“I Have to Be at Practice”

There was an interesting and revealing moment in the darkest days of the 1974 season, involving head coach Bill Battle and Vol quarterback Condredge Holloway.

“I can remember so vividly Coach Battle calling me into his office,” Condredge said.

“When he said this to me, I actually thought he was joking.”

It was no joke.

“He looked me in the eye and said, ‘Peanut, you’ve done a lot for the University of Tennessee. We’re not doing so well right now, and you’re getting beat up pretty good.’

“He said, ‘I think you have a chance at a professional career. If you think that your professional career is going to be hindered by you continuing this season, I’m offering you the opportunity not to play any more, to just get ready for your professional career.’

“I said, ‘Are you kidding?’

“He said, ‘The option is yours.’

“I said, ‘I have to be at practice. I’m not quitting.’”

But Condredge said it wasn’t the way it sounded. “It wasn’t like ‘quitting the team.’ It’s just that for my personal health he wanted me to be able to play professional ball. He didn’t want anything to hinder that. He was seriously offering the opportunity, but I didn’t consider that.”

Battle said he wasn’t surprised when Condredge declined his offer.

“Condredge was taking a lot of heat, like the quarterback does when the team is struggling, and I was mad about how the fans were treating him,” Battle said in 2005. “I knew he had a chance to play professionally. That was how I felt. He just laughed about it.”

Monday, July 29, 1974