Oct. 25, 2009
The Tennessee football team returned to work a day early following Saturday's 12-10 loss to then-No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Rather than taking Sunday off and holding a light workout Monday, the Vols switched the two days' routines and held a brief practice Sunday evening at Haslam Field.
It could be assumed that UT head coach Lane Kiffin made the move to help his players move on from a heartbreaking rivalry loss, but the primary reason to make the switch had nothing to do with football.
"We needed to push it up so that Monday we could focus on academics," Kiffin said. "We put so much on the kids and we are so demanding of them."
Kiffin says the adjusted schedule will remain in place for the rest of the season and that it does have some beneficial football-related side effects.
"As coaches, we're in on Sunday getting everything done, and we wait until Monday to rehash it with them," Kiffin said. "I'd rather get it out of the way with them so we can move on as a staff and have a lot more time to prepare (for the next opponent)."
Tennessee's next opponent is another ranked foe, No. 21 South Carolina. The Gamecocks, 6-2 on the season, come to Neyland Stadium on Oct. 31 to close out a brutal month on the UT schedule. The Vols have already hosted then-unbeaten Auburn, division rival Georgia and traveled to play the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
The contest will be Tennessee's 15th all-time on Halloween and its third vs. South Carolina on that date. Tennessee is 11-3 all-time on Oct. 31 and 1-1 vs. the Gamecocks. UT's last Halloween game was at South Carolina in 1998, a 49-14 UT win. The Vols have not hosted a Halloween contest in Knoxville since 1942 when the 20th-ranked Vols shut out 19th-ranked LSU, 26-0.
Kickoff is set for 7:45 p.m. ET with ESPN providing the television coverage.