Lane Kiffin and the Tennessee Volunteers football squad came out slow and finished strong during Wednesday evening's practice at Haslam field.
"I thought practice was great today. A lot of energy for whatever reason, very competitive at the end, it turned from a half-padded practice into live there at the end in the red zone," said Kiffin. "It was great to see that energy this late in the season."
Saturday night will mark the last home game in Neyland Stadium for the Volunteers in the 2009 season and for some the last of their Tennessee career.
"The biggest thing for me is going to be going out there and getting a win," said senior tailback Montario Hardesty. "Its going to be big at the beginning to have all my friends and family there, but at the end of the day I want to go out and get a win."
Hardesty will be one of many seniors who will play their final collegiate game at Neyland Stadium this Saturday. And for some players there is speculation about if it is indeed their last game in the orange and white.
"Right not I am just focused on doing everything I can do to get this win at home," said junior safety Eric Berry. "No telling if it might be my last or if it's not, but I just want to take everything in and just try to appreciate these last games of this season."
A win is also the foremost thought on Hardesty's mind, even with a struggling Commodores team coming to Knoxville.
"Every year I have been here it's been a close game with Vanderbilt. They always get up for this game and always come out and play us tough," said Hardesty.
While most think Berry will leave Knoxville behind for the NFL draft, Berry believes that the young Vols have helped lay the ground work for the future of Tennessee football.
"I really do feel like this group of players at UT has set the foundation for what greatness we do have to come at Tennessee," said Berry.
Part of that Tennessee future includes freshman safety Janzen Jackson who is currently banned from the athletic facility after being charged with attempted armed robbery. Berry and Jackson have both spoken in length about their close friendship. Berry addressed the Vols recent arrests on Wednesday.
"It affected me a lot because three of those guys were DBs," said Berry. "Me and Janzen are really close. He is like my little brother so that really hit hard on me last week, everything that happened with that situation."
Jackson may be banned from team activities, but Berry continues to stay in close touch with Jackson.
"We haven't really talked too much about that incident," said Berry. "I know what type of person he is, I really haven't been bothering him about that. He just comes over to the house and we chill, play video games and watch TV."
"Daniel kicked really well yesterday," said Kiffin. "He made a bunch of long field goals versus about 15 people rushing and the tall bags, so it was really good to see, but that's not enough for me. We are going to have to see in warm-ups as well."
Kiffin and the Volunteers will conclude the week's practice tomorrow afternoon followed by a Friday walk through.