Brodus breaks through

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Florida marches into Neyland Stadium on Saturday night riding a seven-game winning streak over Tennessee, dating back to 2004 and its last concern will be placekicker Caleb Sturgis.

A redshirt senior, Sturgis is 40-for-46 on field goal attempts and 96-for-101 on extra point all-time for the Gators. A 2011 Lou Groza finalist, the award given to the nation's top kicker, Sturgis is on the watch list once again in 2012.

On the other hand, Derek Dooley and the Vols will throw out walk-on kicker Derrick Brodus for his first start of the 2012 season. Brodus, who is 2-for-2 with a long of 27 yards all-time, was named the started after scholarship kicker Michael Palary missed an extra point in Weeks 1 and 2 and went wide left on a 39-yard attempt against Georgia State in the home opener.

"This week we are planning on kicking Derrick Brodus starting out as long as things stay the same during the week," Dooley said Monday. "(I) still believe in Mike (Palardy), but he has got some things that he is working through and Derrick certainly earned the right to be out there."

Palardy, who was ranked as the No. 1 kicking prospect in the nation by FOX Sports NEXT in 2010, was 9-for-14 as a sophomore, but did have a long of 52 yards. However, Dooley says distance won't be a factor — Brodus has the keys to the ship.

"He has made every kick every time he has been out there," Dooley said. "He kicks it high and he has a nice calm about him, but we will see. I have confidence to kick Derrick, I do. I wouldn't name him the starter if I didn't."

Brodus, a Maryville, Tenn., native, was not with the team during summer workouts because Dooley wanted to evaluate scholarship kicker George Bullock, who broke his leg during the preseason, and the Vols were already at the 105 limit for summer workouts.

Vol fans have to go back to the Orange & White game during the spring to see that Brodus did connect on a 37-yard attempt, but also missed on a 27-yarder earlier in the scrimmage, however in crunch time Brodus has been perfect, which is why he is earning the start.

"It is really no different than all the other positions — it is performance based and it is my responsibility as the coach," Dooley said. "If you feel like another guy is more deserving and gives you a better chance at the end of the game that is what we are going to do.

"I don't know if it is the right one. Time will tell and Mike understands it. I still believe in Mike, he is talented, he has some technical things he needs to work through to perform on game day and he will do it."

Any way you slice it three of the last four Tennessee victories in the series have been decided by three points or less and last time around Vol kicker James Wilhoit needed a 50-yard field goal to make up for a game-typing missed extra point to seal a Orange & White victory in 2004. Could Brodus do the same if called upon?

Watch as Tennessee head coach addresses the media following practice Monday:


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