Kiffin Wants Players to 'Have Their Minds Right' for Opener

Sept. 3, 2009

With the start of one of the most anticipated football seasons in recent memory less than 48 hours away, Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin spoke about making sure his players were mentally prepared following Thursday's final full practice before kickoff.

"I'm most worried about our players," Kiffin said. "I'm most worried about the players, making sure they're right. Because they're out there. We have to remember that as coaches even though we don't feel it, you guys feel it, they feel it. They're going to class every day. They're seeing all the kids come up to them, all the students. So that builds with them, and the pressure mounts. We have a very hard job to do with those guys. Those are always the guys you're most scared of. If you just let them go out and play and don't have their mind right, they'll do what most freshmen do and that's go out and make a ton of mistakes. That's why most people don't play freshmen."

Kiffin said he is excited for his first game as Tennessee's head coach, but he's careful not to let his players see a difference in his demeanor.

"It'll be an exciting day," he said. "But I'm not really focused on that or thinking about that. I've got to make sure these guys are right. Last thing that I can do is go out of my focus and all of a sudden they feel something different in me. That's what we're working so hard for them to do."

The Vols will hold a walk-through practice Friday evening in advance of Saturday's 12:21 p.m. Eastern time kickoff. The game is being televised by the SEC Network. See for a list of local affiliates.

Captains Named: Junior safety Eric Berry, junior linebacker Nick Reveiz, senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton and senior tailback Montario Hardesty will serve as the Vols' captains for the 2009 season.

Hardesty will join fans for a live chat on beginning at 1 p.m. Friday. Fans can log on to interact directly and submit questions for Hardesty.

Shaw Starter at Right Tackle: Kiffin said Thursday that right tackle Jarrod Shaw will start against Western Kentucky on Saturday.

Redshirt freshman Aaron Douglas, who moved to tackle from tight end during spring practice, will also play Saturday, Kiffin said.





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