Palardy talks about challenging first season

Football fans often have lofty and sometime high expectations of true freshmen, especially when they come into their program highly touted and rated. Kicker and punter Michael Palardy spoke to the media following Saturday's regular season finale against Kentucky. He evaluates his performance and gives some insight on a few issues.

It isn't always easy coming in rated as the No. 1 player at your position.

If you don't believe it, ask true freshman kicker/punter Michael Palardy.

Palardy rated as the No. 1 over all kicker by as a senior at St Thomas Aquinas, saw a lot of action during his first season as a Tennessee Vol.

In Saturday's game against Kentucky, he was called in to punt for the Vols when senior Chad Cunningham broke his hand.

"I got the word last week that Chad had broken his hand and that I would be punting this week," Palardy said after the game. "I felt like I would be ready to contribute, we have been working on it all week."

Many Vol fans had lofty expectations of the strong leg kicker coming into the season, while Palardy kicks didn't reach the end zone very often this fall like they did in high school, the true freshman talked about his first year at the college level.

"This season hasn't gone as good as I hoped," Palardy said. "I have been playing with an injury all season. My groin has been killing me since the first kickoff in the Oregon game. It's been difficult, but I think it could have been better but overall thought I did pretty good." Palardy didn't make excuses or talked about his injury much during the season.

"I didn't want anyone to think or worry about it," Palardy said. "I had to do something for my team. The kickoffs were the worse for me. I had to kick through it; it was something I had to do."

Palardy also made a big play Saturday against Kentucky, when he took a fake punt and ran 16 yards to pick up a crucial first down for the Vols.

"It had worked all week throughout practice," Palardy said. "As long as Nick Reveiz was my lead blocker I wasn't too worried."

Chad Cunningham had success earlier in the season on a fake punt, Palardy smiled when he was asked if he teased the senior specialist about who was the fastest athlete.

"Throughout the entire week I teased Chad that I was going to be faster than he was," Palardy said. "Coach Dooley's play calling has earned a lot of respect from our players. I think that a lot of people have trust in me to run it and faith in the coaches to call it at the right time."

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