What wind?

Lousy weather conditions bring out the worst in some kickers but they seem to bring out the best in one University of Tennessee football player.

One year ago, freshman kicker Daniel Lincoln shrugged off swirling winds measured upwards of 45 miles per hour to connect on five of six field-goal tries in a March 4, 2007 scrimmage. His only miss was a 50-yarder that fell just short. When asked afterward how he dealt with the adverse conditions, he matter of factly replied: "I just lined up and kicked it."

That low-key approach came through once more over the weekend. Although gusting winds turning Neyland Stadium into a football version of Wrigley Field, Lincoln again seemed unaffected. He connected on five of six field goal tries in the final tuneup scrimmage for this Saturday's Orange & White Game.

"It was a good day for him … a real good day," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We really try to stay away from ‘Well, it's windy or it's cold or whatever.' He's got a pretty good mindset about that. You can't let those things bother you."

Having grown up in Ocala, Fla., where tropical storms are a fact of life, Lincoln seems oblivious to the windy conditions that often accompany Tennessee's spring workouts. That's in stark contrast to many of his fellow kickers, some of whom are real head cases regarding adverse weather.

"I've had kickers and punters that get psycho about it," Fulmer said. "Daniel's more of a football player. That doesn't bother him too much. Obviously, you've got to adjust to those kind of things."

Lincoln, now a rising sophomore, made the Football Writers Association of America All-America team as a freshman last fall after hitting 21 of 29 field-goal attempts. He made the first eight of his career, setting a school record. He nailed a clutch game-tying 48-yarder in the final seconds of regulation against South Carolina, then hit a game-winning 27-yarder in overtime.

With Tennessee breaking in a new snapper and holder for 2008, Lincoln has had an up-and-down spring practice. He hit six of seven field-goal tries in full-scale Scrimmage No. 1 but was five of eight with a kick blocked in scrimmage No. 2.

"We did a better job of protecting this week," Fulmer said. "Last week they got two blocks on us and really could've had a couple of others. My goal is to get that straightened out – which we did this week – to speed him up because he was a little bit slow, and for him to make all of his kicks."

Lincoln didn't make all of his kicks in Saturday's swirling winds but five out of six was pretty close.


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