Practice has Walker in 'good mood'

Missing bowl game last year hard to take

Tennessee defensive end Chris Walker has no problem at all with the weightlifting and conditioning workouts this week while the Vols' coaches are on the road recruiting.

It sure beats the alternative.

Walker only need remind himself of last year to appreciate still being on campus preparing for the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia Tech.

"I'd just rather be here working up a sweat and feeling sore right now than being at home watching other people playing bowl games," Walker said after Sunday morning's practice in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.

"Last year was painful just to watch some of the teams play. We beat a couple of the teams that were in bowl games last year. It was really painful and I think it was painful for our whole team, so that's why we're in a bowl game now, because we don't want to be sitting at home."

The Vols had their third consecutive day of practice Sunday and don't practice again until Friday.

That doesn't mean they're sitting around playing video games all day. UT's players have a lifting and running program that lasts about 90 minutes each day.

"It's very structured," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "Every minute's accounted for when they get here. There's different times they can show up. Last week they had four (workout days) that they had to get to that were mandatory, and actually we had a number of guys come in for five straight days on their own, so that was good to see."

UT will practice for five consecutive days starting Friday. After their Dec. 22 practice, the Vols have two days off before reporting as a team Christmas Day in Atlanta, site of the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Walker got enough of being a bowl spectator last year.

"I was at home in Memphis just in a bad mood," Walker said. "I felt bad for my mom and my family cause I would just be watching bowl games and be in a bad mood for the whole day. Now they get to see me in a good mood, which is good. (I) get to be with them on Christmas Day and then have to go down to Atlanta, so it's fun."

On the Road: UT's coaches hit the road after Sunday's practice for a crucial recruiting stretch before the dead period starts this weekend.

"With so many mid-years (recruits) that we're looking at, this is closing time, really the last chance we get to see them," Kiffin said. "We've got a great (recruiting) plan for this week, a lot of coaches going to position-specific guys instead of just their area. This is kind of like the week before signing day in a sense for us with so many mid-years."

UT is two recruiters short after two assistants took other jobs: running backs coach Eddie Gran (Florida State) and receivers coach Frank Wilson (LSU).

"We're actually using Jim Chaney on some kids this week with him being offensive coordinator and being able to talk about all the positions and give an exact plan for each kid," Kiffin said, "but we are using Ed (Orgeron) a lot with Monte (Kiffin) some and Lance (Thompson) some. Ed's going to be all over the place, non-stop all week."

Kiffin said the Vols haven't started a full game plan for Virginia Tech.

"Defense has looked at a couple of different things that they're doing (at Virginia Tech) but we've not put in a specific game plan and we will finalize that throughout the week as coaches come in that are off the road," Kiffin said. "We'll leave Coach Kiff (Monte Kiffin) here for most of the week and give them the game plan on Friday."

Graduates: Several of the Vols hurried away from Sunday's practice, which started at 11 a.m. and lasted about 90 minutes, to get ready for UT graduation ceremonies at Thompson-Boling Arena. Lane Kiffin attended graduation before going on the road. His wife Layla showed up near the end of Sunday's practice with their three children to attend a graduation luncheon.

Dave Link is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 22

graphpro#231211 writes:

It's great to see the energy within our football program. It's been lacking for sometime.

You go Kiff.... point fingers, stir up trouble and most importantly win football games.

Cldvols1 writes:

Sounds like a good gameplan, haul in some of those big name recruits!

As for the NCAA scandal I'm tired of hearing about something that NOTHING will come of. Go Vols!!!

ncvol17 writes:

If we had more players w/ Walker's outlook we would have had more wins these past several years...let's hope our future has many more Walker's as a part of it...

mamabob writes:

Those seniors had to appreciate Lane, Layla, and the kids being there for their big day.

allntl1#565211 writes:

Be careful, if Coach O is in more than one place at the same time it is an NCAA violation.
If he uses a smoke machine to do it, even worser.

CoachFulmer writes:

Kill the Hokies. Shut em up.

GO VOLS!

mercuryvol writes:

Finally, some news about the football team and coaches that doesn't have the concocted word scandel in it.

mercuryvol writes:

Uhhhhh scandal.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

If we didn't have Coach Monte Kiff working, I'd worry about our chances against Virginia Tech. I'm still a little worried but also excited to see what our defensive guys will have for the Hokies. HCLK and Coach Chaney are both on the road, but you know they are thinking and planning together to move the ball and score points in Atlanta. I almost wish that they would forget about recruiting and do absolutely nothing but work to win this ball game.

hglover40#234154 writes:

THe dad who was offended by the girl flirting with him or his son should send his kid to Florida! Urban can blow him kisses everytime he come by to see his son.

SmegVol78 writes:

Watched the ESPN BowlMania show. Word is this is one of the best bowl matchups. 85% of the country is picking VT to win. Let's prove them wrong on New Year's eve and show the country what we can do. Beat a #12 team and end up in the top 25. Go Vols! Beat Hokies!

tonyvick#213307 writes:

in response to allntl1#565211:

Be careful, if Coach O is in more than one place at the same time it is an NCAA violation.
If he uses a smoke machine to do it, even worser.

I did let Coach O borrow my Star Trek Beamer, in which we both agreed was for medicinal purposes wink, wink. You don't think we will get in trouble with the NCAA, claiming it was used for recruiting instead?

allntl1#565211 writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You need to stop standing in the rear of mules.

RaineyVol writes:

Get that defense right Chris!!!

VOL03_NC writes:

I hope Kiffin does not take Layla,that is an NCAA violation just because...You got to be the man with her under your arm. God blessed them with healthy childern and an entire state that loves for him to beat the drums on Saturdays.
BTW......GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!

VOL03_NC writes:

in response to allntl1#565211:

You need to stop standing in the rear of mules.

It depends on the health /LB. Bama gave them a hell of a show and we are much better now. Maybe we can kick the ball, that would give us a huge leg up. VT is not going to "We ain't got a snowballs chance in Hell in this game boys. Virginny Tech is gonna kick us like a $40 mule."
This is gonna be fun!

VOL03_NC writes:

in response to hglover40#234154:

THe dad who was offended by the girl flirting with him or his son should send his kid to Florida! Urban can blow him kisses everytime he come by to see his son.

You better hope Tebow does not hear of this, he looked upset the other night and he is a big boy!

VOL03_NC writes:

in response to orangeluvr:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

THE Indians once figured their worth as to how big their foes were. You are right, the BIG ORAGNE is known and on its way. Someone let the secret out...do you think it was an inside job?
I Love It!

VOL03_NC writes:

in response to allntl1#565211:

Be careful, if Coach O is in more than one place at the same time it is an NCAA violation.
If he uses a smoke machine to do it, even worser.

I heard the Swiss cloned coach O. I bet the NCAA will not like this either. We better get some NONaffilliated girls over there in a hurry and help them see that this is a good thing for them.
All kidden aside, I hope CLK has a good plan in place for Gran and Wilson. Any word on this objective?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

I understand bowl week is a time for our kids to enjoy and take in all the bowl activities; but this game has turned out to be relevant and important..For Va Tech;they haven't missed a bowl appearance in forever and probably coming in overconfident. As for UT; I would hope that they are coming in with a serious; all business attitude..If Iam a UT player; I would be coming to the game with a chip on my shoulder considering all the negative press and being a major underdog..This team has the chance to come in and beat a good ranked team and show the world we are NOBODY'S patsy!!!Also it's high time for us to shed the Peach ACC Jinx!!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to orangeluvr:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Got that right!!!It's hard to gauge the attitude of our team right now..Got to think they must be pi##ed off about how the negative press and heat Lane is always under

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to SmegVol78:

Watched the ESPN BowlMania show. Word is this is one of the best bowl matchups. 85% of the country is picking VT to win. Let's prove them wrong on New Year's eve and show the country what we can do. Beat a #12 team and end up in the top 25. Go Vols! Beat Hokies!

I watched the show also; it was really good...85%; man talk about no respect; High time for the vols to make a statement

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