Lane's laws

Timing is everything. That's why Tennessee's football players are permitted 24 hours to remember and two seconds to forget.

New head coach Lane Kiffin has instituted a couple of rules this fall that already appear to be paying dividends. The 24-hour rule says a player must remember a big win for no more than 24 hours, then he has to shift his focus to the next game. The two-second rule says a player must forget a bad play within two seconds after it occurs.

Coming off a 63-7 Game 1 blowout of Western Kentucky, the Vols are understandably tempted to continue reliving and rehashing that glorious achievement. But their star player is determined to make sure they shift their focus to Game 2 with UCLA.

"As a captain I can help the team remember that that was last week," All-America safety Eric Berry said. "Coach does a great job of that. We have a 24-hour rule. Right after that win over Western Kentucky we celebrated, had a good time, talked about it. After those 24 hours we were on to UCLA.

"By Monday the only thing we did (in terms of looking back) was correct the plays from Western Kentucky, then we were moving on to UCLA. There was no more talking about the points scored or nothing like that. We were just trying to get ready for this weekend."

Given the lopsided nature of Tennessee's opener, the Vols might be a little overconfident heading into Game 2. Asked if the team leaders have taken any steps to prevent this, junior defensive end Chris Walker shook his head.

"No, our coaches did that right after the game," he said. "They told us that was a good game but we still haven't done anything. We still have to go to practice and work really hard. They told us it was a good time right now but to forget it in 24 hours and move on. That's what we did."

Forgetting a good game in 24 hours is tough but forgetting a bad play in two seconds is virtually impossible. Still, that is the time limit imposed by Kiffin, who traces the "two-second rule" to another sport.

"It probably started a long time ago in golf," the first-year head coach said. "What do good golfers do when they hit a bad shot? They go to the next shot. They don't do what guys like me do ... keep thinking about the last shot and then they screw up the next one.

"We talk about the same thing with our players. It doesn't matter (what happened on the previous play). You can't take it back. Bad, good or indifferent, you've got to go to the next play. You've got to go to the next assignment."

And you've got to do it within two seconds. Timing, after all, is everything.


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