Kiffin on Crompton's performance against WKU
- C Josh McNeil (GoVolsXtra audio)
- OL Cody Pope(GoVolsXtra audio)
- Running backs coach Eddie Gran (GoVolsXtra audio)
- LB Nick Reveiz(GoVolsXtra audio)
- RB David Oku (GoVolsXtra audio)
Hear more audio
Eric Berry couldn't get his sleep schedule right.
Chris Walker was just worn out from the five-hour flight.
And these were experienced Tennessee players struggling with the long trip to UCLA last season.
The Bruins are going the opposite direction this weekend and don't have nearly as much training leaving home, though there's not much coach Rick Neuheisel can do at this point besides get on the plane and let them learn what life is like on the road.
"Our issues are always going to be the maturity of our guys because they haven't done this a lot," Neuheisel said. "We're probably going to get on the airplane with about 20 guys that haven't played a road game yet, maybe higher than that. In so doing, there's a lot that goes into how you travel, how you stay with your routine - especially now going in two days early, they're going to be in a hotel for two nights.
"We've just got to have a lot of structure with what we do and keep guys focused and taking advantage of the time that they have between the time we land in Tennessee and the time we play."
That period will be longer than normal with the Bruins arriving in Knoxville on Thursday, which should give them a better shot at adjusting to the time change and resetting their clocks for Saturday's game (TV: ESPN, 4 p.m.). While that should ease the transition, it doesn't really make going coast to coast for a game any less difficult, and the travel issues have been well-documented in both college football and the NFL recently.
The Vols should know. They've been the case study over the last three years, soundly beating California at home, then losing twice in a row on trips to the Golden State - including last year's at UCLA.
"I think it could be a factor, that cross-country traveling, because I went to sleep super early when I went out to California," Berry said. "It was probably about seven o'clock when we got out there and I was knocked out. Then I probably got up around three or four their time (in the morning), and I was just up that whole day.
"Not to make any excuses or anything, but I think the time did have an effect. You just have to deal with it. We signed up for it on our schedule last year, so we had to deal with it."
It's the Bruins turn now, and they'll likely be dealing with a few more issues than the Vols had to a year ago.
Neuheisel used 23 first-time players in the season-opening win over San Diego State, eight of whom were true freshmen. The offense is led by a redshirt freshman making his road debut, and three of the linemen are starting for just the second time in their careers.
Communication also could be a problem for the Bruins coming into Neyland Stadium, but for now Neuheisel is more concerned about just getting there.
"I don't want them to avoid the excitement that comes with playing in that kind of venue," Neuheisel said. "I think you're missing out on something that's a memory for a long time, and how positive a memory it's going to be is up to how well we play.
"But, yeah, I think (the travel) is why the home team has an advantage. There's no question, they get to miss all that wear and tear that travel provides. But as Bill Walsh says, 'How do you win on the road? You take a good team.' Hopefully our team is ready to play well."
They can start by getting to bed on time.