A Meaningful Day for Vols' Seniors

Oct. 19, 2013

One of those Vol seniors had the biggest moment of his career in the game's final moment, as Michael Palardy nailed a game-winning 19-yard field goal.

"It meant everything, to be honest with you, it's been a long time coming. The biggest thing for me was coming back from my missed field goal earlier and maintaining focus.

Turns out, Palardy called his shot a night earlier.

"Mike and I were in line at dinner last night and I looked at him because he told me he was going to have the game winner at Georgia," Jones said. "I looked at him this time and said, `You've got the game winner tomorrow, right?' He looked at me and said, `I got you, Coach.'"

"He tells me every day to visualize the game-winning kick, because sooner or later it's going to cime down to it. My relationship with Coach Jones is something I've never experienced before. The confidence he has instilled in me is unbreakable. I couldn't do it without him.

Fellow senior Marlon Walls was too nervous to watch the game's final play.

"A few of us looked over at the fans, I told the fans to let us know if he makes it," Walls said. "They let us know. I couldn't watch it, but I have a lot of faith in Michael Palardy. He always said he wanted to kick a game winner. He got it today."

By Brian Rice

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The message after the game was clear. This win was a long time coming for the Tennessee seniors.

A group that had been through so much over the last four years got past the near misses and miscues of the past to see their work pay off in a big way on Saturday, breaking an 0-19 streak against ranked teams with a 23-21 win over South Carolina.

"Our players, the Marlon Walls', the Corey Miller's, I could go on and on, Ja'Wuan James, all of these seniors, (James) Stone, just on and on and on, I let them enjoy it and celebrate it."

After the celebration, the seniors had difficulty putting the feeling into words, but the emotion in their voices told the story.

"It means everything," defensive lineman Daniel Hood said. "It's what we wanted to do this year as seniors the foundation that we wanted to set. For us, it was nice to get that one win, the one we'll always talk about."

For Marlon Walls, the feeling after the game was the payoff for the years of hard work and pressing on through the tough times.

"We watch College Gameday. When they say stuff about you or your team, I hurt for those guys," said Walls. "I told them before the Georgia game, that I was tired of people talking about us bad. I know how hard we work and how much time we put into this. The feeling is amazing."

Getting the win for the seniors was a similarly rewarding feeling for the rest of the squad, particularly for Tiny Richardson, who shares the Tennessee offensive line with four of those seniors.

"I was happy to get that win for the seniors," Richardson said. "Those guys have been here so long and haven't been able to get that big win They've been so close, but haven't been able to get it. So to be able to get that win for them in front of our home crowd was everything."

Though he allowed the seniors to bask in the feeling of the win, Jones said the work continues so the feeling becomes something that is expected every week.

"We believe," Jones said. "We believe in the way we train. Obviously being in the SEC, it doesn't get any easier. We all know what's up next week. I'm just really proud of our players and their leadership and the things that they've been through. They haven't waivered. They haven't flinched one bit."





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