Dec. 29, 2009
Chaney, Kiffin, Hardesty, Walker Audio - 12/29 | GALLERY
ATLANTA - The Tennessee football team held its final full practice Tuesday before the Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Virginia Tech on Dec. 31. Both teams will hold brief walk-throughs on Wednesday before playing Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The common theme in the UT coaches' comments to the media following the workout was one of balancing the depth of the game plan with the amount of time available for preparation. UT's coordinators, Jim Chaney on offense and Monte Kiffin on defense, said it was difficult to keep from putting too much into the gameplan.
By kickoff on New Year's Eve, 33 days will have passed since UT's last game, and 25 days will have passed since UT discovered its bowl opponent. During the regular season, coaches and players have four or five days to develop and install a game plan.
"I looked back on some notes when we became bowl eligible," Chaney said. "In my notes from my Purdue days it said, `Slow down and don't put too much stuff in.' You've got a tremendous amount of time on your hands. I think we've done a pretty good job of putting some barometers on ourselves so we don't get too crazy. But you do have to watch it because you can fall victim too it."
Tennessee's play-caller, head coach Lane Kiffin, has seen the same issue from his bowl preparation as an offensive coordinator at Southern California. The first-year head coach said game planning on offense is primarily an issue of how much the quarterback can handle.
"I thought a lot about it," Kiffin said. "I went back to what I knew. I had the same feeling in a lot of bowl games before. There's so much time and we put so much stuff in. It's really the passing game and not the running game that it affects.
"It's about the quarterback, as long as the quarterback understands everything. I spent some time with him yesterday and he feels great about the game plan. We're not going to limit him."
On the defensive side, Virginia Tech's offense presents a unique challenge for the Vols. The elder Kiffin has a reputation of success with ample preparation time, but insists it's different with the Hokies because of their talent and offensive scheme.
"You have to be careful," Kiffin said. "You go through all of the game film. You can only put so much in on defense, but you've got to make sure you've covered everything. They do a lot of different things in a lot of different formations."
The Vols visited two Atlanta-area hospitals following practice on Tuesday, and the team also participated in a Milkshake Party sponsored by Chick-fil-A during the evening.
Lane Kiffin will join Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer at an 11 a.m. ET press conference before the team departs for a 12:30 p.m. luncheon and "chalk talk" at the Marriott Marquis. Tennessee's walk through is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.