Michael Palardy shows everybody 'that's who I am'

Obviously, Michael Palardy would have preferred the kind of night he had Saturday at Alabama to coincide with a Tennessee victory.

The versatile sophomore, though, said he's now in a better position mentally to help the Vols win games in the future after hitting two long field goals, keeping Alabama's potent returners in check with high punts and well-positioned kicks and even completing a first-down pass during the 37-6 loss.

"I needed a game like this to kind of put me back to where I'm supposed to be," Palardy said. "To show everybody that that's who I am."

It hadn't been who he was through the first half of the season, as Palardy missed three of his nine field-goal attempts, seemingly lost his platoon role with Matt Darr at punter and was failing to generate consistent distance on his kickoffs. His performance, Palardy said, wasn't mimicking what he was showing on the practice field during the week. And, unlike last season, he wasn't hampered by any nagging injuries.

He just needed to see some results.

"The atmosphere is a lot different going into the game," he said. "Doing it in practice is the same thing as doing it in the game; just more fans, more people watching and more noise.

"I just have to trust everything I do in practice is going to make me succeed."

Following a series where he saw the Vols go for a fourth-down conversion rather than attempt a 52-yard field goal, Palardy hit a 40-yard field goal to give the Vols (3-4, 0-4 SEC) an early 3-0 lead. Stuck at a similar point of the field during the second quarter but with 11 yards to go for a first down, the Vols called on Palardy for a 52-yard attempt.

On just his third career try from more than 50 yards, Palardy snuck it into the bottom-right corner of the uprights to notch the longest field goal by a Vol since Jeff Hall's 53-yarder against Oklahoma State in 1995.

"Just one of those days," Palardy said. "I felt good, felt confident."

Palardy was equally confident in the punting game, where he handled all responsibilities for the first time all season. He averaged 39.2 yards net, allowing Alabama's Marquis Maze to return just one of his five punts, and he executed a fake punt to perfection when he hit wide receiver Anthony Anderson with a 5-yard pass.

Coach Derek Dooley said it's a "feel thing" when he and special teams coach Eric Russell choose between Palardy and Darr.

"It worked out pretty good," Dooley said. "We hit a fake and got points out of that. Matt's doing fine. I'm a little ADD when it comes to the punter situation."

Palardy, considered one of the nation's top kickers out of high school, came to UT hoping to handle all of the kicking duties, so a night like Saturday was right up his alley.

"It doesn't really take a toll on my legs," Palardy said. "I enjoy it. I enjoy putting myself into the game and doing everything I can to help the team out."

Make It Snappy: Neither quarterback Matt Simms nor Alex Bullard reported any issues after Bullard's first career game at center.

"It's just something that we worked hard on all week," Bullard said. "We stayed after practice and worked out. That was the main focus, getting the ball to the quarterback, and I think we handled that pretty well."

Just a Freshman: After picking up just four tackles in the first two games of the season, linebacker A.J. Johnson is now ranked among the nation's top freshmen tacklers.

Johnson and senior Austin Johnson are tied for the team lead with 45 tackles, a total that ranks 16th in the SEC. A.J. Johnson, who led UT with 13 tackles Saturday and has 24 in the past two games, leads all SEC freshmen with an average of 6.4 tackles per game.

"It was a stature game and he shows up in those kind of hard, physical games," Dooley said. "We've got to get more A.J. Johnsons."

TV Time: Saturday's 7:15 p.m. game against No. 14 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) will air on ESPN2, the network announced early Sunday.

The game will be UT's fourth on ESPN2 this season and its third home game under the lights of Neyland Stadium.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 25

John_10065 writes:

Palardy showed why he was recruited. 52 yard FG, nearly 40 yards per punt after the return and right at 45 before the return, and a stellar fake punt execution.

He has earned his orange and white. Glad to have him for 2 more years!

CrankE writes:

It didn't change the outcmoe, but on the bright side, this is the Palardy that we heard about in recruiting.

wazzya69vol writes:

Good job. That was the one positive that came out of the game. Keep it up, some future games will be won by a field goal. GBO

lomas98 writes:

in response to John_10065:

Palardy showed why he was recruited. 52 yard FG, nearly 40 yards per punt after the return and right at 45 before the return, and a stellar fake punt execution.

He has earned his orange and white. Glad to have him for 2 more years!

Funny what 1 game will do for fan acceptance. This is same guy dogged for the whole year so far. I hope he continues that kind of success. This is why players should never read message boards. One week they will quit the team, the other they can win the heisman.

allenf1#223463 writes:

That looked like the player that was the number one kicking prospect his senior year! Finally Palardy showed his talents!

HallowedHill writes:

Great kick! Where were you 2 years ago? ;) Just Kidding!!

GO VOLS!

VOLliven2it writes:

Glad to see MikePal do the job and hope he will do it well the remainder of this year.

twin942 writes:

Great work son. You had a very good game and we are proud of you. Believe me we needed it.

Keep up the good work, and the Vol Nation will remember you for decades.

Madkels writes:

in response to FirstAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's called a mortar kick, designed to be high and short to allow coverage to get down field and to prevent the receiving team from forming a wedge.

63vet (Inactive) writes:

How does he do that? A left footed kicker and look at that form in the picture!! Must be a freak!

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to Madkels:

It's called a mortar kick, designed to be high and short to allow coverage to get down field and to prevent the receiving team from forming a wedge.

A touchback would've accomplished those same things........10 yards further back.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

in response to lomas98:

Funny what 1 game will do for fan acceptance. This is same guy dogged for the whole year so far. I hope he continues that kind of success. This is why players should never read message boards. One week they will quit the team, the other they can win the heisman.

Very true!

TheFuj writes:

One good game, and two made kicks!! Keep it up then can talk.

tmartin writes:

Didn't wilhoit nail a 52 yarder to beat Florida? (only after missing an extra point that would have got us beat).

RoadTrip writes:

in response to atributetoLombardiwasbanned:

A touchback would've accomplished those same things........10 yards further back.

But then he would be disobeying his coaches' orders, wouldn't he? Wonder how far that would have taken him?

To the Nega-Vols that put him down when he was injured and doing his very best as a VFL, which was the best we had available on the team, it is time to apologize to a young man that gives his all for Tennessee every day.

Volunatic writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agreed with the 4th and short call-- the Vols needed a boost to counteract their recurring 3rd quarter slumps. In the replays, it looked to me like Simms got the first down, even though there was no conclusive video evidence.

holeinwall writes:

I thought Palardy was left footed this guy is right foored. Regardless Palardy had a great game.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

But then he would be disobeying his coaches' orders, wouldn't he? Wonder how far that would have taken him?

To the Nega-Vols that put him down when he was injured and doing his very best as a VFL, which was the best we had available on the team, it is time to apologize to a young man that gives his all for Tennessee every day.

No, he wouldn't have been disobeying the coaches orders.....not if he had he been ordered to kick it out of the end-zone.

mytrifecta writes:

Great game by Palardy...but it's one game. Hopefully this was the breakout performance he needed to get himself mentally where he needs to be. Obviously a talented kid and we really need him to maintain this level of play. To a team like us that will likely find itself in some close games, having a solid kicker is crucial.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

But then he would be disobeying his coaches' orders, wouldn't he? Wonder how far that would have taken him?

To the Nega-Vols that put him down when he was injured and doing his very best as a VFL, which was the best we had available on the team, it is time to apologize to a young man that gives his all for Tennessee every day.

I'll man up and apologize. He had a excellent game. I got down on him because he just didn't seem to be living up to all his press clippings. I'm hoping for many more fine kicks over the rest of his career on The Hill. GBO!!

John_10065 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Funny what 1 game will do for fan acceptance. This is same guy dogged for the whole year so far. I hope he continues that kind of success. This is why players should never read message boards. One week they will quit the team, the other they can win the heisman.

Oh my goodness!!!

I have found a psychic into my own brain! Thank you for your magnificient perception!!!

Was I down on the kicking game at one time? Yep, I sure was! But the only time I ever complained about the kicking game was muffed punts and was worried about the fact we didn't even attempt a FG against Montana.

Just this last week I told a so called fan right here on this board that the 47 yard FG attempt was the right call.

But now you want to presume that I was dog'n this guy the whole year! Well I have something for you, it's right here between my cheeks. Let's see if you can kick a kiss right there on the big brown star between my glowing buns.

Juzkruzin writes:

in response to CrankE:

It didn't change the outcmoe, but on the bright side, this is the Palardy that we heard about in recruiting.

If TN has any Football sense they will get the kid from Morristown West. He can keep as far as Palardy, has a 49 and 50yd FG sofar this year and is in the 80's% (high 80's) of touchbacks on his kick-off's. I know they have scholarships to where they can offer him one. I just hope one of our recruiter's goes to a game and at least take a look at him and realize that his leg will only get stronger and better. I hope they don't let some other SEC Team steal him from our back yard, It would be dumb to sign a punt/kick-off returner and he would be catching the ball in the end zone and fair catch punts.

tree_em_smokey writes:

I like this kid a lot! Go Palardy and GBO!!!

givehim6 writes:

in response to CrankE:

It didn't change the outcmoe, but on the bright side, this is the Palardy that we heard about in recruiting.

Yes finally got to see that leg in action. Kid has a pretty good arm to boot! Wasn't it Darr that got us a first down on a fake punt run this year too? Can not remember which game, but it was a 15-20 someting yard run. UT may turn out to have a good S/T for the next few years.

volfaninusaf writes:

5 star

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