Vols in Atlanta, ready to get back to work

ATLANTA - There's business for Tennessee to attend to.

But the Vols aren't exactly ruling out any pleasure in the process.

They've earned the right to celebrate some after capping a turnaround under coach Lane Kiffin with a Chick-fil-A Bowl bid and a return to the postseason, and UT will have plenty of chances to do so this week after reporting to Atlanta on Friday night. The trick is balancing the various off-field activities along with five practices, though the Vols don't appear to be having any troubles setting priorities with No. 11 Virginia Tech looming on New Year's Eve (TV: ESPN, 7:30 p.m.).

"It's all been about hard work and pulling together under coach Kiffin and really believing in each other," defensive tackle Wes Brown said. "We had a year last year where we were sitting at home for Christmas, and it was terrible to be honest with you. None of us wanted that again.

"We all went to work and made a promise to each other that wasn't going to happen again. We were going to go somewhere, we're going to end up somewhere and have a good time in January or December."

How well January treats the Vols (7-5) depends on how they close out December, and the Hokies (9-3) won't make it easy.

And like with any bowl, UT will also have any number of events away from the practice field that can make preparation a bit different than a normal game week. After working out for the first time in Atlanta today at Decatur High School, the Vols have a welcome party at Dave & Buster's.

Later in the week they'll visit the Georgia Aquarium and a hospital. They also have banquets, a trip planned to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and a handful of media events.

But given the way Kiffin is approaching his first bowl with UT, in the end all eyes will be on Virginia Tech.

"I view this as a BCS bowl when you look at it from the excitement and energy around the game, where we get to play at, the stadium that we get to play at," Kiffin said. "Then most importantly, who we play. We love every part of it.

"I think in this case, both teams are extremely excited. I don't know what they are, I know what we are -- we're extremely excited to be in this game. This is a huge game for us to be in, in our first year to be in a big-time bowl like this against a BCS opponent that's been to back-to-back Orange Bowls and 17 straight bowls, we're very excited. I think that can play a lot into it."

That energy carried over into intense, physical practices leading up to Christmas break, and the Vols actually needed an extra day off Tuesday to help recover from them.

For the most part though, UT will be healthy and rested as it hits the homestretch for the last game of Kiffin's debut season. And really, most of the heavy lifting is already done - which should make squeezing in some fun a little easier for everybody.

"I thought that we got a lot done (last week)," Kiffin said. "Early on in preparation we really got a chance to work with our young guys and develop them, I thought it was very good - especially with a new coach (Kippy Brown) on our staff as well.

"My philosophy is you should have everything done from a coaching standpoint before you go down there, and then once you're down there you just repeat it."

And maybe soak up the atmosphere a bit before getting down to business.

Merry Christmas: Luke Stocker called it the best Christmas ever, and it wasn't because the UT tight end was reporting to Atlanta for a bowl game.

According to his Twitter page, the junior proposed to his girlfriend Daine Karst in the morning and got an acceptance before arriving in Atlanta.

"Merry Christmas (to) all, and I must say this is the best Christmas ever," Stocker wrote. "I just got engaged around 1:30 this morning."

Now he and the rest of the Vols can start turning their attention to the next holiday.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 60

panties4tebow writes:

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

graphpro#231211 writes:

It's great to see a resurgence of TN football. It physically hurt to be so bad the past few years.

jwoods11#209503 writes:

From Gainesville, FL.......Go Vols Make The SEC Proud.

crimsonviper writes:

Go Vols...Give the Hokies the beating they deserve!

Souther writes:

KiffinCo and the team captains will have this team ready to win. Watch.

qspr91iz writes:

Michael Thornton and Jeffrey Whitaker are two 4 star defensive tackles from the Atlanta area. I hope they will attend the game and commit to the Vols on signing day. Hopefully, we will beat the Chokies.
GO VOLS!!!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to beersheebavol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's Christmas ZZ.
Don't you ever take a day off?

vol_chaz writes:

Sounds like the kind of game that can propel us to a very successful season next year..

dvhill100 writes:

GBO. I am looking forward to an exciting game between two teams that have played well this year. Hopefully better than the Titans are currently playing.

rockytopatl writes:

CBS College Sports just ran a replay of the Tennessee-Alabama game and once again I was so impressed with how well the Vols played against the team that will win the NC. All we needed to win was a kicker who could clear Cody's armpits at least once.

We will beat the Hokies. Monte will have the D ready to play and Mr. Crompton will be the MVP.

Tennessee 24, Va Tech 13.

Ringside writes:

Go Vols! Give'm hell

tennezz writes:

Go vols...8 wins is not bad at all this season!

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

I think the only thing that comforts me about this game is that we don't (miraculously) have anyone academically suspended this game. I'd be lying to myself if I felt like we really matched up well here, but I just don't know how I feel about it. Regardless, Section 122, Row 31, here I come!!

1stBaseHelton writes:

in response to beersheebavol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know...hopefully one day one of my homerun hits will hit you in the mouth and shut you up!!

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to beersheebavol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Neither does your non-stop sniping, but it do get old.

TennesseeTuxedo writes:

After a couple of the worst seasons in UT football history in the past 5 years, it is great to be back in a bowl game. The young players should use this entire experience to learn what it takes to focus, prepare, and win a bowl game.

http://www.thevolunteeronline.com

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

first of all, merry christmas to all...
Go Vols beat the Hokies!

from hokieland,
usnavyvolfan

tenuscvol writes:

My son proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas eve.

GBO! Go Longhorns!

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to beersheebavol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

At least ours is sold out!

GO VOLS!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Go Bearcats!

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to tenuscvol:

My son proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas eve.

GBO! Go Longhorns!

I have to disagree with you! I want Bama to win, it will make a much more powerful statement when we beat the "defending National Champions" next year!!

GO VOLS!!!

smifrat writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OMG that's funny! Good one man!
Go Vols!

rabidvol1998 writes:

in response to TennesseeTuxedo:

After a couple of the worst seasons in UT football history in the past 5 years, it is great to be back in a bowl game. The young players should use this entire experience to learn what it takes to focus, prepare, and win a bowl game.

http://www.thevolunteeronline.com

How old are you Tux? Did you miss history class? The past 5 were a bit below average, the 10 before were the greatest in TN history. The last time we followed a losing season we won 10 games and the SEC east, the time before that we won the SEC. So historically speaking, this was a very bad year.

Go Vols, the future looks bright.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to rabidvol1998:

How old are you Tux? Did you miss history class? The past 5 were a bit below average, the 10 before were the greatest in TN history. The last time we followed a losing season we won 10 games and the SEC east, the time before that we won the SEC. So historically speaking, this was a very bad year.

Go Vols, the future looks bright.

Details, details!

GO VOLS!!!
Beat the STUFFING outta those turkeys!
JUGHEAD

Fryinpansvols writes:

I think this is going to be a good game. Given our previous history in Atlanta I really didn't want to go to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. I just hope we show up ready to play a pumped up Virginia Tech team. GBO!

shopsports#273141 writes:

in response to Tellico_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They could sell these for $50 a pop and sell him out 24/7, but we have some turkeys to choke. GO VOLS!!!!

Volways writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Burn baby! That was great! Bahahahahahaha!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Va Tech is ranked and probably the better team; Beamer is a underrated coach; He never has a top 10 recruiting class but continues to win..Vols must be focused and play error free game.Statistically the defenses are even Hokies #4 against the pass;#44 against the run...Vols #7 against the pass #48 against the run..Key to beating Hokies is score early; forcing them to pass and let Williams and Berry take over the game

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to Tellico_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funny stuff!

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to tenuscvol:

My son proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas eve.

GBO! Go Longhorns!

The Tide will take it to the Horns.

appalachianvol writes:

The explanation is out!! To all loyal readers of govolsextra I just had to make a comment this morning after reading my newspaper and this is the only form I could use , please excuse for getting off subject.
The news paper is the Florida Today! The article is about the Gators upcoming game. It quotes ESPN"s Todd McShay as stating the "Defensive end Carlos Dunlap's suspention for DUI was the cause of Fla's lose to Bama"It cost the Gators a chance at the national championship? I guess since Dunlap was worth 19 points Tebow was worth only 13 points?
This is the best excuse I've read so far. Any more doubts about ESPN? He states that Joe Haden is the premire Cornerback in college football. The article is really worth reading. ESPN Sucks lemons.
GBO

appalachianvol writes:

I forgot to add the link to the article.
WARNING!! be ready to throw up your breakfast!!
http://sec.floridatoday.com/article/0...on%22

seventysevenvol writes:

I'm failing to understand the "turnaround" UT's seniors provided? Of the last 4 games played (3-1) the 3 wins were against hapless Memphis, Vanderbilt and overrated/hapless Kentucky. Ole Miss cleaned our plow. What "turnaround"? The same three teams for the most part we have padded our November wins schedule with for the past umpteen years. Did "Bagdad Bob" escape Iraq and now goes under the pen name Austin Ward? I'm not drinking the Orange Kool Aid. The Ole Miss game placed Kiffin and Co. right where they are: mediocrity at best. And quit blaming Fulmer...that's history!

UTOTIS writes:

GO VOLS!!! Beat those ugly maroon Chickens (or whatever the heck they are!)

rockytopatl writes:

in response to seventysevenvol:

I'm failing to understand the "turnaround" UT's seniors provided? Of the last 4 games played (3-1) the 3 wins were against hapless Memphis, Vanderbilt and overrated/hapless Kentucky. Ole Miss cleaned our plow. What "turnaround"? The same three teams for the most part we have padded our November wins schedule with for the past umpteen years. Did "Bagdad Bob" escape Iraq and now goes under the pen name Austin Ward? I'm not drinking the Orange Kool Aid. The Ole Miss game placed Kiffin and Co. right where they are: mediocrity at best. And quit blaming Fulmer...that's history!

Tune in, dude. Last year we were 5-7 with an offense that couldn't throw and couldn't run. We lost to Wyoming on homecoming, for God's sake. This year we were 7-5 and a decent field goal kicker away from spoiling Alabama's perfect season. We fielded a team that was competitive in every game it played except for Ole Miss. That's a big turnaround in my book.

onevol writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

I think this is going to be a good game. Given our previous history in Atlanta I really didn't want to go to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. I just hope we show up ready to play a pumped up Virginia Tech team. GBO!

You have to consider who our coach was on those previous trips to Atlanta.

We may not win due to playing superior talent, but we will not loose to inferior talent this time due to mediocre coaching. A la Maryland and Clemson. VT is a top notch team in the ACC.

rockytop#413695 writes:

in response to appalachianvol:

The explanation is out!! To all loyal readers of govolsextra I just had to make a comment this morning after reading my newspaper and this is the only form I could use , please excuse for getting off subject.
The news paper is the Florida Today! The article is about the Gators upcoming game. It quotes ESPN"s Todd McShay as stating the "Defensive end Carlos Dunlap's suspention for DUI was the cause of Fla's lose to Bama"It cost the Gators a chance at the national championship? I guess since Dunlap was worth 19 points Tebow was worth only 13 points?
This is the best excuse I've read so far. Any more doubts about ESPN? He states that Joe Haden is the premire Cornerback in college football. The article is really worth reading. ESPN Sucks lemons.
GBO

I just read the article and you may need to go back and read it again. While I'm sure many Gator fans think Dunlap not playing is what cost them the game, your quote of McShay is totally wrong. The article says (not McShay) that Dunlap was suspended for the SEC championship game that cost Florida the chance to play for the national championship. Even the article didn't say his suspension was what cost them the game, just that he was suspended for the game and the loss to Alabama cost them the chance.

Go Vols!

bigorangeskrew writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Va Tech is ranked and probably the better team; Beamer is a underrated coach; He never has a top 10 recruiting class but continues to win..Vols must be focused and play error free game.Statistically the defenses are even Hokies #4 against the pass;#44 against the run...Vols #7 against the pass #48 against the run..Key to beating Hokies is score early; forcing them to pass and let Williams and Berry take over the game

who is williams?

appalachianvol writes:

in response to rockytop#413695:

I just read the article and you may need to go back and read it again. While I'm sure many Gator fans think Dunlap not playing is what cost them the game, your quote of McShay is totally wrong. The article says (not McShay) that Dunlap was suspended for the SEC championship game that cost Florida the chance to play for the national championship. Even the article didn't say his suspension was what cost them the game, just that he was suspended for the game and the loss to Alabama cost them the chance.

Go Vols!

The article written by David Jones was quoting Todd MCShay of EPSN! he said the 32-13 loss Cost them a shot of repeating as national champions! Is this not saying that Dunlap cost them the game? I suggest you go back and read the whole article.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Go Vols!!

Hope the SEC goes 10-0 in bowls!!!

P.S. Stay away from the basketball team on this trip!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to NumberThirteen987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Things that slow on the Criminal Tide sites that you feel the need to be the main loper today?

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to NumberThirteen987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

:)

troll.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to NumberThirteen987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How about "I wish we hadn't paid $20,000 for Albert Means."?

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to NumberThirteen987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're right. I want to be just like Alabama. Every day I dream about it. It's all I think about.
Instead of UT heroes like Gen. Neyland and Johnny Majors I wish for Bama legends like Mike Dubose and Mike Price.
"You had your chance..."??? You mean we will never play for a national championship again or we will never beat Bama again?
Look up SMU in the 80's for "worst probation sentence ever handed down".

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to BamaBeacher:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not necessary.

rockytop94 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Va Tech is ranked and probably the better team; Beamer is a underrated coach; He never has a top 10 recruiting class but continues to win..Vols must be focused and play error free game.Statistically the defenses are even Hokies #4 against the pass;#44 against the run...Vols #7 against the pass #48 against the run..Key to beating Hokies is score early; forcing them to pass and let Williams and Berry take over the game

If the vols do win this game, how high would they be ranked coming into next year

tquillen#249140 writes:

in response to graphpro#231211:

It's great to see a resurgence of TN football. It physically hurt to be so bad the past few years.

I would have sworn we played in the SEC Championship Game and the Outback Bowl two years ago. Guess I am losing it.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to NumberThirteen987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're right again. Johnny Majors was never one of UT's greatest RB's. He never won any games as coach and didn't set the table for Fulmer's success. Man you are on a roll today.
As far as naming Dubose and Price as your heroes...
I guess you ate too much Christmas dinner to grasp the concept of sarcasm.

BobbyGraham writes:

Stay away from the Dave and Busters. The waitresses are killers.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to BobbyGraham:

Stay away from the Dave and Busters. The waitresses are killers.

moron

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features