Dec. 12, 2009
Tennessee concentrated its practice efforts Saturday on conditioning and physical play, and head coach Lane Kiffin said it's part of his bowl preparation itinerary.
"We put them through a really hard practice," Kiffin said. "For the ones (first team), their last drive of the day was 18 plays in a row with no substitutions; for the twos, it was 28 plays in a row, which is very unusual.
"We wanted to put an emphasis on our conditioning. I think one of the things that can be missed during bowl preparations is when you go through the motions in practice and then go a month without playing anything that simulates a game. So instead of just the normal four plays and rotating, we went with the long-drive emphasis today."
Tennessee's second of its three weekend practices extended past the 90-minute mark inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.
Kiffin liked how his squad looked with still nearly three weeks until the Vols meet Virginia Tech in the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
"I thought today's practice was really good, really spirited," Kiffin said. "There was a lot of energy, especially for a morning practice. After watching Friday's film, that practice was just OK. So we really challenged them to come out today and have a great practice.
"I do think our team has great focus right now. To see how far they've come -- from a physical standpoint, but more importantly from a mental standpoint -- that they don't get fatigued."
Kiffin said constant training has paid off in those departments.
"Your mind gets tired way before your body does, so it's been conditioning and a lot of mental training. When you talk enough about that and you train your players to understand that, they can do what we did today."