"My goal is to win the kicking job," Lincoln said afterward. "That's why I came here … I came a long way from Florida."
Vol head man Phillip Fulmer broke with tradition and signed two kickers to scholarships in February of 2006 – Lincoln and Chad Cunningham of Dawsonville, Ga. Both kicked so poorly last fall as backups to senior James Wilhoit that Fulmer recently threatened to let punter Britton Colquitt double as the place-kicker in 2007.
Asked if he thought the head man was sending a message to the rookie kickers, Lincoln shrugged.
"I talked with Coach Fulmer about what went on in the fall and some of the adjustments I needed to make to be successful," he said. "Britton's an upperclassman, and he's got a lot of equity here … done a lot of good things in the punting game. He kicked quite a bit in high school and always backed up James (Wilhoit).
"Britton being an upperclassman and me being a young guy who struggled a little bit in the fall, I knew I needed to come in and be as close to perfect as anybody can be to get the job. That's the goal every day I come out."
As his five-of-six success rate suggests, Lincoln was pretty close to perfect on Saturday. Still, he was disappointed that he wasn't six of six.
"I came up short from 50 but I know I can hit outside 50," said Lincoln, who hit a 51-yarder in high school. "That's not a problem. I routinely hit ‘em in practice outside 55. I can hit ‘em long. I just need to make a few adjustments, come back fresh and get on it."
The windy conditions created obvious problems for passers, punters and kickers on Saturday. Colquitt missed from 40 and 33 yards before rallying to hit his last three field-goal attempts. Lincoln handled the conditions a little better.
"The wind wasn't really in your face or at your back," he said. "It was kind of swirling. It was changing between the time you took your aim and the time you took your steps and kicked the ball. It was going left to right, right to left, swirling around, so it was kind of hard to get a bead on it."
So how did he deal with the wind?
"I just lined up," he said, "and kicked it."
If he continues kicking it the way he did Saturday, Lincoln likely will be Tennessee's No. 1 placement specialist in the fall. That would be fine with Fulmer, who prefers that Colquitt focus exclusively on punting.
"The goal is to make every single kick and kick the ball the same way every single time," Lincoln said. "Being consistent with that is definitely the key."