upsets of the 2010 season.

OrangeandWhite writes:

Anybody else notice how nice it is to see the players on both teams respecting their opponent in this game? Forgot what that was like for TN FL week. Leave the trash talking for us fans. I like the way Dooley is running that aspect of our team as opposed to last year's coach. The players saw their coach act like a clown and they followed suit. They see Dooley conducting himself with class and respecting the opponent, and they seem to have picked it up, for the most part...

TN in overtime...24-20!

Vol737 writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We did kinda look like Vandy the second half...fortunately it was only for a half, not for the past 30 years. Sun Belt Conference is looking to expand by the way....

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