Aug. 25, 2008
The Tennessee football team practiced in shorts and shoulder pads for slightly more than 90 minutes Monday as preparations for the season opener at UCLA hit full swing. Though the players have seen pieces of the UCLA game plan in the previous three weeks, Monday signaled a shift in focus to the Bruins entirely.
"It's great to get into a week where we're working on itineraries, travel squads, game plans and have a chance to go against someone else," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We had a good day today. I think we're completely into our UCLA preparation. We'll tighten some things that are very fixable from the kicking scrimmage on Saturday and hopefully each day we'll take another step towards being ready to play."
The Vols long week includes five more practices and an almost 2,000-mile flight to Pasadena, Calif. Fulmer is interested to see what impact the extra practice has on his team but not too concerned about the cross-country flight and time zone change.
"There's a little bit of a thought process there," Fulmer said. "You end up having two Thursday (practices). It's been a long time. It's a little bit different, but I think the risk/reward thing is worth it if we go and play the way we're capable of playing."
The reason he's not concerned about the time change is the team's plan to head west a day early.
"You try to keep them on a routine, that's the reason we go out a day early so that they can get somewhat accustomed to it. It would be different if we were playing at 8:00 out there when it's 11:00 here. But playing at five o'clock, that will keep their body clocks pretty much the same.
"We've made that haul a couple of times and it's worked out."
The UCLA game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 1. It will air live nationally on ESPN.