It's hard to imagine Tennessee winning the special teams battle in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
First, the Vols are playing Virginia Tech, a school long known for its special teams.
Second, UT's special teams were horrible at times this season.
And, lastly, the Vols have spent very little time on special teams in their first five bowl practices after losing special teams coach Eddie Gran to Florida State last week.
"We will start with some special teams tomorrow," coach Lane Kiffin said after practice Saturday.
Other than special teams, Kiffin said the Vols are fairing just fine without Gran, who also coached running backs, and former receivers coach Frank Wilson, who accepted a position on LSU's staff.
Kiffin and graduate assistant Jamal Fobbs have been coaching UT's receivers.
Fobbs is focusing now on coaching more than before, when he also had to be mindful of other graduate assistant duties.
Receiver Gerald Jones said Fobbs could handle the job if UT decided to tab him as Wilson's permanent replacement.
"If he actually gets time to settle down and actually really know this offense as well as coach Wilson did, I think he'd be a great fit for us," Jones said.
Jones, however, admitted that not having Wilson's motivational tactics has taken getting used to.
"You miss him riding you even though it gets annoying sometime," Jones said with a grin.
Kiffin said he's unaware of any other possible coaching defections.
"I have a very close relationship with the coaches," Kiffin said. "Whenever someone calls (UT's assistant coaches), they direct it to me or come to me and talk to me about it.
"I've had no contact nor have any of our coaches told me they've had contact with any head coaches or universities about jobs."
Kiffin hinted that UT could have replacements for Gran and Wilson in place in time for the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on New Year's Eve (TV: ESPN, 7:30 p.m.).
Practice Report: Kiffin was pleased with UT's practice Saturday.
"I thought today's practice was really good, really spirited," Kiffin said. "There was a lot of energy, especially for a morning practice. After watching Friday's film, that practice was just OK. So we really challenged them to come out today and have a great practice."
Kiffin said the most challenging part of practice came during long drives designed to test his players' mental focus.
"We put them through a really hard practice," Kiffin said. "For the ones (first team), their last drive of the day was 18 plays in a row with no substitutions; for the twos, it was 28 plays in a row, which is very unusual.
"We wanted to put an emphasis on our conditioning. I think one of the things that can be missed during bowl preparations is when you go through the motions in practice and then go a month without playing anything that simulates a game. So instead of just the normal four plays and rotating, we went with the long-drive emphasis today."
Kiffin said UT's training over the course of the year has paid dividends.
"When we first tried to do a long drive last spring, we couldn't even get to the eighth or ninth play without people falling out," he said.
Roll Call: Offensive lineman Vladimir Richard returned to practice after being held out Friday.
Honored Again: Junior safety Eric Berry was named to the Football Writers Association of America All-American team.
The SEC led all conferences with seven selections. The Big 12 was second with five honorees.
He was named to the coaches' team last week.