Kicking Themselves: Can Tennessee Shake Last Years Special Teams Blues?

J FitzContributor IIIAugust 25, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 24:  Kicker Daniel Lincoln #26 of the Tennessee Volunteers has his game-winning field goal blocked by the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 24, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There’s no doubt that last years performance on special teams cost the Vols games.

If you don’t think so, then just ask any Tennessee fan what happened October 24th, 2009.

If you combine all of the field goal kickers statistics, you come out with a 13 out of 21 year.  When the game is on the line it’s hard to trust a 62% chance.

Combine that with the fact that they only made 1 out of 8 field goal over 40 yards and you have a lot of angry fans.

But, when the news of Michael Palardy signing with UT broke everyone was sure the kicking woes were over.

Palardy had a great high school career, kicking almost every kickoff through the end zone and into the bleachers.

Although, he has struggled with field goals since he got on campus this summer. In the latest scrimmage, Palardy was 1of 4 and had 1 blocked.

I haven’t heard anyone mention Chip Rhome’s name since the Orange and White game when he made 3 field goals to propel the White to a 16-7 victory.

But, the name I have been hearing is very familiar.

Daniel Lincoln.

Anyone who is remotely knowledgeable about UT football remembers him having 3 missed field goals against Alabama, including one that could have given the Vols the lead as time expired.

He later admitted he was injured during the game, but many never forgave him.

Despite that, Derek Dooley named him the starter going into the season. He also named senior Chad Cunningham starting punter and put him in charge of kickoff duties.

I have only one question.

Will Tennessee be helped by these experienced players on special teams, or will they be doomed to repeat the past?

Let’s just hope Lincoln doesn’t get injured again.