It sounds nice in theory, though a plea from Coach Derek Dooley is likely to fall on deaf ears when our kicker comes on the field to pad our lead.
Folks, Dooley has got this one. Heckling the kickers only makes things worse.
Remember that last season when QB Tyler Bray and WR Justin Hunter went down with injuries? Coach Dooley was extraordinary in his decisions to put his kicker in the spotlight of SEC ballgames.
Dooley made an unorthodox decision. Dooley decided to make kicker Mike Palardy the focal point of the Tennessee offense. Often going for field goals in the red zone on third down and relying on a swarming opportunistic defense to win games. Routinely citing “using high percentage plays” and “a buying into a conservative football philosophy” as reasons for his kickers success.
Sources close to the Tennessee program confirmed Dooley’s offensive philosophy “We feel that there should be opportunities for players to be honored for their contributions in promoting, and elevating the importance of the kicker position in college football.”
Dooley’s gameplan worked as Palardy finished high the on the 2011 Lou Groza award list and was a 2012 preseason favorite to win this award that is given to best kicker in the land.
This season, only five games in, UT’s kickers have failed on four extra-point tries, going 21-of-25.
While all the talk is around the Vols extra point woes, the Vols kicking will have to improve if they are to beat the Mississippi State this weekend. As of Monday, Mike Palardy was given the keys to offense.
“I haven’t admitted that because (I’ve been) waiting until we performed well to say it,” Dooley confessed.
“But I meet with ‘em. I learn each year. I spend a lot of time with the kickers and have my whole career.”
With the Vols enjoying a week off following the UGA game, the focus fell on how use Palardy as an offensive weapon for the rest of the season.
Dooley bemoaned the sloppy kicking that cost his side several points this season. “I still believe in Mike, but he’s got some things to work on,” said Derek Dooley
One veteran coach said, “My heart goes out to Mike Palardy. Kickers can be such head cases though. I’ve experienced those before. Their misses are hard to get over and can be a a big blow to our team’s momentum. He’s a playmaker and one of our best offensive weapons. It left a hole in our offense. It’ll be great to get him back in.”
“I feel healthy and ready to go,” Palardy said.
- Dooley to Dan Mullen: Line up and stop us…if you can (loserswithsocks.com)
- Dooley will have Mississippi State Guessing (loserswithsocks.com)
- Dooley: Will he stay or will he go? (loserswithsocks.com)