Vols Finalize 2010 Slate; Go Overtime in Practice After Costly Fumbles

March 31, 2009

Tennessee completed its 2010 football schedule Tuesday with the announcement that the Vols are hosting UT Martin to open the season, marking Tennessee's first game against a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 27 years.

"The University of Tennessee always has placed a priority on scheduling FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) opponents in football," UT athletics director Mike Hamilton said. "FBS buy games are becoming much more difficult to acquire. As we began to review the possibilities of playing an FCS opponent, it made sense to schedule a game against a school in the UT System and keep the money in state.

"While this will not always be a possibility, it worked for 2010 and we look forward to welcoming Skyhawk fans to Knoxville."

Tennessee becomes the last Southeastern Conference member since expansion in 1992 to schedule an opponent from the FCS, formerly Division I-AA. The Vols defeated The Citadel 45-6 back on Oct. 1, 1983, in Memphis. Since then, UT has maintained a schedule of major college opponents.

The Vols also welcome Oregon, Florida and UAB to Neyland Stadium in September, and then host Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky to complete the home schedule. Away dates are against LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Memphis and Vanderbilt.

UT Martin finished 8-4 last season, 6-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference and just out of the NCAA playoffs. The Skyhawks are 21-14 in four seasons under head coach Jason Simpson and were 2006 league champions.

"Coach Simpson and the team are looking forward to the challenge," UT Martin athletics director Phil Dane said. "This is a great opportunity for our school. We look forward to the trip."

Tennessee opens the 2009 football season under new head coach Lane Kiffin on Sept. 5 against Western Kentucky.

Date Opponent Place
Sept. 5 Western Kentucky Knoxville
Sept. 12 UCLA Knoxville
Sept. 19 *at Florida Gainesville
Sept. 26 Ohio Knoxville
Oct. 3 *Auburn Knoxville
Oct. 10 *Georgia Knoxville
Oct. 24 *at Alabama Tuscaloosa
Oct. 31 *South Carolina Knoxville
Nov. 7 Memphis (HC) Knoxville
Nov. 14 *at Mississippi Oxford
Nov. 21 *Vanderbilt Knoxville
Nov. 28 *at Kentucky Lexington
Dec. 5 SEC Championship Atlanta
Date Opponent Place
Sept. 4 UT Martin Knoxville
Sept. 11 Oregon Knoxville
Sept. 18 *Florida Knoxville
Sept. 25 UAB Knoxville
Oct. 2 *at LSU Baton Rouge
Oct. 9 *at Georgia Athens
Oct. 23 *Alabama Knoxville
Oct. 30 *at South Carolina Columbia
Nov. 6 at Memphis Memphis
Nov. 13 *Mississippi (HC) Knoxville
Nov. 20 *at Vanderbilt Nashville
Nov. 27 *Kentucky Knoxville
Dec. 4 SEC Championship Atlanta
*-SEC Opponent; HC-Homecoming.


Time and again Tuesday at Haslam Field, Tennessee's offensive units tried to finish practice just as if they were finishing a game. Yet turnovers prolonged the afternoon.

"We were into a four-minute drill where the offense just had to kill the clock to win the game," head coach Lane Kiffin said. "And the defense got two turnovers in a row -- one after the offense had made a first down. It was a great job by the defense. That's how you win games, with plays at the end of the game."

Through their extended hours, the Vols worked for nearly three hours to put their seventh spring practice date in the books.

"We're really pleased with the defense," Kiffin said. "Obviously, the offense has to take care of the ball better. Other than that, I thought it was a pretty good practice.

"Where I was at before, we would not have gone live in spring ball on short yardage on a Tuesday. But we've got to find out who our five guys are up front. So we've got to put it live and make sure our backs see that as well. I thought the offensive line responded extremely well. It obviously wasn't their fault on the fumbles."

Kiffin added that the coaching staff installed more of the offense and defense, including short-yardage and four-minute. He also welcomed the return of junior quarterback Nick Stephens, who has been sidelined with an injured throwing hand.

"It was really good to see him out there. He looked comfortable, especially in his decision-making with what we did with him today. We will keep giving him more and more."

Tennessee's next two practices are in conjunction with the 2009 UT Spring Coaching Clinic. Registration begins Thursday at 2 p.m., with the afternoon practice set for 3-5 p.m. There is a coaches cookout that night, followed by Kiffin speaking to the group at 7 p.m.

Friday, the UT assistant coaching staff takes center stage from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., with defensive cohorts Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron kicking off the morning session. The evening concludes with a TSSAA rules seminar.

Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl-champion head coach Mike Tomlin headlines Saturday morning's schedule with a 10 a.m. session, followed by Tennessee's first spring scrimmage at Neyland Stadium. Tomlin began his NFL coaching career under Monte Kiffin as defensive backs coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For more information on this year's clinic, contact the UT football office at (865) 974-1234.





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