Maybe the calendar just had to be right.
Tennessee's first attempt at a Thursday practice didn't go quite as well as coach Lane Kiffin would have liked, but with a mulligan indoors on an actual Thursday the Vols got it right.
Now all systems are a go for Saturday's season opener with Western Kentucky.
"Very pleased with the way they came out," Kiffin said. "It worked. We had a Thursday (type of practice on Wednesday) that wasn't what we needed, and now we had one (in which) they were great.
"They were focused. We ran 26 plays in the run-through without one repeat. We ran 28 plays in 22 minutes during service-team and that's the focus that we need. I was extremely pleased with where they're at right now - but we still have a long ways to go."
Time is starting to run out.
That's been a relief for a team tired of hitting each other and eager to open the season, and in some respects it should be for the coaching staff as well. Speculation and anticipation have followed the Vols seemingly endlessly since the new staff took over; and, although Kiffin has tried to downplay any jitters or extra excitement personally, he's obviously aware of the clock.
"As you get closer and take the pads off and get more into exact plays and exact positions and exact hash marks and everything, your clock starts ticking and you know a game is coming," he said. "At the same time, we still have a ton of stuff, a bunch of meetings and some walk-throughs and a bunch of work to do."
But now UT can finally focus on a Friday.
Injury Report: Gerald Williams and Ben Martin have been limited in practice, but UT isn't expecting any problems at left end despite appearing to be short-handed there.
Martin missed another practice with an illness and Williams didn't practice with a helmet to rest a minor foot injury, but both should play this weekend.
"Gerald is questionable for the game, (but) we anticipate him playing," Kiffin said. "He moved around a little bit (Friday). I think he'll play though. Ben has been sick, had a fever, we anticipate him playing."
Kiffin added that the Vols continue to do all they can to avoid the flu and insulate the team with sickness issues around campus and hitting football programs across the country.
"We have a bunch of the bottles in every single meeting room, they have their own stuff for hand-washing and we really do a good job of that," Kiffin said. "Any time a guy has a fever, gets sick, we try to remove him from everybody else."