Tag Archives: Michael Palardy

Undrafted James Stone fighting for spot on Falcons (updates on Vols competing for NFL spots)

James Stone (photo by KNS photographer Michael Patrick)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeAntonio “Tiny” Richardson‘s NFL draft snub got most of the attention earlier this month, but there was another Tennessee offensive lineman who wasn’t selected.

Center James Stone signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons after the draft. Like most free agents, his path to a roster spot is uncertain, but Stone has a handful of factors working in his favor. He’s smart, he’s versatile and he has well-respected people vouching for him.

“In one year’s time with him, I was just really impressed with how smart of a player he is,” Vols offensive line coach Don Mahoney told ESPN. “And you have to look at his value to play two positions [center and guard]. I know that’s a big deal, with how many players they carry on a roster. And again, because of him mentally being able to be such a smart player, I think there’s just a tremendous upside to him.” 

Although more than a dozen Vols either worked out or signed free-agent deals after the draft, the NFL is so competitive that very few of them are likely to be rosters by the time the season starts. For many of the players in the group, getting a practice squad job would be beating the odds. Will Stone fare differently? We’ll find out.

Here are some updates on the rest of the Vols selected in the NFL draft or signed afterwards:

Currently on official NFL rosters…

Ja’Wuan James, selected in first round (19th overall) by Miami Dolphins…likely to open season as starter.

Zach Fulton, selected in sixth round (193rd overall) by Kansas City Chiefs….signed 4-year contract.

Daniel McCullers, selected in sixth round (215th overall) by Pittsburgh Steelers…signed 4-year contract.

Richardson….free-agent signee with Minnesota Vikings

Stone…free-agent signee with Atlanta Falcons

Dontavis Sapp…free-agent signee with Dallas Cowboys.

Rajion Neal…free-agent signee with Green Bay Packers

Jacques Smith…free-agent signee with Atlanta Falcons

Alex Bullard….free-agent signee with Detroit Lions

Others…

Michael Palardy…attended New York Jets minicamp.

Mo Couch….attended Dallas Cowboys minicamp

J.R. Carr….attended Washington Redskins minicamp

Corey Miller…attended Kansas City Chiefs minicamp

Tennessee football position preview: Specialist spots have vacancies after Michael Palardy’s departure

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The ninth in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in March.

Michael Palardy hugs coach Butch Jones after Tennessee’s win against South Carolina (KNS photo by Adam Lau).

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeMichael Palardy handled punts, kickoffs and field goals for the Vols in 2013, and his departure leaves no clear successor.

Incoming freshman Aaron Medley will have every opportunity to win the kicking job. He’s a well-regarded prospect, although projecting kickers from high school to college is much harder than it seems.

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Medley could face competition from veteran walk-on Derrick Brodus and another local product, George Bullock, whose career has never gotten on track after an injury as a freshman.

As for the punter spot, Matt Darr has the most experience, but a couple of walk-ons could challenge him.

Reliable snapper J.R. Carr has graduated, but Matt Giampapa has waited his turn after transferring from Michigan State, where he snapped in 2011.

A note on this series: As National Signing Day approaches, we reviewed each of Tennessee’s positions with an eye toward spring football in 2014. Click on the links for previews of the offensive linerunning backsreceiversquarterbackstight endsdefensive linelinebackers and defensive backs. Now that the previews are finished, it’s time to go back and adjust the spreadsheets to add new commitments and walk-ons. Then we’ll produce a master roster and speculative depth chart for the whole team. Once spring football gets underway, we’ll keep the chart updated so it remains as close to the real depth chart as possible. 

Tennessee football continues special teams focus in preparation for Vandy (with practice video, photos)


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After spending the bye week indoors, Tennessee moved back outside on Tuesday afternoon.

The temperature plummeted when the sun went down, but that didn’t stop offensive line coach Don Mahoney and tight ends coach Mark Elder from donning shorts. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie was on crutches and was sometimes driven around the field on a motorized cart. Gillespie was injured in the first half of the Auburn game while celebrating a touchdown.

The media viewing period contained more special teams coverage work. Michael Palardy boomed some incredible punts in the early period.

Watch the video montage in the highest possible setting for best results. We’ll have less mournful video later this evening.

Michael Palardy is among 10 semifinalists for Ray Guy Award

Michael Palardy in practice last week (Evan Woodbery photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee senior specialist Michael Palardy is among 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top punter.

The Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council released the names on Friday.

Palardy joins Steven Clark (Auburn), Tom Hornsey (Memphis), Cameron Johnson (Ohio State), Drew Kaser (Texas A&M), Richie Leone (Houston), Cody Mandell (Alabama), Mike Sadler (Michigan State), Will Scott (Troy) and Cody Webster (Purdue) on the list.

Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 25. The winner will be unveiled on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 12.

Front page of Sunday’s News Sentinel after the Vols’ big win

The front page of the Knoxville News Sentinel on Oct. 20, 2013.

 

The Knoxville News Sentinel sports front page on Oct. 20, 2013.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Vols snapped a 19-game losing streak against ranked opponents with a 23-21 victory over No. 11 South Carolina on Saturday.

The News Sentinel print edition commemorated the moment with a nice shot of coach Butch Jones hugging kicker Michael Palardy on the front page and a photo of Marquez North‘s incredible catch in sports.

The News Sentinel’s photo gallery from Saturday is worth checking out.

Vols offense lagging, but special teams offering a boost

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QB Justin Worley warms up before the game. #govolsxtra

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — We’ll publish our weekly By the Numbers feature for News Sentinel subscribers later today and it should offer some really interesting data on the Florida game.

For now let’s take a big-picture look at Tennessee’s performance through four games this year.

I like checking out the weekly UPS/STATS Team Performance Index. You can view the details on the webpage, but it essentially tries to combine offense, defense, special teams and “miscues” and weigh that against the strength of the team’s schedule.

Tennessee's national rankings in parentheses.

Tennessee’s national rankings in parentheses.

As might be expected, the Vols fared well in special teams and “miscues,” but poorly against offense and defense. The rankings will become more meaningful as the season goes on. For now, they’re merely interesting.  And they confirm that South Alabama is no pushover.

Tennessee’s strength on special teams has more to do with the kicking and coverage teams than it does with any big returns.

On kickoffs, Tennessee is forcing opponents to start from the 24 or 25-yard line on kickoffs with an average net of just over 40.

Take away a blocked punt and the Vols have a very respectable 38.5 net average.

The return game has been more sluggish, particularly after an injury to Devrin Young.

On kickoffs, the Vols average 24.9 yards per return (boosted by a 58-yard return by Young in the opener) and an average starting starting field position at the 28 (based on kickoffs alone and not considering penalties).

On punts, the Vols have only attempted to return five times in 16 attempts. Opponents are netting 39.7 yards per punt.

Finally, it’s always worth monitoring tempo. For obvious reasons, the Vols haven’t gone as fast as coach Butch Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian would like.

For comparison purposes, UT had 2.7 plays and 2.17 live-ball plays per minute in 2012. (Live-ball plays are

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Tennessee football practice: Vols return after a 2-day break

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie at practice on Aug. 22, 2013. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie at practice on Aug. 22, 2013. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After 48 hours away from the practice fields, players returned on Thursday to higher expectations from coach Butch Jones.

“Nice and fresh!” he yelled. “You oughtta be nice and fresh.”

We’ll find out later if Jones noticed any rejuvenation. For now, here are some post-practice notes:

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Tennessee football #PracticeGram: Scenes from this weekend’s scrimmage and practices

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Vols have pushed back Monday’s practice until the evening. Butch Jones has said it will be one of the most critical practices of camp, as Tennessee is only days away from shifting from training camp mode to game-prep mode.

We’ll have news, notes and quotes late this evening after practice. Then check back for video and photos.

The photos below include shots from Saturday evening’s scrimmage at Neyland Stadium and the Sunday practice at Haslam Field. Click on the photo for caption information.

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Tennessee football practice: Scenes from Sunday’s special teams work (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There was more harping on the punting unit in Sunday’s practice, although I managed to find a few “attaboys” in the video to balance out the negative stuff.

Will it be an adventure the first time Tennessee has to punt the football? I don’t think so. Most of the problems are on the second team. Butch Jones is a stickler for details on special teams, so even the second unit probably isn’t as bad as it might seem.

Also included in the video are comments from Jones and Brian Randolph, some outstanding hip-hop selections from the Haslam Field DJ and photos of puppies. But you have to make it to the end for that.

Tennessee football practice: Observations from Saturday morning scrimmage

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Tyler Coombes on the blocking dummy.

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There’s a nice symmetry to August. A bad performance by a unit one day is usually followed by a bounce-back performance the next afternoon.

Sometimes the coaches orchestrate the ups and downs. But on Saturday morning, the defense’s dominance appeared genuine.

In a wide-ranging, hour-long situational and special teams scrimmage at Haslam Field, the Vols defense clearly won the day.

Or at least the morning. There will be another scrimmage this evening at Neyland Stadium. Don’t be surprised if the offense looks better.

Plenty of meaty observations today…

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