Following Tennessee’s second practice of Chick-fil-A Bowl week, the competition among kickers Chad Cunningham, Daniel Lincoln and Devin Mathis was declared a game-time decision Sunday by coach Lane Kiffin. Special teams are a particular focus for the Volunteers, who will move inside the Georgia Dome on Monday for a 10 a.m. practice.
Kiffin also commented on Florida head coach Urban Meyer, Kiffin's occasional foil who rocked the SEC with his announce to step down after the Gators' appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
“I think it’s very tough [to maintain work/life balance], as competitive as it is nowadays, especially in this conference,” said Kiffin, speaking before Meyer clarified his plan as a leave of absence. “It’s tough to see because he’s obviously a great football coach and the conference will miss him and college football.
Asked about his workload, Kifin said, “I don’t know any different, so to me it seems normal. I have to remind myself of other people outside of this world, who weren’t raised in this world, how different it is. Being around the NFL as a kid and coaching in it, you work all the time. You don’t really know much different. I have to remind myself of that a lot.”
Scott back at home for finale
Senior left tackle Chris Scott grinned widely when asked about playing his final college game in the Georgia Dome, a half-hour away from his childhood home in Riverdale. He’s managed a few extra tickets from teammates and estimates another 20 to 30 relatives will gather to watch him play on television.
“A lot of my people will be at the game,” Scott said. “It feels great to put on a show where folks can see me up close and personal.”
Scott, a product of Lovejoy High School, chose Tennessee in 2005 as part of the recruiting class that included quarterback Jonathan Crompton and running back Montario Hardesty. Scott has protected Crompton and other UT quarterbacks for 38 consecutive games and helped Hardesty rush for 1,306 yards this season, the fifth-best total in school history.
He endured battles with weight control early in his career, but cracked the Vols lineup at right guard in 2006 when Eric Young was injured. Now stable at 346 pounds, he has started at left tackle for 30 games in a row. It’s something to celebrate for the second-team All-SEC performer.
A second and more impressive streak is in tact for Scott: zero sacks allowed in 2009. Virginia Tech defensive ends Nekos Brown and Jason Worilds will attempt to end that streak for Scott, who is fast catching the attention of pro scouts.
“I’ve played well enough to give myself a chance,” Scott said. “The coaches have been very helpful in putting me in this position. It’s something that I’m looking forward to, adding another chapter to my book.”
Vols visit Litjonia church
Before Sunday’s practice, Volunteer players and coaches attended morning worship services at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. LaMarcus Thompson, a junior linebacker from Lithonia, tried to alert the team his place of worship was something to behold. "It was good for the guys to see the size of the church,” Thompson said. “A lot of them were really amazed. I was telling them the whole time -- they didn’t believe me -- that it looked like Philips Arena. They were glad to be a part of it.”