Figuring out Game Maxim No. 6

Michael Palardy

Legendary Tennessee coach Gen. Robert Neyland certainly understood the importance of all facets of football: "No. 6 Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made."

The Tennessee football team took a punch to the face by falling 33-23 to Florida eight days ago.

The team responded with one of its worst Tuesday practices of the season days later at the start of its bye week. Wednesday and Thursday offered a better product at Haslam Field. After three days off, Tennessee gets back to work on Monday morning at 9.

As preparations for the Buffalo Bulls commence, the team looks to get its rough October schedule off to a victorious start.

In 2010, the Volunteers went 0 for October, losing to LSU, Geogia, Alabama and South Carolina. If UT wants to avoid history repeating itself, it simply must perform better on special teams and in the kicking game.

Last week in Gainesville, the Florida Gators went 80 yards on nine plays on their first drive to go up 7-0.

Tennessee needed an answer and drove down to the Florida 20-yard line before stalling. Kicker Michael Palardy came on to get the Vols on the board but pulled a 37-yard field goal attempt.

The sophomore from Coral Springs, Fla., has made all 14 extra points this season but he is 2 for 4 on field goals and his career long is still 39 yards, which came in South Carolina last October.

"I know later on in the season we have a huge stretch in October — Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Alabama," Palardy told InsideTennessee. "All those games are going to be decided — if we play the way we're supposed to play — by a touchdown or something like that. I know I'm going to be called on. I can't worry about who it is, where we're playing, stuff like that. I've got to rely on my technique and trust that everything I'm going to do is right."

Tennessee must put up points at each and every opportunity if it wants to edge out some Southeastern Conference foes. Being perfect inside the 40-yard line isn't too much to ask of a Div. I placekicker.

"If you knew you had an automatic three anytime you got down there, you'd love it," Vol special teams coach Eric Russell said. "That helps your playcalling on offense and everything. Mike's just got to step up and get it done."

Click play on the video below to see footage of Russell offering his opinion on special teams play.

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