Practice Notebook: Wildcat Wednesday

Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers football squad are wrapping up preparations for the final game of the regular season. Read as InsideTennessee brings you all the latest from Haslam Field.

Dooley Bringin' His Own Flavor

Derek Dooley has been true to many Tennessee traditions since arriving on Rocky Top, but he has brought his own flavor as well. This week Dooley implemented one of his own touches on the Tennessee program. Dooley let the team elect captains for the final game with Kentucky.

"I like doing it at the end of the year because I am trying to promote leadership throughout the year," Dooley said. "It's voted by the team and I don't have anything to do with it."

Throughout the year the coaching staff has elected captains for each game, but all Dooley gave the team this week was a few guidelines to consider when choosing their leaders for the week.

"I told the team before they voted there are several qualities they should look for in a captain, one of them is doing your job. You are putting it all in with great passion and the team can count on you to do your job every day.

"The second thing is your ability to affect others in a positive way. How does that person not only do their job, but also help others to do their job.

"Third, that he represents all the values of the organization and gives it to the team....I think the team made some great decisions."

The players placed their votes and came up with some names you might expect. Senior linebacker Nick Reveiz was chosen as the defensive captain alongside Luke Stocker and Tauren Poole on the offensive side.

Not Chaney's Best Game

The Vols offense didn't have its best week on the road against Vanderbilt last week. Tyler Bray seemed human tossing two interceptions in the Vols 24-10 win over the ‘Dores, but Jim Chaney takes part of the blame.

"I don't think I called a particularly good football game for the young man," Chaney said. "We did some things a little different than we tried to before and I think, quite honestly, we weren't ready to get into doing a lot of that.

"If I had to do it again I would change a few things personally, but with that said he has to make me look good and I don't think he did that all the time either. That's just kind of the way it is."

Chaney said some of the empty sets that Tennessee went with early in the game made the offense sputter and may have been a bit ahead of schedule.

"I think we did a lot of the empty stuff early on and we struggled with that. I thought we were ready roll that direction and quite honestly I don't believe looking back that we were, but it's water under the bridge now and we keep moving on."

Containing Cobb, Is It Possible?

Justin Wilcox and the Tennessee defense will again be tested by one of the SEC's most talented skill position players against Kentucky in Randall Cobb. With the versatility of Cobb it is almost impossible to take him out of the game.

"You can limit is touches as best you can, but they are going to get him the ball," Wilcox said. "They are going to get him the ball in the run game, the screen game, they are going to throw it down the field to him, they are going to snap it to him, so obviously they are going to get him his touches."

The Volunteers will have to be aware of where Cobb is at all times, but don't expect for Cobb to be silent no matter what the level of awareness.

"What you have to do is have an awareness of where he is at. Schematically you try to take away some of what he does and everybody tries to do that, but he is such an impressive player that he is going to get some yards."

Vols Must Lock In

Other college students, including this one, are headed home for the holidays, but the Tennessee Volunteers have to remain focused on their upcoming game with Kentucky. Derek Dooley says it is imperative that the Vols continue to work through the distractions.

"We have had a better week of practice this week than we did last week, that is for sure," Dooley said. "We haven't been perfect, but we never are. They have been into it and we have to finish it tomorrow. We have to have a good day tomorrow – a lot of distractions tomorrow.

"It's important that we come out tomorrow and focus in, lock it in pretty good with a clear mind."

Dooley says the players will conclude practice around 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon and then have 24 hours to enjoy the holiday before returning for Friday's walk-through.

Everyone is Struggling

As the Vols close out their last week of regular season practice it is no secret that the team is little sore, but so is every other team across the college football landscape.

"We have had some guys banged up and I think we are recovering," Dooley said Wednesday. "A lot of guys we have kind of been limiting out there and hopefully it will help on Saturday.

"This is the sixth game in a row since the open date. Everybody is like that in college football. Everybody across the country is banged up."

Kickoffs, Cunningham to Take Over?

The inconsistency of true freshman kicker Michael Palardy on kickoffs may have caught up with him this week. Derek Dooley wouldn't say with complete confidence, but it certainly sounds like senior punter Chad Cunningham will take over against Kentucky.

"Cunningham might kick on kickoffs," Dooley said. "He has been pretty good this week on kickoffs, so he may be kicking the kickoffs."

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