Something special: Vols see difference in winning and losing in third phase

Physical play a must to fix mistakes

Derek Dooley responds to a question that asks if Tuesday practices are always bad

The problems were clear to Eric Russell, and there was nothing subtle about how much they cost Tennessee.

The Vols special teams coach left little doubt about it when he rattled off a quick checklist from the trip last Saturday to Florida.

Missed assignments that led to a blocked punt? Three points for the Gators.

A field goal well wide of the uprights? That's three the Vols should have had, plus an additional three when Florida converted that misfire into a successful kick going the other way.

A bad punt combined with a decent return that produced a short field for the Gators? Tack on another three.

It all added up to 12 when Russell was done counting after practice on Wednesday morning, and the implication wasn't hard to decipher as the Vols looked back on a 33-23 loss heading into their bye week.

"Those points were a result just of special teams miscues," Russell said. "Florida out-hit us, out-competed us in a lot of things. That has got to get fixed, it's got to get corrected and they've got to understand that and how important it is.

"Until we get that mentality like we've always talked about, just being ... competitive, physical cats, we're going to struggle with some things like that."

Those issues came with a steep price tag against the Gators, and the Vols have been reminded of that during a sort of mini-training camp without an opponent to prepare for this weekend.

UT (2-1, 0-1 SEC) has already announced one change in the personnel, officially making Matt Darr the punter after showing signs of progress with three attempts that averaged 44 yards against the Gators.

But there are only so many bodies on hand in the program for Russell to use, so making wholesale changes isn't necessarily an option. And even if a vast majority of those Vols are either freshmen or sophomores, Russell isn't pointing to youth as an excuse.

He harped on poor execution after a performance that included a 37-yard miss from kicker Michael Palardy, a whiff by protector John Propst on the blocked punt and another game without a spark returning kickoffs or punts. But in doing so, the only finger Russell pointed was at himself in the search for some schematic answers.

The rest will be up to the team to play with the kind of intensity the Vols need to swing those 12 points the other way and perhaps turn defeats into a few victories in the process.

"I don't know if it takes time to learn that if you're in a fistfight, you're going to hit or be hit, fight or flight," Russell said. "Now, do you maybe trigger as fast as you should being younger? Probably not. But that's what we're trying to do with this open week, getting to where we can play faster. The being physical part, they either have it or they don't.

"I don't know how you can teach them to be physical. We can preach it and work stuff on it, but they've got to go out on Saturday and do it."

That chance won't come at the end of this week, and a non-conference date with Buffalo after the open date probably won't provide a true test of improvement for the Vols.

But there's a line of hard-nosed, big-hitting, speedy opponents waiting for UT after that, and Russell isn't making it a secret how those games might be won or lost.

"There are places here and there where guys aren't performing right, but at the same time you've got to find someone who has proven they're worthy of stepping up to get the chance," he said. "That's the stuff we're looking for right now, guys stepping up and playing with a little more competitiveness.

"As bad as we played at Florida, as much as we wanted to be better in all phases, you eliminate any of those (mistakes), maybe it's a different fourth quarter. Our guys have to understand that — that's their job right now. And it's my job to figure out how to get that stuff right and get them thinking about how their play does affect the next play."

At the moment, Russell has some clear-cut examples to illustrate the point.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward

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Comments » 49

VolunteerLifer writes:

Problems in the special teams play go back to Fulmer's last few years. I don't understand why we keep having these problems. It isn't rocket science. We have good athletes. We have highly prized recruits as kickers. It has to be coaching that is deficient.

DavidB writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Problems in the special teams play go back to Fulmer's last few years. I don't understand why we keep having these problems. It isn't rocket science. We have good athletes. We have highly prized recruits as kickers. It has to be coaching that is deficient.

We have had a lot of different coaches for special teams and have not seen the results. I agree that it has to be something and would be nice for someone to figure out the solution. Right now unless we are beyond the 15 yard line I would rather us go for it on 4th and anything short of 5 or 6 yards. At least we would be taken a better chance of moving the ball in our direction.

Maybe with Palardy not having to punt he can focus more on place kicking. No reason we should not be kicking the ball deep in the endzone every time instead of letting teams get to the 30 or better every time.

The Vols will be OK and I still see us winning 7 or 8 games this season.

imw8n4u writes:

there is another personnel move that could make a huge difference in this phase too, Devrin Young. Hopefully he can make his debut against mighty Buffalo, unfortunately too late to help us out in this rivalry. Hmmm - anyone else having deja vu?

Ironcity writes:

UT has missed that dynamic returner for so long I can't remember when we had a good one. I am hopeful that Young is the guy.

As for the kicking game, anyone who thought we were going to be fine with Palardy and Darr in the swamp were fooling themselves. First year starters never play good their first big game on the road. Think back to Leverton at UCLA when he shanked a free kick after a safety. By the time he was a Junior he was really good but that first game was something else. These guys will grow but I would not be surprised to see this happen again at Alabama. It is what it is.

givehim6 writes:

The Vols are playing better........then they did last year. But now it's time to raise the bar one more time guys.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

UT has missed that dynamic returner for so long I can't remember when we had a good one. I am hopeful that Young is the guy.

As for the kicking game, anyone who thought we were going to be fine with Palardy and Darr in the swamp were fooling themselves. First year starters never play good their first big game on the road. Think back to Leverton at UCLA when he shanked a free kick after a safety. By the time he was a Junior he was really good but that first game was something else. These guys will grow but I would not be surprised to see this happen again at Alabama. It is what it is.

The last decent return guy I can remember was Pete Penuska, He returned a kick off 100 yards against Maryland in the 1984 Sun Bowl. L.O.L!

reeceb73 writes:

Terry Fair is the last good one I remember

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Different coach,same story. Our special teams play is horrendous--has been since around 2002.

Correct me if I'm wrong (because I could be as I'm shooting from the hip/memory here and not looking up anything): Leonard Scott in 1999 was the last kickoff return for a touchdown for the Vols, and Mark Jones was the last punt return for a touchdown (in 2002 or 2003). I may be off, but not by much--there could have been more recent ones.

Regardless, special teams has cost us a lot of points and field position the past several seasons. I wince when they run onto the field.

RoadTrip writes:

Our coverage teams are pretty good. Our return teams stink. Our punting/kicking is getting close to the stink category (again). DY has the opportunity to change all that on the return teams if they will also let him return kick offs and the guys will at least try to block somebody. Kickers/punters will depend on the next guys coming in. I see us going for it on 4th down more than normal.

Mtnbiker writes:

No worries, they'll figure it out eventually or not. We will win alot more games if they figure it out though. Young will improve our PR I'm fairly sure and I'm hoping they put him in on KR's as well. Palardy and Darr will grow, just not sure how patient we're going to have to be. They're still young, not many are excellent their first year starting. We just need them to be consistently better than average for now.

VolunteerLifer writes:

"Palardy and Darr will grow, just not sure how patient we're going to have to be. They're still young, not many are excellent their first year starting. We just need them to be consistently better than average for now."

Huh? Kickers have to grow? These guys kicked great in HS. The football is the same in college, isn't it? These guys are now college sophomores, and they look like they are the furthest thing from highly successful HS kickers. I don't understand how a kicker can be so outstanding in HS and so mediocre their 2nd year in college. Am I missing something?

Kelly8 writes:

UT hasn't had a kicker since Jeff Hall, a punter since B. Colquitt, a legit All-American returner since Carter/Pickens, and for some reason Fulmer didn't even have a special teams coach (at least some of his tenure).

We are one of the worst teams in the country on special teams year in and year out. Every high school in Knox County can punt, and most of them have kickers that can hit field goals. Yes, I know they are playing high school teams but they are themselves HIGH SCHOOL TEAMS. It is predictable that UT will have the worst special teams in the conference year in and year out. And it's sad.

UT has a $100 million dollar athletic budget, a 100,000 seat stadium, and the most loyal fans in the country. We are also top ten all-time in bowl appearances, bowl wins, and claim six national championships.

It's 2011, and we can't kickoff, we can't field punts, we can't punt, we can't kick field goals, we can't snap the ball, we can't run the ball...this is just depressing. And yes, in two weeks we'll be 3-1 and everyone will be sooo excited.

Then we have a toss-up game with UGA, followed by losses to LSU, Bama, and the Gamecocks, followed by a cupcake MTSU, followed by a loss to Arky, followed by wins against Vandy and the Cats. This is getting too predictable. Completely mediocre in every way year after year after year.

So if we beat the Dawgs we're at 7-5, back in Nashville or maybe Memphis. And a program with virtually unlimited resources and unconditional fan support can be called nothing but mediocre. I'm sick of this phooey. But you know what? I'll still be sitting there for the Buffalo game, buying expensive, nasty hot dogs and wearing yet another brand-new UT shirt. And as long as the money keeps rolling in like it is from the people on this site, as long as we all continue to have irrational allegiance to a mediocrity that will get you fired in the real world, NOT ONE THING is going to change.

Dooley will, and should, get a chance through the 2013 season. But after he's gone, hopefully Hart will open the checkbook. Money is the one thing we always have. But ask Mal Moore (or Hart for that matter) what happens when you scrimp on head coaches; even Fulmer could consistently beat the various Mike's they hired on the cheap. Not until they paid the big bucks have they turned it around. And look at them now.

Maybe we should take solace in the fact that the women's soccer team is ranked, and the volleyball team is first place in "others receiving votes".

Depressing.

ICECOLDVOL writes:

Devrin Young will electrify our punt return game, but we need better discipline overall with special teams.Im so sick of under achieving. GO VOLS!!!

Volborn writes:

in response to Ironcity:

UT has missed that dynamic returner for so long I can't remember when we had a good one. I am hopeful that Young is the guy.

As for the kicking game, anyone who thought we were going to be fine with Palardy and Darr in the swamp were fooling themselves. First year starters never play good their first big game on the road. Think back to Leverton at UCLA when he shanked a free kick after a safety. By the time he was a Junior he was really good but that first game was something else. These guys will grow but I would not be surprised to see this happen again at Alabama. It is what it is.

our last good one was Eric Parker....that was a long time ago.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

Bill Baker as old as he is has more spunk today than any of this Dooley bunch...and Gary Wright could out kick Palardy....At least never saw the Snake do the Sealy mattress test like Lane did...Pure coaching.

OrangePride writes:

Special teams play has been the Achilles Heel of Vol football for nearly a decade. The Alabama loss being one of the most heartbreaking. But we have allowed BIG punt returns, kick returns, critical missed field goals, and you name it. In fact, if you go back over game film, you are likely to find 7 or 8 games in the last 5 years where special teams breakdowns were directly responsible. I know we have worked on this quite a bit these last 3 years, so I have no answers as to why this is....let's hope Russel does and it improves. GO VOLS!

primetimevol writes:

in response to reeceb73:

Terry Fair is the last good one I remember

Nilo Silvan

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We don't have a problem.

We have a University and a football team that we love. We will have our ups and downs, but we will always be holding our head up, because we believe in things like character and tradition.

You have big problems. They are inside your head and eating away at what little is left.

Every time you hit the keyboard you should realize how sad it is to waste time being a loser troll.

I give thanks that you are not in my bloodline, and that nothing you think or say will ever affect the things I value.

MtJ_Orange writes:

Jim Bob Cooter? Just kidding, loved his name though!

usafvol writes:

in response to kcbigorngX:

We don't have a problem.

We have a University and a football team that we love. We will have our ups and downs, but we will always be holding our head up, because we believe in things like character and tradition.

You have big problems. They are inside your head and eating away at what little is left.

Every time you hit the keyboard you should realize how sad it is to waste time being a loser troll.

I give thanks that you are not in my bloodline, and that nothing you think or say will ever affect the things I value.

Bravo!!!!

FEARinSEC writes:

Good God, we lose one game that we are supposed to lose and you morons act like it's the end of the world!! Get a clue!!
While that was an ugly game in the Swamp (mud puddle), it was ugly for both sides. Flarduh just came out with the upper hand! Get over it!
As for all you Flarduh Trolls, keep on making us relevant by LIVING on a UT website! That'd be like me trolling a Kentucky website, then bragging when we beat them. Seriously?

madmaxvol writes:

in response to pingkr62:

The last decent return guy I can remember was Pete Penuska, He returned a kick off 100 yards against Maryland in the 1984 Sun Bowl. L.O.L!

Leonard Scott returned one 100 yards against Georgia in 1999, and Peerless Price returned one 100 yards against Bama in 1998.

RockyTop1_old writes:

in response to imw8n4u:

there is another personnel move that could make a huge difference in this phase too, Devrin Young. Hopefully he can make his debut against mighty Buffalo, unfortunately too late to help us out in this rivalry. Hmmm - anyone else having deja vu?

I hope this is will not turn out to be Fulmer-like in that, we always found the differnce maker the game AFTER the Florida game.

I know before the flames start that he has been hurt. But, I am wondering how many bench players will be starting by the time we play Kentucky and Vandy and will start the rest of their careers! Just some thoughts to ponder on an off week!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to FEARinSEC:

Good God, we lose one game that we are supposed to lose and you morons act like it's the end of the world!! Get a clue!!
While that was an ugly game in the Swamp (mud puddle), it was ugly for both sides. Flarduh just came out with the upper hand! Get over it!
As for all you Flarduh Trolls, keep on making us relevant by LIVING on a UT website! That'd be like me trolling a Kentucky website, then bragging when we beat them. Seriously?

Fear,

Excellent observation ! BTW, I wrote to Jack about the trolls........and what they are bent on doing to us with this site. Predictably, Jack made an end run around the issue and suggested that we join KNS247, the pay site.

Well, some of you have commented that the pay site isn't much better. So what do we do? We know the trolls aren't going anywhere. They love the 'attention' they are prone on getting.

Beginning to wonder about the VolElite site.
Maybe something like that is better. Like so many of us, I am tired of seeing 75% of the posts running down our Vols, the coaches, and anything to do with Tennessee.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks for illustrating his point and keeping UT relevant. You clearly spend too much time on this website as seen in this post.

Gbovol writes:

If Russell is the coach and they don't know how to hit and be physical, then it's time he showed them. Get the biggest player on the team to power over them until they get tired of being hit all the time and they respond by getting physical and hitting back the way football players should.

Pompey writes:

in response to 1BigOrangeCountryFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

.....finally the truth.....

springtx_vol writes:

in response to pingkr62:

The last decent return guy I can remember was Pete Penuska, He returned a kick off 100 yards against Maryland in the 1984 Sun Bowl. L.O.L!

Sorry, but Willie Gault was pretty good.

Pompey writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...moma calls you precious, but I call you troll.
Now the truth: no talent, no wins....more talent , more wins...any questions?

RatherBeDrivingaTitleist writes:

in response to Kelly8:

UT hasn't had a kicker since Jeff Hall, a punter since B. Colquitt, a legit All-American returner since Carter/Pickens, and for some reason Fulmer didn't even have a special teams coach (at least some of his tenure).

We are one of the worst teams in the country on special teams year in and year out. Every high school in Knox County can punt, and most of them have kickers that can hit field goals. Yes, I know they are playing high school teams but they are themselves HIGH SCHOOL TEAMS. It is predictable that UT will have the worst special teams in the conference year in and year out. And it's sad.

UT has a $100 million dollar athletic budget, a 100,000 seat stadium, and the most loyal fans in the country. We are also top ten all-time in bowl appearances, bowl wins, and claim six national championships.

It's 2011, and we can't kickoff, we can't field punts, we can't punt, we can't kick field goals, we can't snap the ball, we can't run the ball...this is just depressing. And yes, in two weeks we'll be 3-1 and everyone will be sooo excited.

Then we have a toss-up game with UGA, followed by losses to LSU, Bama, and the Gamecocks, followed by a cupcake MTSU, followed by a loss to Arky, followed by wins against Vandy and the Cats. This is getting too predictable. Completely mediocre in every way year after year after year.

So if we beat the Dawgs we're at 7-5, back in Nashville or maybe Memphis. And a program with virtually unlimited resources and unconditional fan support can be called nothing but mediocre. I'm sick of this phooey. But you know what? I'll still be sitting there for the Buffalo game, buying expensive, nasty hot dogs and wearing yet another brand-new UT shirt. And as long as the money keeps rolling in like it is from the people on this site, as long as we all continue to have irrational allegiance to a mediocrity that will get you fired in the real world, NOT ONE THING is going to change.

Dooley will, and should, get a chance through the 2013 season. But after he's gone, hopefully Hart will open the checkbook. Money is the one thing we always have. But ask Mal Moore (or Hart for that matter) what happens when you scrimp on head coaches; even Fulmer could consistently beat the various Mike's they hired on the cheap. Not until they paid the big bucks have they turned it around. And look at them now.

Maybe we should take solace in the fact that the women's soccer team is ranked, and the volleyball team is first place in "others receiving votes".

Depressing.

You know, don't you, that all of the 5 mil. dollar coaches that you want UT to go out and hire started out as assistants somewhere and eventually became the great coach that someone might be willing to pay that kind of money to. Give Coach Dooley a legitimate chance before you throw in the towel. He might end up being the big money coach you think we deserve.

wallingdad writes:

in response to RatherBeDrivingaTitleist:

You know, don't you, that all of the 5 mil. dollar coaches that you want UT to go out and hire started out as assistants somewhere and eventually became the great coach that someone might be willing to pay that kind of money to. Give Coach Dooley a legitimate chance before you throw in the towel. He might end up being the big money coach you think we deserve.

Dooley might be. but results speak so much louder than anything else. given the results so far at UT and at previous schools it does not show well. should he be given time? sure...but how much i guess is the million dollar question....

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to wallingdad:

Dooley might be. but results speak so much louder than anything else. given the results so far at UT and at previous schools it does not show well. should he be given time? sure...but how much i guess is the million dollar question....

I say that we give him until next year. He will have 3 of his own recruiting classes next year. He will no longer be able to place blame on the youth, or kiffin and Fulmers recruits. We need to see a VAST improvement by the end of next year. And more than one signature win.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to wallingdad:

Dooley might be. but results speak so much louder than anything else. given the results so far at UT and at previous schools it does not show well. should he be given time? sure...but how much i guess is the million dollar question....

Results don't always tell the whole story - Gene Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa. And I believe he just won a national title at Auburn. He's smart, methodical, detail oriented, and knows football. He'll get things organized and headed in the right direction.

DD was essentially handed a fixed deck. Seriously depleted personnel, cultural issues, NCAA sanctions, and an obviously poorly managed athletic department to support him (i.e. Hamilton). Regardless if you like him or not, I think it's fair to give him a reasonable amount of time to turn things around. Oh, and it's not like any coach in this country would make La. Tech a powerhouse, but personally I think he did well there considering the school's history, level of recruits, etc.

richvol writes:

Coach Russell hit the nail squarely on the head...UT is not physical enough. Especially on the O-line. UT has not been ready to go play in the swamp since 2001. That's the last time that UT has gone in there and whipped their arse.

Our O-line is soft and play like they are competing against their little brothers. There is no meanness or tear your head off type attitude among any of them and that's why they can't run block. Forget scheme and thinking too much...when all else fails you put the man across from you on his back and with prejudice. Our guys are like big teddy bears and seem to want to patty-cake with the other team. Coach Heistand needs to sit some of these "thinkers" and put somebody in that wants to hit somebody.

wallingdad writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

Results don't always tell the whole story - Gene Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa. And I believe he just won a national title at Auburn. He's smart, methodical, detail oriented, and knows football. He'll get things organized and headed in the right direction.

DD was essentially handed a fixed deck. Seriously depleted personnel, cultural issues, NCAA sanctions, and an obviously poorly managed athletic department to support him (i.e. Hamilton). Regardless if you like him or not, I think it's fair to give him a reasonable amount of time to turn things around. Oh, and it's not like any coach in this country would make La. Tech a powerhouse, but personally I think he did well there considering the school's history, level of recruits, etc.

I agree with you that we give him time. and i also agree there are always exceptions. Urban Meyer is a good example of what i was talking about. turned bowling green around (not exactly a powerhouse), did well at Utah proving him self and then afforded the opportunity at UF.

Same with Saban. Same with Mac Brown. Notre Dame went after a proven coach that was very successful at Cincy. Typically top tier schools go after proven capacity to win. not all work out.

I was surprised that UF went after Muschamp because of no head coaching experience. I would have thought they learned their lesson with Zook. but time will tell if that was a good move or not.

i agree that results dont always tell the story. there are always exceptions and i hope that Dooley is one of them just like Chizik.

VolGrad writes:

zzzzzzz....

Somebody wake me up this time next week, please.

docwater#225789 writes:

Kicking game went south when we lost George Cafego.

AS for Trolls such as that motherlover precious and others, skip over their posts. They are static on the line.....

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wow, just when I thought you couldn't demonstrate a more pathetic life. Do you spend any time with family, friends, work? do you have friends, family or a job? seek help.

Ironcity writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

"Palardy and Darr will grow, just not sure how patient we're going to have to be. They're still young, not many are excellent their first year starting. We just need them to be consistently better than average for now."

Huh? Kickers have to grow? These guys kicked great in HS. The football is the same in college, isn't it? These guys are now college sophomores, and they look like they are the furthest thing from highly successful HS kickers. I don't understand how a kicker can be so outstanding in HS and so mediocre their 2nd year in college. Am I missing something?

Kicking is very mental and really there is no pressure in high school. They get to college the atmosphere is completely different. Take a look at the US Army game and the other all star games this year. The punting and the kicking is traditionally just awful during those games and the kickers are suppose to be the best there is. These kids though talented struggle until they get use to it. The kicker for UF was horrible two years ago yet on Saturday he looked like he could go pro. Our guys will get better lets hope its sooner rather then later.

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to docwater#225789:

Kicking game went south when we lost George Cafego.

AS for Trolls such as that motherlover precious and others, skip over their posts. They are static on the line.....

Exactly. When we don't respond to the trolls, they can only talk to themselves. Please don't feed the trolls!

Freshmen and sophs simply can't be effective whin the full spectrum of the game.....every bit as much so in regards to special teams. Bad play in this area certainly does seem to be an epidemic with the Vols, but we won't actually be able to draw an actual conclusion for another couple of years. give DD a break! He does have a similar background to that of Saban's and he's loyal to the program.....unlike Meyer who can definitely coach, but how long did he stay at fu? As an earlier poster noted, Chizick's prior record wasn't at all good, and big dollar Chip Kelley's ND team is 1-2. All the prophets on here need to refocus their crystal balls.....or at least show some. GBO!

volman444 writes:

I am tired of coaches talking about it after the fact. The gators kill us in the kicking game every year. How about fixing it before the game dufus.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Usually you are an idiot but this time you are right. When a player is asked why the OL is having problems and the first reply is players not knowing the plays you have a coaching issue. The special teams coach rattles off all the things his players did wrong and all are mental errors that is bad coaching. I am not anti Dooley but I worried when the OL got no better as the season went on last year and is going backwards this year. There needs to be a review of the assistants with the understanding that they are responsible for the performance of their players. These kids aren't stupid. They have the talent. They need to be coached up

Kelly8 writes:

in response to RatherBeDrivingaTitleist:

You know, don't you, that all of the 5 mil. dollar coaches that you want UT to go out and hire started out as assistants somewhere and eventually became the great coach that someone might be willing to pay that kind of money to. Give Coach Dooley a legitimate chance before you throw in the towel. He might end up being the big money coach you think we deserve.

And I quote "Dooley will, and should, get a chance through the 2013 season". Read the post if you're going to respond to it.

VolZX10R writes:

Unfortunately UT does have a problem winning games like we are accustomed to doing. I don't believe it is all due to coaching. We simply do not pay to get the best players as other more recently successful universities do.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Exactly. When we don't respond to the trolls, they can only talk to themselves. Please don't feed the trolls!

Freshmen and sophs simply can't be effective whin the full spectrum of the game.....every bit as much so in regards to special teams. Bad play in this area certainly does seem to be an epidemic with the Vols, but we won't actually be able to draw an actual conclusion for another couple of years. give DD a break! He does have a similar background to that of Saban's and he's loyal to the program.....unlike Meyer who can definitely coach, but how long did he stay at fu? As an earlier poster noted, Chizick's prior record wasn't at all good, and big dollar Chip Kelley's ND team is 1-2. All the prophets on here need to refocus their crystal balls.....or at least show some. GBO!

Gee...Glad to know that freshmen and sophs can't be effective...I don't ever remember Kell, Warren, Kiner, Reynolds, Graham, Rotella, Emendorfer,Lewis, and Berry being effective as underclassmen...Must have been a dream or maybe a new rule that says they can't be effective now that Dooley's the coach...It's called an excuse for losing.

bigOutfan writes:

It's been so long since UT has had a winning team. (I'm talking about beating somebody that matters) They have 5 games coming up, AL, LSU, AK, SC, and GA. TN won't be favored in any of these games because they're soft, they're lazy and they have no fight or pride. They can't kick, can't run, can't tackle, can't even center the d#@* ball to the QB, all this equals losing. All you get now days is a bunch of excuses, from the players and the coaches. I for one am sick of it! Show me ONE player on this team that has the Al Wilson or Dale Jones 'will' to win.... You can't do it! Until they get sick of losing and get on the field and punch somebody in the mouth, then this is all you're going to get.
p.s. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on them, after all, they are "so young" Hey, but look on the bright side they probably will be picked to beat Buffalo! Yaaaahhhhh!!!

asm2008 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

"Palardy and Darr will grow, just not sure how patient we're going to have to be. They're still young, not many are excellent their first year starting. We just need them to be consistently better than average for now."

Huh? Kickers have to grow? These guys kicked great in HS. The football is the same in college, isn't it? These guys are now college sophomores, and they look like they are the furthest thing from highly successful HS kickers. I don't understand how a kicker can be so outstanding in HS and so mediocre their 2nd year in college. Am I missing something?

Palardy is the next Lincoln.... We will all be calling for his head next year. Let's face it, he doesn't have it. Darr on the other hand will be just fine. Raw talent that needs to be tuned up with time. Darr is a freshman on the field. Expect great things from him. Palardys attitude is arrogant and "nothing is his fault". Dare's attitude is determined and "wants to be great". Meet both of them and you will see!

tovolny writes:

Palardy has slowed his approach down a little bit, but he is still running too fast when he gets to the ball on kick offs. Just watch the better kickers in the NFL and College, and you will notice they approach the ball with power, but are not running at a full gallop. We have not had a kicking game in 5 years. Why not hire Bill Bates or the original Colquit...or maybe have Ron (Wibby) come by occasionally. There are some SPECIAL TEAMS coaches out there...let’s find the best one and make him an offer. If we don't change our special teams situation...NO IMPROVEMENTS WILL BE REALIZED. Head coaches need to spend a lot of time with special teams; however, I feel a dedicated coach is needed.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tovolny:

Palardy has slowed his approach down a little bit, but he is still running too fast when he gets to the ball on kick offs. Just watch the better kickers in the NFL and College, and you will notice they approach the ball with power, but are not running at a full gallop. We have not had a kicking game in 5 years. Why not hire Bill Bates or the original Colquit...or maybe have Ron (Wibby) come by occasionally. There are some SPECIAL TEAMS coaches out there...let’s find the best one and make him an offer. If we don't change our special teams situation...NO IMPROVEMENTS WILL BE REALIZED. Head coaches need to spend a lot of time with special teams; however, I feel a dedicated coach is needed.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought Russell was a full-time special-teams coach. IMHO, the main problem is that the Vols don't put starter-quality players on special teams. Virginia Tech, Alabama, and even Florida use starters on their special teams. I think the Vols, possibly starting with Fulmer, didn't want to give up such players for the amount of practice time it takes to be sharp on special teams, just as it takes practice time to be good on offense and defense. This problem may be magnified on this team because of the perception that there is just not enough talented depth to go around, so the loss of a starter because of a special teams injury, in practice or in a game, is too damaging. I have always maintained that special-teams play is IN FACT one-third of winning football, but I would bet my last dime that the Vols don't spend one-third of their practice time on it and mostly only use scrubs as members of those teams, except for the returners. In any case, special-teams play has been a conspicuous failing in UT football for WAY too long now. The fact that some of us can remember a few exceptional players should tell us how rare they are.

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